The odor that emanates from new vinyl shower curtains is caused by off-gassing. Off-gassing is the slow release of noxious gasses from certain materials. It occurs with many products; latex paint is just one example. It is a minor annoyance for some people, but off-gassing can cause headaches, nausea and additional problems for other people. Just as with a new coat of paint on a wall, the curtain's odor will diminish on its own. You can speed up the process and spare yourself the intense, and often bothersome, odor of new vinyl.
Things You'll Need
- Baking soda
Place the shower curtain in a washing machine. Add 1 cup of baking soda and wash it in warm water on the gentle cycle. Remove the curtain immediately after the wash cycle ends.
Hang the shower curtain on an outdoor clothesline to dry. It is important to place the curtain in the shade because sunlight may harm the vinyl.
Leave the curtain to air outdoors for at least 24 hours, weather permitting. If a strong odor remains, leave it for another 24 hours. Off-gassing takes time to subside.
Carry the curtain indoors and attach it to the shower curtain rod. Leave the bathroom windows and doors open to allow a good air flow to the bathroom. The air flow helps disperse more of the odor.
Tips & Warnings
- You can hand wash (rather than machine wash) a vinyl curtain by scrubbing it down with baking soda and a mild detergent, then rinsing it well. Washing new curtains frequently (once a week) may diminish new vinyl odor more quickly. After each washing, hang the curtain to dry in the open air.
- Use the gentlest cycle in your washing machine to prevent rips in the vinyl. Some people are sensitive to vinyl off-gassing and may develop headaches, or other symptoms, until the vinyl is odor-free. If the odor remains, keep the vinyl curtain outdoors to air until the smell has significantly subsided.
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