Have you ever purchased a new shower curtain or liner, brought it home, and gotten a huge whiff of chemical smell when you pull it out of the package? That smell is a sign of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into your home…
Don’t fret! What’s done is done, and there are non-toxic shower curtains available. My favorite options are made of hemp or organic cotton.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
For a hemp option, I really like Rawganique, and I’m also big fan of Quince’s eco-friendly shower curtains for a more affordable choice. Keep reading to learn how to find a non-toxic shower curtain or liner (and learn about the chemicals you should avoid).
Safer Materials Used in Non-Toxic Shower Curtains
If you’re looking to buy a safer shower curtain or liner, you should opt for a fabric shower curtain made with natural materials such as cotton, hemp, or linen. These materials are natural, non-toxic, and can be just as effective at keeping water in the shower (and off of your bathroom floor), and they’re often more durable and longer-lasting than synthetic options like PVC or vinyl.
Hemp shower curtains are great when you want something that’s made without synthetic materials. They’re initially more expensive, but they last forever!
In fact, hemp is stronger than cotton (research shows that it’s stronger than steel too, which is why people have used it to make clothing and other products for centuries).
Since you use your shower curtain every day (probably multiple times a day if you don’t live by yourself), opening and closing, opening and closing, every time someone hops in the shower… all that opening and closing (even when you’re gentle… unlike my children) puts pressure on the fabric, and eventually, it will wear down.
But hemp gets better as it ages. Like linen, it gets softer with each use.
The benefits don’t stop at hemp’s beauty and strength though. It’s also more sustainable compared to other textiles. Hemp requires very little water and no pesticides or herbicides to grow, and the plants can improve soil quality over time, making it a smart choice for farmers and the planet.
Still, one of my favorite things about hemp is its natural antimicrobial properties. That means that your shower curtain won’t be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which is such a relief – especially if you’re someone who cares about keeping your bathroom clean and sanitary.
Always check the care label for your shower curtain, but hemp is usually machine washable. To keep it as fresh as possible, toss it in your washing machine once a month and allow it to dry outside or dry on low heat.
When possible, opt for certified organic hemp that’s dew retted and naturally dyed (or not dyed at all).
Best Hemp Shower Curtains
Rawganique’s shower curtain is the only organic hemp shower curtain I’ve found. This is a big deal because organic hemp is more eco-friendly and sustainable than conventionally-grown hemp, and it’s why it’s my #1 recommendation on this list (even though it’s a little pricier than the other options).
It looks beautiful in the bathroom too. (Actually, it looks great almost anywhere, even as a room divider or bedroom curtain.) It comes in 16 colors to match your room’s aesthetic, and the macrame rings are handmade – so luxe! The macrame rings add a unique touch to the design, though they can make it difficult to slide on some shower curtain rods. Plus, it’s entirely toxin-free and has no nasty ‘forever chemicals’ like PFAS.
You can use it with or without a liner, and if you want to make it more water resistant, you can add a natural wax bar to your cart at check out and reapply as needed every 1-2 years. Just keep in mind that waxed curtains aren’t machine-washable.
If you choose not to wax your curtain, you can machine wash it in cold water with like colors on a delicate setting and hang it to dry. It’s important to wash it every few weeks to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
Another one of my favorite hemp shower curtains is handmade in the US by Bean Products, which is a U.S.-based family-run business that has been around since the 80s! They are crazy passionate about eco-friendly products and saving the planet.
One of the best features of this shower curtain is that it is available in different sizes, so it can fit pretty much any shower. The rust-proof nickel-plated brass grommets are also a plus, as they not only add an elegant touch to the design but also make it more durable and easy to hang.
It can also be utilized as a shower curtain liner, providing an extra layer of protection and extending the life of your exterior shower curtain. And its natural material makes it easy to use for window coverings, room dividers, and more, giving your entire home a more cohesive look.
It’s machine-washable too, which makes it much easier to care for (though it’s still not quite as simple as nylon). Toss it in the washing machine on cold, and let it air dry. It WILL shrink in the dryer. So unless you need a smaller shower curtain hang or lay flat to dry. To reduce wrinkles, dry it flat.
