I’ve always bought vinyl shower curtains. I like the fact that there are many translucent styles that let the light through. I don’t enjoy a dark shower. Sadly, there are some downsides to the vinyl curtain, though. For one thing, vinyl is sort of toxic. And for another, the little holes at the top are really prone to tearing.
In my less-environmentally-friendly days I didn’t really sweat the short-lived nature of the vinyl shower curtains, because they are so cheap. Spending $15 for a new shower curtain every year was hardly breaking the bank. But now, I feel bad about using what is essentially a disposable shower curtain. If I need a new shower curtain in the future, I will opt for something sturdier and non-vinyl. For now, though, I am committed to making my vinyl curtain last as long as possible.
So, I undertook a little shower curtain rehabilitation project. At the outset, my shower curtain was dirty and mildewy, and 5 of the 12 holder holes were ripped through. The first step was to clean it, and for that I used the washing machine. I put in a small amount of soap, I added vinegar to the rinse, and I washed it using cold water on the gentle cycle. Then I repeated the process, and finally I let the curtain air-dry in the sun.
Shower curtain drying on the grass
Now my shower curtain was clean, but it still wasn’t hanging right. I considered my options for dealing with the holes. My first idea was to cover over the top of the shower curtain with clear packing tape, and then poke through where the holes should be. I opted against that, though, in case I need to run the curtain through the washing machine again at some point. Instead, I decided to use my trusty hole punch.
I folded the shower curtain over about 2″ from the top edge, so that I would have a double-layer of vinyl to support the curtain. Then I punched holes about 1″ above where the old holes were. Once I had punched all of the holes, I folded the shower curtain again so that the old holes and the new holes lined up:
New holes punched above the old one, and then all 3 holes lined up together
The idea is that the holes that weren’t torn through now have many, many layers of vinyl supporting them. My theory is that the more ‘stuff’ that is keeping that shower curtain up, the less likely it is to tear, since each hole experiences less direct stress. I think it’s a sound theory, based on the many, many physics classes I’ve taken in my time. Either way, though, my shower curtain is holding up so far, and no new tears have occurred to date.
I am pretty happy with my rehabilitated shower curtain, I have to say. I hope that I will get much more use out of it by taking care of it and repairing it as-needed.
Have you ever repaired a shower curtain? Or do you have shower doors, allowing you to avoid the problem altogether? Inquiring minds want to know.