Most shower curtains are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride). This type of material is a very toxic kind of plastic that releases a chemical smell and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). PVC has been linked to liver cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia, mainly due to a very toxic chemical it contains called vinyl chloride.
So reducing your exposure to it at home is very important for your health. Fortunately, there are safe alternatives to a plastic shower curtain, such as Bean Products Shower Curtains made from organic cotton or hemp. I’ve prepared a list of fabric shower curtains made of natural materials that aren’t toxic to humans to help you find the best non-toxic shower curtain, have a look:
Hemp fabric is a strong, heavy, tightly woven material that doesn’t let water leak through, which makes it the only shower curtain fabric that doesn’t need a vinyl liner.
Although it does absorb a little bit of water, it dries quickly, so you don’t have to worry it will become damp and moldy. What makes it one of the best non toxic shower curtain materials is that it’s naturally mildew-resistant.
As it’s a completely natural material, free from toxic chemicals and plastic, hemp shower curtains are also some of the most eco-friendly shower curtains out there, as they’re completely biodegradable.
Hemp shower curtains are more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, but if you’re looking for the most natural, plastic-free, durable fabric shower curtain, they’re a great investment. On top of that, they’re machine-washable. Take a look at the best hemp shower curtains below:
Bean Products specializes in non-toxic bean bag chairs and other eco-friendly accessories for your home. Their Hemp Shower Curtain is made from handcrafted Romanian hemp fabric in Chicago.
This high-quality shower curtain is available in neutral colors, such as grey, white and beige. However, these non-toxic shower curtains are not certified organic.
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Dream Designs is a Canadian company specializing in organic bedding products ago adults and children. Dream Designs Hemp Shower Curtain is made from 100% tightly woven hemp canvas.
This non toxic shower curtain is available in three pastel, neutral colors: blue, yellow, and beige. Like Bean Products shower curtain, this one is not certified organic.
Rawganique is a European company that offers a selection of organic bedding products and non-toxic home accessories. Rawganique Hemp Shower Curtain is made from organic hemp and it has handmade organic hemp macramé rings with natural wooden button closure.
These non-toxic shower curtains are available in many colors. Their dyes are GOTS-certified organic fiber-reactive, bio-degradable, and low-impact, so you can be sure you’re getting a completely non-toxic, organic, organic product. Size: 73.5 x 72 inches.
The cotton used in shower curtains is tightly woven, so it won’t let water leak through. However, a cotton shower curtain absorbs more water than hemp and also takes longer to dry. Another disadvantage of a cotton shower curtain is that it’s not mildew resistant, so it is recommended to use a nylon shower curtain liner.
Although cotton is an eco-friendly and non-toxic choice, hemp curtains seem a much more durable and practical shower curtain material.
However, if you’re still interested in a cotton shower curtain, be sure to check Lifekind Organic Cotton Curtains that use GOTS-certified organic cotton, they claim that their organic cotton shower curtain needs no plastic liner, perhaps because their cotton fabric is very tightly woven, take a look:
We also found these beautiful organic cotton shower curtains by Anthropologie. They feature original designs and vivid colors to brighten up your bathroom, take a look at their collection of organic shower curtains:
Material: Organic Cotton
Size: 72 x 72 Inches
Linen is another alternative to hemp, but it’s got similar disadvantages to cotton. Like cotton, linen absorbs more water and it’s not mildew-resistant. So if you opt for a linen shower curtain, I recommend using it with a nylon shower liner.
At the same time, a linen shower curtain is an eco-friendly choice as it’s fully biodegradable. Lush Decor Shower Curtains are made from a cotton and linen blend. They’re beautifully designed and they will look good with shabby chic, modern, or farmhouse decor. Take a look:
Read More: Are Polypropylene Rugs Safe?
A shower liner will make your natural shower curtain water-resistant, but water resistance comes at a price. Water-resistant materials are synthetic and they contain many potentially toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, dioxins and phthalates. PVC is known to be one of the most dangerous shower curtain materials, but you can find some less toxic PVC alternatives, the least toxic of them being nylon:
Nylon is another machine-washable synthetic material used in shower curtains and shower curtain liners. However, this material absorbs more water than polyester and takes longer to dry. Nylon is a petroleum-based material, but its polymers are considered nonreactive so they’re not toxic to humans.
However, as nylon is not waterproof some chemicals have to be added in order to make it water-resistant and those chemicals can be toxic. Take a look at our pick:
Polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) is considered a safer alternative to PVC because it doesn’t contain chlorine. It’s still a synthetic chemical made of petrochemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds), so it’s not completely safe, but it seems less toxic than PVC. At the same time, Peva Shower Curtains retain other PVC properties: water resistance and low price.
Polyester is a very versatile synthetic material that dries pretty fast and doesn’t absorb much water. Polyester Shower Liners are easy to maintain as they´re machine washable and they can be used along with a cotton or linen shower curtain. However, polyester is a material that can ealease toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, perfluorochemicals, and antimony, especially when heated.
If you want to create a green home, free from toxic chemicals, buying non-toxic shower curtains is the way to go. Conventional shower curtains made from PVC have been shown to release toxins that can cause cancer and an array of health issues in adults and children.
Most of these toxic substances are released into the air and we absorb them by breathing them in. It means that they make indoor air quality unhealthy and full of toxic chemicals that you and your family are exposed to daily.
Replacing PVC with a non-toxic shower curtain with natural materials such as linen or hemp will help you reduce this exposure and improve air quality at your home. Hemp shower curtains seem to be the best choice as they’re naturally microbial and their tight weave prevents water absorption and lets the fabric dry quickly.
Other natural shower curtain materials, such as cotton and linen, absorb much more water which makes them prone to become moldy and unhygienic. To avoid that, you’ll have to use a synthetic liner made of PEVA, polyester or nylon.
These synthetic shower curtains can also be used on their own. They have many advantages: waterproof, machine washable, and mold resistant. However, although these materials are not as toxic as PVC, they’re still full of potentially harmful substances, so it’s best to avoid them whenever possible.
If you’re looking for eco-friendly and chemical-free products for your home, check out our review of the best zero-waste subscription boxes. The boxes are sent every month, and they include non-toxic cleaners, organic soaps, fair-trade decor, and more.
Read More: What Are the Best Eco-Friendly Rugs?
My name is Kamila, and I'm passionate about researching non-toxic, organic products for the home. I believe it's so important to create a safe and healthy environment for our families, and I enjoy helping others do the same.