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shower curtain, need a better system  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I just broke down and bought a new plastic shower curtain, but it really bugs me. I don't want to be a part of any system that requires me to buy a sheet of plastic every so often and throw the old one away.

Yet, we are not up for a new bathroom remodel and showers in a tub require protection. I'm going to do my best to keep this one free from mildew and slime, so I have a while to figure this out. I don't project a lot of cash even then though.

So. What is the best answer for keeping the shower water off the floor? My parents had a shower in their old house that had a door instead of a curtain rod, but the trouble with that was eventually it broke and they had to throw away the whole shebang.

Ideally, I think, a tiled design with careful attention to drainage and wall placement. But what to do about the traditional bathtub shower unit?
 
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Location: The Netherlands
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How long do you do with a shower curtain? The last time I had to replace mine was more than 5 years ago. If you have problems with slime and mildew then the problem probably isn't the curtain but the (lack of)ventilation.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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That's a good point. There is a problem with ventilation. The house is sort of a "homemade" house and the bathroom has terrible ventilation. We have not been able to figure out a way to fix that, because of the shape of the room and where it is placed in the post and beams.

Still, this curtain lasted about 4 years. I don't even want to throw one away every 5 years though!
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 6b
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You can use a fabric one instead, just wash it once a month with oxyclean to kill any mildew that's starting to grow (in with your laundry). I hated buying plastic too so that's what I do.

Also get a squeegie and use that on the walls and tub to get as much water as possible down the drain so there's not as much lingering to make the air humid.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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The squeegee idea is great, I don't know why I didn't think of that! Can I get the kids to do it, I wonder?...

Will a fabric one keep water off the floor, even when splashy preteens are showering? I was assuming they wouldn't.
 
pollinator
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Matu Collins wrote:That's a good point. There is a problem with ventilation. The house is sort of a "homemade" house and the bathroom has terrible ventilation. We have not been able to figure out a way to fix that, because of the shape of the room and where it is placed in the post and beams.

Still, this curtain lasted about 4 years. I don't even want to throw one away every 5 years though!



Exhaust fan. Even if you vent it up into an attic space, the large attic volume (and air exchange there) will take care of the humidity. If you can figure a way with an exhaust fan and a piece of flexible conduit to vent it to the outside, even better. An exhaust fan doesn't need to be a big energy investment, you only need to have it on when you are generating steam, like with a hot shower. If you want to make it all solar, you can even do that, since you can find 12v exhaust fans that are made for boat use. Put a solar panel on the roof, run a wire down to the exhaust fan, and ventilation problem is solved.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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That's the trouble with the homemade house. We have tried and tried to figure out a way to get an exhaust fan into the room but there is no way to fit it, either to the outside or to another part of the house. I mean, there may be an answer, but none of the heads we've put together have found it yet.

Even with an exhaust fan, though, a plastic curtain won't last forever.
 
pollinator
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I too dislike my plastic shower curtain and looking for a long lasting green alliterative. I think the next curtain purchase will be one made of a high quality hemp fabric. Hopefully a sheer, light colored, hemp fabric that is not completely opaque. Anyone using hemp fabric shower curtain? If so please post a link to your favorite supplier. Thanks
 
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Matu...I am glad you asked this question.
Renate...I have just put a squeegee in our shower and will follow my urge to make a shower curtain from curtains from the thrift store...I use them for lots of other things.
Our shower/bath has NO toilet in the room...it gets sun and has a window open almost year round but I have been wantng to get away from the plastic shower curtain too.
 
John Elliott
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Can you snake some dryer vent hose into the bathroom? This marine blower fan is 4" in diameter and designed to push air through a long tube. There's got to be a way to get a 4" pipe through a wall to the outside.

What Renate said also works; if one fabric one doesn't keep water off the floor, try two, one hanging on the inside of the tub and one on the outside.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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The trouble is that the wall to the outside is very small and taken up by support beams and window. The window opens of course but in New England it's only useful to have it open for part of the year.

I like the repurposed curtains idea. I have a friend who makes repurposed clothing, maybe there's a market for this... Someone's got to do something with the vast sea of cloth discarded by our weird global clothing system...
 
