They’re probably not many of us who pay much heed to our shower curtain, apart from making sure they look good and fit in nicely with our bathroom. However, it’s known that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shower curtains aren’t the healthiest for you or your surrounding environment.
We’re all focused on going green nowadays, and eco-friendly products are often very good quality, and will leave the earth in better health for the generations to come after us. With this in mind, it’s time to consider ditching the PVC shower curtain in favor of something sustainable.
What’s So Wrong with PVC Shower Curtains?
If you’ve ever bought a PVC shower curtain, you’ll know that overpowering plastic-y smell that attacks your nostrils the second you remove it from the bag. Have you ever stopped to think about what that smell could actually be? Well, it comes from the harmful chemicals used in the making of PVC off-gassing in the air.
Any PVC product can release a cocktail of volatile organic compounds into the air, and these nasty compounds can hang around for a long time. It’s a worrying thought when you realize that at least four of the chemicals used in many PVC shower curtains have been shown to be hazardous air pollutants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency –
- Methyl isobutyl ketone
PVC shower curtains are therefore bad for both your health and the environment. PVC also contains chlorine, phthalates, and dioxin. According to the World Health Organization, dioxin is toxic, and can cause developmental and reproductive problems. Linked to breast cancer, dioxin is a carcinogen, that is given off when PVC heats up, and of course should be avoided at all costs.
The phthalates in PVC are used to keep the plastic soft and pliable, and according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, are considered to be dangerous. In fact, three types have been banned from children’s toys in amounts greater than 0.1 percent. Phthalates have been linked to conditions such as –
- Reproductive problems
Finally, the chlorine used in the manufacture of PVC gives out toxic vapors.
Surely there should be a better way to protect your bathroom when you’re having a shower than to expose yourself to a whole cocktail of dangerous chemicals. And there is.
Eco-Friendly Shower Curtains
Eco-friendly shower curtains are readily available in stores today, and are made from various different materials. This means if you purchase one that you don’t need to expose yourself and your family to the dangerous chemicals lurking in the PVC variety.
Some of the materials used in eco-friendly shower curtains are:
Although cotton curtains soak up a lot of the water from your shower, they do dry pretty quickly. Add this to the fact that they’re probably the most inexpensive eco-friendly shower curtain option, and that they can be bought in a myriad of colorways, and they’re a great choice. Just make sure that they’re not treated with any plastics, or chemicals to make them water resistant.
Like cotton shower curtains, polyester ones absorb water, but dry out more rapidly. Unlike their cotton counterparts, they’re better at keeping their shape after being washed.
Nylon is an excellent choice when you’re looking to buy a non-toxic shower curtain. Quick-drying, as well as water-resistant, these curtains are ones to look out for.
Another popular choice when trying to avoid PVC, a birch shower curtain is durable and long lasting.
Bamboo offers natural mildew and mold resistance, and it looks very natural and pretty in the bathroom, too.
Linen is a dense and naturally water-resistant fabric, so it makes a good shower curtain that can be bought ready-dyed to suit any color scheme.
Hemp is a very good material to make shower curtains from as it is naturally fast-drying and resistant to mildew and bacteria. One drawback of these curtains is that they tend to be a little on the expensive side, although a huge plus point is that they’re free from synthetic chemical compounds, as well as being biodegradable should you choose of dispose of one.
As hemp shower curtains are heavy, they’re great at blocking water from escaping your shower into the bathroom floor too.
PEVA or EVA
Although they are still petrochemical products, PEVA or EVA curtains are arguably the most affordable and easy-to-buy non-PVC option. These curtains don’t have that nasty chemical smell, and are far safer than PVC ones.
PEVA or EVA curtains are also easily cleaned, as well as long lasting.
You can’t hang a shower curtain made only of beeswax, but what you can do is coat your fabric liners with beeswax, in order to make them waterproof.
Why Not Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Shower Curtain?
With the above in mind, it’s easy to see that you likely have lots of materials around the home that can be repurposed into a shower curtain. How about those old sheets that have been lying around for years? You could also consider using an old bedspread, or similar.
Simply sew some fabric tabs along the top of your sheet or bedspread, slip a curtain rod through, and hang it up!
What Alternatives to a Shower Curtain Do I Have?
Many of us just don’t like the idea or the feel of a shower curtain against our skin. If you’re thinking of ditching your shower curtain altogether, then there are plenty of planet-friendly alternatives you can choose.
Why not enclose your shower in a glass wall? Alternatively, a hinged, or sliding glass shower door could work just as well, depending on the setup of your bathroom.
If space and money are both available, consider creating a beautifully tiled wet room within your home, with a drain in the middle to get rid of the water.
A permanent partition made with decorative glass blocks between your bathroom and your shower looks amazing, and is eco-friendly too.
If you’re worried about the environmental impact of using a PVC shower curtain, and are interested in alternatives, you will have found a great deal of food for thought here. There are so many alternatives to plastic shower curtains that no one nowadays needs to introduce these into their home.
Be earth-friendly, and style-forward, and make those changes to your shower curtain now.
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