Bean Products also offer other varieties of natural shower curtains, including organic cotton and hemp blends.
This dreamy shower curtain is made from 100% natural hemp canvas. Note that it’s unfortunately not organic, but it is Oeko-Tex certified, making it a safer choice for families with young children (and adults too!).
When you first open the package, you probably won’t think it’s going to hold water in, but you’ll be quite surprised. The fabric is very tightly woven, so you don’t have to worry about water spraying through onto your bathroom floor.
The website says you don’t need a liner, but I would recommend using one. If your bathroom isn’t well-ventilated, you might have some issues with mildew. That being said, if you’re washing it weekly (it’s machine washable and dryable!), it’s unlikely to have problems.
It’s proudly made in Canada and measures 72″ x 72″, which fits most bathrooms. You may find it a tad heavy and long through, so I recommend measuring your space and mentally preparing yourself to get it hemmed.
It’s a little pricey, but compared to other hemp options, it’s relatively budget-friendly.
Cotton and Linen
Linen and organic cotton shower curtains are also made from natural fibers, but they’re more budget-friendly compared to hemp, and you can get them in just about any color your heart desires!
It’s also much easier to find organic cotton fabric than it is to find organic hemp, and sticking to purchasing organically farmed products is a safer choice for your family and the environment since they are grown without the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Nevertheless, cotton and linen don’t repel water the way polyester and vinyl do, so you’re still at an increased risk for mold and mildew. If you have good bathroom ventilation and live in a drier climate, it will help offset some of this, and you should still wash and dry your organic cotton and linen shower curtain liners at least as often as you wash and dry your towels.
Best Cotton & Linen Non-Toxic Shower Curtains
The Coyuchi 100% organic cotton shower curtain is a product that caught my eye due to its GOTS certification. Coyuchi has been in the sustainability game for a long time – 30 years. And if you ever try any of their products, you’ll definitely come to love them as much as I do. These shower curtains will give your bathroom a luxe feel, and I love that there are multiple design options too, so you can pick the organic shower curtain that best fits the vibe of your bathroom..
Choose between the Mediterranean organic shower curtain with decorative tassels at the bottom, Rippled Stripe that has a natural color with woven stripes and scallops, and the classic white organic cotton waffle shower curtain that gives your bathroom a spa vibe. Personally, the white waffle shower curtain is my favorite, and it’s also the least expensive option.
Coyuchi’s shower curtains are pre-shrunk and machine-washable & dryable, making them easy to care for, and you can use them with or without a non-toxic shower curtain liner… or use it as a liner with another shower curtain.
It’s worth noting that the price is a little high compared to almost every other shower curtain on my list, but Coyuchi is the standard when it comes to organic cotton linens, so you can be sure you’re getting a great product that’s sustainable and eco-friendly.
I also love Coyuchi’s 2nd Home program, which allows you to send your gently used towels and linens back to be upcycled, giving you a more sustainable way to get rid of your things (and a discount code for another purchase).
(P.S. If you like their non-toxic shower curtain, your little one will love their organic crib sheets too.)
I’ve recently come across Quince’s line of home goods and found their 100% organic cotton shower curtains. This luxurious bathroom essential is not only aesthetically pleasing but also ticks all the boxes for sustainability and functionality.
The brand has two shower curtains (in a few different colors): the Organic Luxe Waffle Shower Curtain and the European Linen Shower Curtain. The waffle design is similar to Coyuchi’s, and it’s beautifully textured, featuring a clean honeycomb pattern that will bring a touch of sophistication and brightness to your bathroom.
The product description states that the shower curtains are made from 100% organic cotton. This kind of terminology is generally used when a company is trying to be a little sneaky with its materials, using a blend of organic cotton and something else. (It doesn’t say that the curtain is 100% organic cotton; it says it’s made with organic cotton.) I reached out to clarify and was assured that it is 100% organic cotton, not mixed with other materials.
I will say that I was incredibly impressed with the speed and quality of their customer service, so they got another A+ from me there.
Given the quality, design, and eco-friendly credentials, one might expect the Quince shower curtains to carry a hefty price tag. However, they are surprisingly affordable, making organic luxury accessible to more people.