Renate Howard
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Fabric curtains do keep water off the floor - it hits the curtain and then runs down. You want something thin and not too absorbent, so it dries quickly and doesn't get so heavy that it pulls down your curtain rod.
 
pollinator
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Mat Collins : So how are you going to recycle the old plastic ! If kept out of the sun it should still have some life ! I too vote for a Squeegee, in High humidity areas like Florida
this is a very common answer. If you have a cast iron or steel tub you can stash some refrigerator magnets in your tub area, and use them to Take the slack out of the shower
curtains that will try to stick to each other ! This will allow the water to drain off of the curtain in sheets, with or without the sqweegee, which is not kid proof ! Big Al
 
Judith Browning
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Rick Roman wrote:I too dislike my plastic shower curtain and looking for a long lasting green alliterative. I think the next curtain purchase will be one made of a high quality hemp fabric. Hopefully a sheer, light colored, hemp fabric that is not completely opaque. Anyone using hemp fabric shower curtain? If so please post a link to your favorite supplier. Thanks



When I was weaving a lot with hemp a friend asked me to weave a shower curtain...but no way could I have made it for anywhere close to the $100 of the commercial one. At the time I suggested she check out Ecolution's hemp yardages...really beautful fabric...all different weights. I don't know who is a distributer for them anymore though.
 
Rick Roman
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Thanks Judith! I'm rethinking the hemp curtain after your brilliant suggestion of recycling window curtains.
 
pollinator
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For what it's worth, I bought two microfiber cloth shower curtains from Walmart. Once a month I replace the used one with a fresh clean one, laundering the one i took down. Works for me. I live in a very humid area and have a very airy bathroom 24 hours a day, and the plastic shower curtains still molded up really fast. Drove me nuts. But the microfiber ones, washing them often, are fine. And they keep all the water inside the shower stall.

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I will use the old shower curtain for the roof of a cold frame this fall/winter. I am thinking of fixing it over a couple of straw bales for a season extender.

Still, it won't last more than one season.

I love a good plastic 5 gallon bucket as much as the next gal, but I wish to eliminate as much plastic junk as possible from all my systems.
 
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John Elliott wrote: Exhaust fan. Even if you vent it up into an attic space, the large attic volume (and air exchange there) will take care of the humidity.



Yes, but be careful. I've seen lots of these turn moldy and rotten. If you've got a steep roof so that the attic has lots of open area for the vent to blow into... AND it really does exchange lots of air (meaning the roof vents are numerous enough and installed right)... then it can work fine.

But if the bathroom vent blows into a corner, or the roof is low above the bathroom (it often is, because the bathroom is often on an outside wall where the roof slopes down), then the wet air blows right onto the wood and condenses during the cool/cold parts of the year. After a few years- more or less depending on your family's showering habits- the roof framing has been wet every day and it rots. Or if the attic space is small and doesn't exchange much air, but you're not blowing the air right onto one spot, then sometimes the humidity condenses all over the cold underside of the roof and you get a layer of mold everywhere instead of localized. Either way, undesirable.

Venting the bathroom air into the attic CAN be ok, but tread carefully!
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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For us it's moot, no attic.

Summers are very moldy here. Our shoes grow fur in the closets.
 
Su Ba
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Matu, I can empathize! I moved to the tropics and everything made of leather grew fur! We built our house with conventional cabinets, closets, and drawers and instantly owned lots of moldy stuff. We're getting ready to re-do the bathroom and are seriously considering things like ...outdoor shower...removing one wall of the bathroom and replacing it with open gridwork of some kind. People resort to that sort of thing in my area.

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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That is the answer for the summer, Su Ba! I am planning to invest some capital in an outdoor shower when some capital comes along. I have some ipe decking waiting to be made into something better than a shower curtain.

Where I live in Matunuck, Rhode Island, we can have very hot humid summers and frozen solid winters, so the outdoor option won't work all year but it could cut down on mildew and moisture by a lot. We have seven people in our family getting clean in this bathroom, and if you add wwoofers to that in the summer tropical season...
 
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Then you DEFINITELY want an outdoor shower!!

I am planning on one when capital comes along, too.
 
Judith Browning
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Outdoor showers are wonderful...we've always had one until we moved to a more 'civilized' house. If you are isolated enough and have a good dog to let you know if someone is coming you don't ned much but a rock to stand on so your feet don't get muddy and a bucket of water to dip out of. We shower with unheated water all summer anyway.

We are testing our cloth shower curtain...I had a twill cotton curtain that fit perfectly but I think it is a little too heavy and cotton too absorbant...it sheds water just fine but the hem is really soaked. This might be a good use for a polyester blend or a nice linen that would shed water better without absorbing so much.
 
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