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What are the Pros and Cons of Cloth Shower Curtains?

Rhonda Rivera
Rhonda Rivera

Cloth shower curtains became less popular after vinyl curtains were introduced, but there are still plus sides to using cloth over plastic. For example, a cloth shower curtain is often more suitable to being machine-washed than its vinyl counterpart. Cloth shower curtains also have their downsides, however. They may not be the best option for frequently used bathrooms because they are prone to mold, even when used in conjunction with a plastic liner. In addition, they are generally more expensive than vinyl shower curtains.

Cleaning cloth shower curtains can take less effort and time than cleaning plastic ones. Often, they can be taken down and placed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle. Even if a plastic curtain is washable, it cannot be dried with heat because it can melt, so the owner is sometimes left carrying a dripping bundle of plastic back to the bathroom. Cloth shower curtains can usually be machine dried on low and ironed to achieve a smooth look.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Another pro regarding cloth shower curtains is their quality, which can appear much better than a plastic curtain. Many people choose this type of shower curtain simply because of its looks. This is similar to the difference between clothing made of natural fabrics like wool, cotton, and silk, and synthetic fabrics like nylon and spandex. Often, people find the natural fabric more appealing to the eye, not to mention touch. A cloth shower curtain can even be custom designed to match the rest of the bathroom.

Cloth shower curtains may be more prone to mildew than plastic ones. They generally take longer to dry, even if they are a high end product meant to resist water and dry quickly. In addition, getting rid of mildew from a porous surface like cloth can be more difficult than cleaning it from a smooth surface like plastic. A cloth curtain also needs to be spread out to dry properly, whereas plastic ones do not mildew as quickly as cloth, so occasionally failing to spread the material out is rarely a problem.

If shopping on a budget, cloth shower curtains may not be the best kind of shower curtain to purchase. Depending on quality, they can often easily cost ten times the amount plastic shower curtains might cost. Low-end cloth shower curtains might not resist water as well as high end ones, so cutting costs by purchasing a cheaper one is sometimes not a good compromise either.

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