As I continue to explore products more from Quince, this brand is quickly becoming a favorite in my household.
Parachute also has a beautiful white shower curtain that will give your bathroom major spa vibes. I really love the look of the linen one, but the brand also offers an organic cotton non-toxic shower curtain and a slightly less basic organic pom-pom shower curtain. With a commitment to creating high-quality products that enhance both the home and the environment, Parachute focuses on quality, thoughtful design, and social responsibility.
Toxic Materials to Avoid When Buying a Shower Curtain
When it comes to buying a non-toxic shower curtain or liner, it’s important to be aware of the materials and potentially toxic chemicals you should avoid.
Shower curtains and liners made with vinyl can emit harmful VOCs into the air. These toxic chemicals can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, potentially causing health problems such as respiratory issues and hormonal imbalances. In addition, vinyl shower curtains are not biodegradable and can contribute to pollution and environmental damage when disposed of improperly.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PVC is commonly used in plastic shower curtains and shower curtain liners, but it can release harmful chemicals into the air in your bathroom. In fact, it’s earned the name “The Poison Plastic.” PVC can contain phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors, and the production of PVC emits toxic dioxins into the environment. As a result of the heat and moisture in the bathroom, the plastic liner starts breaking down. This breakdown ultimately emits more toxins into your home.
PEVA (Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate)
While PEVA is often assumed to be less toxic than PVC and vinyl, it still poses some risks. PEVA plastics do not contain chlorine and therefore don’t emit dioxins, but they can still release VOCs that have adverse effects on our health and our environment.
If you’re on a budget, and you simply can’t afford an organic cotton or hemp shower curtain (I’ve been there!), PEVA or EVA may be an okay option. These shower curtains are made from polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) and/or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). They’re less expensive than organic cotton and hemp, and they’re a slightly better option when compared to PVC. That being said, they still release some VOCs, and this study showed that the material may still be harmful to humans. That’s why PEVA is at the bottom of my suggestions.
I know how expensive the non-toxic lifestyle can be though, so I always want to provide my readers with some budget-friendly alternatives. Something you can use at least for a little while.
Thankfully, PEVA is chlorine-free (chlorine is the reason for the smell from PVC liners), and also has antimicrobial properties.
If you want to try out a PEVA shower curtain, I found a good one on Amazon. You can check it out here.
This non-toxic shower curtain contains magnets on the bottom to keep it in place, and it comes with 12 rust-proof metal grommets that fit any other decorative hooks.
Shower curtains are most commonly made of polyester, which is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum-based plastic. And even though they’re affordable and easy to purchase just about anywhere you go, they can also harm the environment. The petrochemicals used to manufacture polyester can release VOCs when manufactured, used, and disposed of. These VOCs can contribute to indoor air pollution and may cause respiratory problems and other health issues. In addition, polyester is not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills, contributing to plastic pollution.
And we don’t just have to talk about the environmental impact of polyester. Shower curtains made from polyester don’t always stand up to repeated exposure to moisture and humidity. Over time they can become mildewy, stained, or develop an unpleasant odor.
Nylon is considered the in-between option when shopping for non-toxic shower curtains. It doesn’t absorb water like cotton and linen but isn’t entirely waterproof either. I don’t generally recommend nylon materials, though (in anything). Why? Well, unfortunately, nylon is not very eco-friendly. When nylon is fabricated, the manufacturing plants release VOCs into the environment, which can be hazardous to humans when inhaled. On top of that, nylon takes a long time to decompose and is made from non-renewable resources, making it unsustainable for prolonged use.
How to Clean Your Shower Curtain
Cleaning your shower curtain can be super easy if you stay on top of it! Simply remove the curtain rings, spot treat any mildew or visible stains, then toss it in the wash! You can dry on low heat or hang to dry.
Be careful when drying cotton and linen curtains though because they have the tendency to shrink!
Speaking of cleaning, here’s my review of Norwex (& 5 other options)!
Just a tip, soaps and body wash containing toxins often leave more scum behind. If you want to get ahead of the mildew, check out our favorite organic body washes to try this year.
I hope this non-toxic shower curtain guide makes your purchase much easier! Let me know in the comments which curtain you chose and why!