We’ve probably all experienced the lovely chemical smell that permeates the air when you take a new shower curtain out of the package and hang it up in your bathroom. Does it ever make you wonder what’s actually in the plastic shower curtain to makes it smell that way?
Many shower curtains are made out of vinyl or PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a plastic that does in fact release harmful chemicals into the air for at least a month and possibly up to a year after you open it and hang it up in your home. A study by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) determined that PVC shower curtains can off gas as many as 108 VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
From the report:
• The level of Total VOCs measured was over 16 times greater than the recommended guidelines for indoor air quality established by the U.S. Green Building Council and Washington State Indoor Air Quality Program.
• Seven of the chemicals released by the shower curtain are classi“ed as hazardous airpollutants by the United States EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act.
So obviously, these chemicals are not something we want our family to be breathing in every time we’re using the bathroom!
Fortunately, there are better and non-toxic shower curtains available today that can be found at any big-box chain, or specialty kitchen and bath store. You just need to know what you’re looking for.
100% Nylon or PEVA
If you’re still looking for a plastic shower curtain to line the inside of your shower, you’ll want to look for a 100% Nylon curtain, or one made without PVCs, and instead made with polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA). They may be a few dollars more than the PVC curtain, but it is worth the extra cost to remove those toxic chemicals from your home.
Fabric Shower Curtains
Shower curtains made of cotton or linen can also be an easy green alternative. And many families, ours included, use a plastic liner inside the shower and a fabric curtain on the outside.
The most eco-friendly shower curtains are ones made out of hemp. Hemp is naturally mildew resistant and can last for years, but the price tag for a hemp shower curtain may be a bit shocking. If it could last for a lifetime though, maybe you could see it as a one-time investment and you’d never have to buy a shower curtain again?
Finally, take care of your shower curtain to help it to last longer.
No matter what type of shower curtain you use, you want to be sure to take care of it well so it will last you as long as possible. Even though a PEVA curtain may not off gas toxic chemicals, it will still have to be thrown away and end up in a landfill one day.
You can keep your shower curtain nice for longer by cleaning it regularly, try my homemade daily shower spray. You can also clean your shower curtain by running it through the washing machine every few months, or when it starts to get dirty.
How to Wash Your Shower Curtain in a Washing Machine
Just throw the shower curtain in the wash a with a couple of towels, 1/4 of your usual amount of laundry detergent and a cup of white vinegar. Run it through a regular wash cycle with warm water.
The vinegar will help to remove soap scum buildup as well as any mold or mildew. Hang your curtain back up in the shower to dry after washing.
Looking for more tips to green your bathroom? Try these!
Article source: Easy Green Living by Renee Loux
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