Hidden Allergens: Shower Curtains
Posted by Shifrah on Friday, April 08, 2011
Today's hidden allergen spotlight turns on the shower curtain, which can cause problems for allergy sufferers in a couple of ways: through off-gassing, and through the possible presence of mold.

Firstly, consider vinyl shower curtains, those clear plastic ones that are probably the most common and probably most often the cheapest kind of shower curtain you can buy. Even if it's not decorative, many people use a clear shower curtain as a liner to keep water from getting on decorative shower curtains. But have you ever noticed the "new plastic" smell when you open up the shower curtain package?

That's off-gassing, and it could trigger multiple chemical sensitivity symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting, as well as set off allergies or asthma – most likely without you ever knowing the source. And this off-gassing smell can linger long after the shower curtain is new. In addition, even when the smell is gone, off-gassing continues, polluting your indoor air.

Read more about the dangers of PVC shower curtains in Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain's Chemical Smell.

At our house, we opt for fabric shower curtain liners, which I honestly like much better – for reasons in addition to the fact that they don't off-gas. For one thing, I think they look nicer. In addition, they are so much easier to wash. You know the soap scum that can build up on clear shower curtains? Almost impossible to get rid of!

I love that I can just toss a fabric shower curtain liner in the wash when I wash my decorative shower curtain. This not only washes away dust that may cling to the fabric, but also takes care of any mold that may begin to grow, not to mention the (invisible-anyway) soap scum. I usually add about half a cup of white vinegar to my shower curtain load of laundry to help disinfect and kill any existing mold naturally and safely.

This is one way I keep allergens at bay and try to keep my home's indoor air – and my family's breathing zone – healthy.

Image courtesy of

Tags: MCS
On 8/27/2011 alfredo wrote:
I. used so many type's of shower curtain, but when I use the chemichal, for clean the bathroom, make reaction, allergy,nausea, headaches, asthma,what can I do? what tipe of curtain shower can I use? thank you.
On 9/18/2011 Kevin wrote:
Vital Oxide by Ecology Works is a great product for this. I've used it to remove as well as prevent mold from a variety of surfaces in the bathroom. Non-toxic, no fumes and won't irritate nasal passages, eyes or skin.
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