Thursday, October 4, 2007

Day Eighty-Eight - Shower Me With Love

Replace My Old PVC Shower Curtain With a Cloth Curtain

OK, I think I may have mentioned before that I'm not the best housekeeper in the world. In fact, I might very well be the worst, or at least really, really low on the list. This tends to result in the unintended creation of a virtual playground for mold and mildew, at least in my shower. Now I'm no scientist, but you would think if we had figured out a way to turn black oil into a shiny white sheet of plastic with grommets on top, that we'd be able to mildew-proof it as well. Apparently not. So I'm left with a really gross shower curtain that looks like it's getting its grown up Dalmatian spots.

I tried scrubbing the thing with my eco-friendly cleaning products, but the little spores just laughed at me and ripped the scrubber out of my hands. So, with a heavy heart, I removed the plastic sheet of doom, wadded it up and placed it in the trash (where its volume DOUBLED my trash output for the week) *sigh*.

And I cringe when I tell you this, but this is our third shower curtain this year. That's right, our bath is so teeny-tiny that the all that steam from hubby's long, hot showers just stagnates in there (he doesn't use the fan) and really accelerates the mold growth. Up until now, I have been replacing the curtain every quarter, like the changing of the seasons.

To make matters worse, I have always purchased the standard, cheap PVC curtains for our shower but never knew that PVC is the WORST kind of plastic, both for the environment and for your health. It is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems. Not something you want hanging around your house.

But the news is not all bad -- I have found a PVC-free, machine-washable alternative to the shower curtain dilemma! Right at Target, no less! That's right, it's a polyester (yes, I know where polyester comes from) fabric that is machine washable and 100% PVC-free! No nasty pool-liner smell from the off-gassing. No leeching of phthalates in the house or in a landfill. Plus, since it's machine washable, I won't have to throw it out when it gets all gross!

If you check online, you can find even more alternatives, like organic cotton curtains and hemp ones, but I had already tossed out our old curtain, so I needed something in a hurry. Once again, failing to plan....


Four PVC shower curtains per year, plus the little plastic bag they are packaged in. All in all, that's 17.28 ounces of plastic for each curtain, a total of 69 ounces of "poison plastic" per year. I'm glad to have it out of my house.

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

It was actually easier to put up the soft fabric curtain, because it unfolds the way a curtain should. You don't have to fight with it to make it be flat. And I know that throwing it in the wash will be so much easier than trying to scrub it while it's hanging in the shower.


leslie said...

You are a Green Goddess!

cristele said...

Sorry to comment on old stuff.
But I tried to machine wash my curtain and it's less gross, but still gross. If you have experience with a brand where mold and old soap an what not actually are removed by washing machine it (an I even used chlorox - yes i know) I'll buy 10 in a row :-)

Burbanmom said...


I love comments on old stuff! It lets me take a little stroll down memory lane ;-)

EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE AS YOU! Shower curtain still looks a little yucky, but at least it's "clean yucky". The only thing I might suggest is to put peroxide on the nasty parts and then lay it out in the sunshine. Supposedly sunshine does magical stuff.

Let me know if it works, as I probably won't get off my lazy duff to do that for a couple months... :-)

cristele said...

Yeah it IS old contetn for you! but for me, as I was looking for non PVC solution...

Sorry I couldnt do was too impatient/i was too lazy and he threw the thing away...We are trying fabric curtains, it's boring white and it's so white it actually makes our old tub looks dirty -it's not I swear! it's just very old- ;-) but the fabric curtain is great for now and it's heavy so it doesnt stick to your skin when you shower (which is to me the most horrifid experience ever when it hppens)

Kelly said...

I have machine washed my plastic shower curtains with total success in the past...I think that i've only really bought new ones when I move (I leave the them behind for the new peeps, b/c there is nothing worse than not being able to shower at your new house before your boxes arrive...). I also make sure i buy ones with the metal rivets, so that they won't tear in 2 months of opening and closing the curtain. I know...plastic, not green, but ensuring its longevity makes a little improvement.