by Kimberly Hill
Shower curtains are colorful waterproof pieces of fabric that we use to enclose our showers. They’re supposed to run the length of the bath to that they can deal with water spills and splashes effectively. These can be changed at will with minimal effort and expense to add personality or to soften the overall aesthetic of the bathroom.
However, a lot of people hate it when shower curtains stick to them when they’re wet plus since they’re made of plastic, they get moldy very quickly and have to be thrown out.
Another problem with regular shower curtains is that they’re made using plastic and as we all know, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is not eco-friendly as some of the toxic ingredients in the liner off-gas into your home as volatile organic compounds.
On the brighter side, there are several alternatives that are water repellent so they function just as efficiently. These alternatives even last longer than PVC.
As previously mentioned, PVC is quite toxic as it contains and releases dangerous chemicals into the air. These chemicals have been linked to cancer as well as liver, kidney, and respiratory diseases. Replace PVC shower curtains with biodegradable green alternatives that you can easily toss in the wash with towels.
Healthy and eco-friendly options to the toxic PVC do exist. They don’t emit toxins into the air. These include:
Hemp is a great fabric option. It costs much more than PVC but it lasts longer and can even be composted at the end of its life. At the end of the day, it saves you money and most importantly, is green.
Unbleached hemp is adaptable to a variety of décor styles, dries up quickly, and is resistant to mildew and bacteria. This makes it the perfect candidate for liners as it’s also machine-washable and degrades when disposed off.
Heavy hemp liners efficiently block water preventing it from reaching the bathroom floor as you shower.
Believe it or not, cotton may also be used to make liners that help keep water in the shower area. Cotton may be used with or without a liner and it’s easily washable making it a great option over PVC. It works great for areas with a smaller splash factor.
Polished cotton is another amazing alternative as it’s sturdy enough to repel some water thus keeping the rest of the bathroom dry.
Linen is another potential alternative with similar characteristics as hemp. It’s durable, natural and bio-friendly when its usable life is up.
Once you’re done showering, just squeeze the water out of the bottom part and leave it to dry. You should also hang the linen on rustproof metal grommets.
To make a piece of fabric water-resistant using beeswax, rub the wax over the surface of the fabric and occasionally recoat the fabric whenever necessary. You can use any type of fabric including an old bed sheet.
The four options we listed above are quite pricey. If you ever find yourself in a position where you have to choose between the lesser of two evils, we recommend that you go with polyethylene vinyl acetate of ethylene-vinyl acetate. Both PEVA and EVA are better options as compared to PVC.
Their problem is that they’re made from petroleum making them non-biodegradable. However, they offer a much-needed waterproof function without off-gassing into the air and are inexpensive.
The move from shower curtains goes beyond finding curtain substitutes. Why buy curtains that will need to be replaced every few years when there are sturdier alternatives out there? If you decide to leave curtains for the windows, there are a number of sustainable interior choices that you can still go for although these require quite the investment. These include:
Glass doors are super durable and a much better option than shower curtains. Sliding glass doors don’t need hinges and are a great option especially where space is a factor. Other varieties of door options include folding and hinged although these need bigger slightly spaces.
The doors are customizable to fit into tricky recesses and angles as well as non-standard heights. They give full enclosure you don’t have to worry about water escaping to the bathroom floor.
Shower glass door panels may make you dig a little deeper into your pockets but for the neat, splash-proof solution the offer, they’re totally worth it. Get glass that’s been finished with a special coating so that dirt doesn’t accumulate.
Mirrors are an old yet effective trick for small rooms. So if your bathroom is small, you should consider installing a mirror shower screen that doubles up as a full-length illusion creator.
The mirrors catch all the spattering water and prevent it from leaving the shower stall while still maintaining a modern and elegant.
Do you feel that glass and mirrors are too “slick” for your taste? Why not design your bathroom into a wet room instead. These do not need a door or curtain of any type. Just make sure that there’s a step over to get into the shower and that the shower faces the back so that there’s minimal spillage. The floor should also be slightly canted towards the center of the room where there is a drain.
You should only have this installed only if you have sufficient space.
Taking a shower obviously needs a lot of water and this means there will be lots of spilling and splashing.
If you decide to go green and are fortunate enough to choose how to handle splashing in the shower, the classic shower curtain just won’t cut it anymore. If you ever find yourself in a position where you need to find alternatives to shower curtains, you should feel free to let your sense of adventure extend to the bathroom décor – put your personal stamp on the bathroom and the access to the shower.
About Kimberly Hill
Now it is just me, Kimberly Hill living in New York city, N.Y.
Loves to blog about various aspects of life that matter most.
Received the BA degree in Art History from Stanford University of California.