The cheap vinyl shower curtain has been ever-present in modern bathrooms in the last decades. They are cheap and convenient, but there is a downside to their use. Unfortunately, there are millions of them in landfills right now as they cannot be recycled.
Most shower curtains are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a plastic-type generally not recyclable in municipal recycling systems. This issue and wanting something different for your bathroom are both strong reasons to ditch the typical shower curtain. Finding a better alternative is not only possible but also easy.
Keep on reading to discover why you need a shower curtain alternative and 10 ideas to upgrade your shower area!
Why do you need a shower curtain?
Have you ever forgot to pull your shower curtain and had a shower afterward? You have probably splashed your bathroom with water. This is bad for multiple reasons:
- You can slip on the wet floor and suffer an injury. Aged people are in more danger of suffering accidents at home;
- Water can damage your bathroom and furniture that is not resistant to humidity;
- Water coming from your shower is not always clean and will stain your walls and floor. It will also cause mold to grow and turn your bathroom into an unhealthy environment.
In most cases, a shower curtain is very practical. Moreover, it ensures privacy for the person using the shower and it contributes to your bathroom’s aesthetics. It can set the tone for the style of your bathroom and entertain your senses while taking a shower.
The shower area can look bare when you are used to shower curtains and this common item is missing. Most bathrooms are unsurprisingly equipped with a shower curtain.
Why you might need a shower curtain alternative?
If you are reading this post, you have probably thought at least once about shower curtain alternative. There are multiple reasons to find an alternative that works:
- Typical shower curtains are not recyclable, as explained earlier. Many people are exploring more sustainable solutions for their homes;
- They can be too light and not protect your bathroom from water splashes when water pressure is high;
- They can look cheap and might not integrate into your vision for a luxury bathroom and shower area.
Let’s not waste more time and see how you can give new look and functionality to your shower area!
What you can use instead of a vinyl shower curtain
Hemp is a top choice for those preferring sustainable fabrics. Hemp crops barely need any pesticides, require little water, and return 60-70% of nutrients they take from the soil.
When it comes to shower curtains, hemp naturally repels water and can be used without a liner. It gives an earthy, natural look to your interiors and is pleasant to touch.
The downsides of hemp shower curtains are:
- Needing to wash them on cold cycle only to prevent shrinking
- Can be prone to mildew
- Needs to be washed more often than other materials
Looking to create a natural and elegant look for your home? Use linen and don’t be afraid to include it into your bathroom as well.
Linen is also more sustainable than synthetic materials and will give your home a classy look and feel. However, this material can be quite expensive and it also requires more care than plastic shower curtains. Linen shower curtains will need more time to dry than polyester ones and are heavier.
Bamboo is one of the most sustainable and ecologically-friendly materials. It is visually attractive and can make your interiors look exotic and mysterious. Choose a panel made from bamboo fibers to get a tropical feel while you shower.
The issue with bamboo is that you need to choose a product treated to resist water damage and fungal growth. If this is not clearly specified on the bamboo panel, don’t buy it.
4. Cotton with plastic liner
Cotton is widely used for garments and other applications due to its strength, softness, and natural appearance. This fabric is affordable and comes in countless shapes and sizes.
However, cotton is not the perfect choice for shower curtains. It quickly absorbs water and takes time to dry. The solution is to use it with a plastic liner – which means you will still be using plastic, but in a less visible manner.
The other issue with cotton is that it can shrink during washing. A cotton-polyester blend, on the other hand, is less likely to shrink.
5. Shower blind
One of the reasons why some people are reluctant about shower curtains is their bathroom looking best without one. At the same time, they want to prevent water splashes.
In this case, the solution could be using a shower curtain that rolls up similar to a window blind. It looks elegant and different, attracting the admiration of guests.
There is one aspect that could bother you about shower blinds, though. If the blind is not completely dry and you roll it back into its housing, mold can develop.
6. Sliding shower door
Sliding doors give a modern look to your bathroom and are easy to use. They do not take up any space and are low maintenance. They can be transparent or have various finishes, for privacy.
There are some disadvantages associated with sliding doors. Most times, they need to be installed by a professional. This is because the seal to the top of the tub or to the floor must be waterproofed perfectly.
Additionally, you can encounter some issues with these doors later during use. They can accumulate scum and mineral buildup and may have to be cleaned more frequently.
7. Pivot shower door
The pivot door is the one that swings open like a regular door rather than sliding. These doors are recommended if you have a walk-in shower instead of the usual shower and tub combo.
Among their advantages we mention easiness of use, modern look, and being textured for privacy.
The downsides are represented by the need for regular cleaning and the higher purchase and installation costs. They also tend to take up more space than a sliding door.
8. Half screen
Half screens are incredibly convenient and durable. They are usually made of glass and come with multiple benefits:
- Providing a sleek look to your bathroom and making it look like a luxurious spa;
- Being able to customize your half screen in terms of size, shape, and texture;
- It makes the bathroom look more spacious;
- It allows more light into the shower;
- It eliminates the hassle of maintaining curtains or door.
You will need to clean the glass enclosure regularly. Even so, there will be less work compared to cleaning a sliding or pivot door.
A drawback of this alternative is that it is mostly installed by professionals. It can further be inconvenient to install if your bathroom is already complete and finished.
9. Hanging plants
Back to green solutions, let’s try one that is actually… green.
Have you considered using hanging plants instead of a shower curtain or screen?
If you already have lots of plants at your home, why not welcome them into your bathroom as well? They don’t need much watering, they provide clean and fresh air, and they uplift your mood instantly.
A hanging plants wall, on the other hand, requires taking care of the plants and is not completely waterproof.
10. No shower curtain at all
Finally, the lazy man’ solution – not using a shower curtain at all. While this may sound unusual, there are cases when a shower curtain is not a must:
- You use the bathtub more frequently;
- You don’t stand up when you shower;
- You are very careful and don’t splash walls around you;
- You don’t have kids and pets that make the shower a messy affair.
You can give it a fancy name and call it an open shower. In this case, it needs to meet several criteria to be an effective one:
- The shower is built at an angle so water drains into a central drain on the floor;
- You cannot use a tub;
- You must not have painted walls or furniture near the showering area so you don’t deal with water damage.
The need for maintenance is minimal, but you will need to remodel your entire bathroom to get an open shower.
No matter what solution you choose, a plastic shower curtain or an alternative, your shower must be your relaxation area. Making the right choice depends on your bathroom configuration, your lifestyle and showering habits, and your preferences.