Shower Curtain vs. Liner:What’s the Difference

A good solution to make it easy to get in and out of a shower is a shower curtain. However, if you’ve ever gone to buy one you will have noticed that there are shower curtains, shower liners, and shower curtain liners. In this article, I will explain what the differences are between them.

As a general rule, a shower liner goes behind a shower curtain to make it completely waterproof. They can also be called shower curtain liners. Many shower curtains are made of semi-permeable material, whereas, a shower liner is flexible acrylic or PVC plastic that allows no water through at all.

Shower curtains are often made of very flexible fabric-like material, that can be colored or have designs printed on them. They fold away much smaller than a shower liner and are made of a different type of material. Below, I cover the main differences between them and the reasons to have or not have one.

Main Differences Between Shower Curtains and Shower Liners

a shower curtain with water on it

Shower curtains and shower liners share some similarities. They are both typically used to stop water from getting out of a bathtub shower. But, they are significantly different and are used for different purposes. 

The key differences between shower curtains and shower liners are:

  • The texture
  • How waterproof they are
  • The material they are made of

For the most part shower curtains are a soft floppy kind of material. Whereas, shower liners are made of a material that is more rigid. The reason they differ is because of the material they’re made out of. 

Shower curtains are made of either cotton, polyester, microfibre, or vinyl. Whereas shower liners are made of PVC, PEVA, EVA, or fabric. Some shower liners are also made of vinyl. 

The materials that are abbreviations such as PVC, and PEVA are synonyms for chemicals used to make the plastic-type material they are made of. The exact details aren’t too important. The main thing is the difference in how waterproof they are.

Because of the different types of materials used, it’s possible for shower curtains to have designs on them. For example, they can be all one color. Or, a flower pattern. Shower curtains aren’t limited in the designs they have. And it’s possible to find very unique designs such as those from popular movies, or children’s cartoons.

Which Is Better To Have: A Shower Curtain or Shower Liner or Both

a woman is choosing which shower curtain to buy

In general, it’s best to have both unless a shower curtain is completely waterproof. For example, it’s made of vinyl. If it’s a cotton, polyester, or microfiber material it will get quite damp, and hold a reasonable amount of water. 

Whereas, a shower liner is made of a plastic-type material that doesn’t absorb water at all. This also means a shower curtain will retain moisture more than a shower liner. Because of this fact, it will tend to grow mold more easily. And will need to be replaced sooner. 

Shower liners can also grow mold but it can easily be wiped off. Because the surface of a shower liner is smooth and somewhat hard. Whereas, the fabric type material that shower curtains are made of means they will either need to be cleaned with a mold cleaner such as bleach. Or, thrown away and replaced. 

A shower curtain is good because it provides privacy for a person using a shower. Which can be good if someone needs to come into the bathroom to fetch something. Or, two people need to use a bathroom at once. 

Whereas, shower liners are typically clear plastic and are completely see-through. Therefore, while they do a very good job of keeping water in the shower, they aren’t the best-looking option unless you’re going for a very minimalist look.

What Is the Point of a Shower Liner

a shwoer liner

Many people only have a shower curtain, or in the past, you may have noticed that your shower only had a shower curtain and didn’t have a liner. Therefore, it can be a bit confusing why shower liners are used. So, here’s a rundown on why it can be good to have a shower liner.

In general, a shower liner makes a shower curtain waterproof. Shower curtains are often made of material that absorbs and holds water. This causes them to take longer to dry and in humid climates makes it more likely your shower curtain will grow mold, and need to be replaced sooner.

Another factor that causes mold to grow faster or slower is having a shower curtain that is too long. Often, there can be water at the bottom of a shower which sits on the bottom of a shower curtain. This keeps it wet for long periods of time which makes it easier for mold to grow.

What Kind of Shower Curtain Does Not Need a Liner

A shower liner adds complexity to your shower, and it’s easier to not have one than to have one. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get a shower curtain that doesn’t need a shower liner. Here’s what type of shower curtains don’t need a liner. 

In general, a shower curtain made of vinyl, or that’s labeled as waterproof does not need a shower curtain liner. Shower curtain liners are primarily used to stop a shower curtain from getting wet. But, shower liners are typically see-through so they can’t be colored, or have a pattern on them.

A shower curtain liner can technically be used on its own without a shower curtain at all. The drawbacks are a shower curtain liner is typically see-through. And a shower curtain liner can’t have a pattern to it.

An advantage of a shower curtain is that you can get one in a color that matches the rest of your bathroom. For example, if the walls or vanity unit have a blue tint to them you can get a blue shower curtain. This makes the bathroom overall look better. 

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