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Cloth Shower Curtains

I’ve had three different types of shower curtains in my life—vinyl, glass doors, and cloth—and the cloth is my favorite by far. It’s also a more environmentally friendly choice.

Okay, so the curtain can only do so much for my ugly bathroom...

I couldn’t use vinyl curtains anymore because Ask Umbra’s mantra—no vinyl, that’s final—runs through my mind whenever the word comes up. The reason for it is that the manufacture of vinyl (or PVC) produces dioxins. These chemicals can cause cancer and disrupt reproductive systems. There’s some talk about the curtains’ off-gassing being bad for your health—think of the dintinctive smell they give off—but the real issue is dioxin pollution around factories that produce vinyl. (Also, have you ever tried to clean them? Impossible.)

The glass doors are probably a very good choice for the environment (very durable), but cleaning them can be a pain, and they seem to build up soap scum at a much faster rate than shower walls. Or maybe it’s the same rate, but you can just see it better through glass.

Cloth curtains, on the other hand, can just be tossed in the washing machine if they’re starting to get dirty. I get a little pink mold sometimes on the bottom of my polyester one, but the makers of hemp curtains even claim that they’re naturally mold-resistent. (I wish I’d know that before I bought mine three years ago.) Anyone ever tried these? Are the claims true? As a bonus, the cloth curtains look prettier, too.


Comment from Sharon
Time April 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Ah, hemp. Is there anything you *can’t* do?

Comment from Kelly
Time April 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I read the part about the cancer and I wanted to say almost everything now can give you cancer. And don’t the curtains have some sort of plastic on them to keep them water proof?

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time April 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Good point. I think you should take up smoking, then.

Nope, no plastic on them, except for (on mine) some stupid little suction cups on the end to stick to the wall.

Comment from anne marie
Time April 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

Thanks for this…we are in the market for new shower curtains and am looking at cloth options now. It wasn’t on my radar before, but totally makes sense.

Comment from anne marie
Time April 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm

So, I looked into hemp curtains as I liked the idea of being all natural, hippy, whatever. But they where $100! Amazon has a variety of polyester curtains…my faves are the marimekko. Still steep at $50, though.

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