How to Clear Cloudy Vinyl and Plastic

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Plastic and vinyl shower curtains become cloudy from mineral deposits and soap scum.
Plastic and vinyl shower curtains become cloudy from mineral deposits and soap scum. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Vinyl and plastic are frequently found throughout a household and are used in many bathroom and kitchen items and surfaces where exposure to water and cleaners is prevalent. Both hard water and cleaning supplies can help create a cloudy film on vinyl and plastic surfaces. Whether the cloudy film is due to mineral deposits or improper cleaning supplies and techniques, it can be removed with simple home remedies..

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Laundry detergent
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Old towels

Treat hard plastic and vinyl surfaces such as containers, tile and appliances with a spray bottle filled with white vinegar. Spray the vinegar on the surface and allow it to sit for a few minutes to loosen mineral deposits, soap scum and other matter that's clouding the surface.

Use a spray bottle to direct cleaner at the source of cloudiness.
Use a spray bottle to direct cleaner at the source of cloudiness. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Wipe the plastic or vinyl surface off with a clean cloth to remove the vinegar and cloudy film. Buff vinyl surfaces with a dry cloth to make them shine.

Clear cloudy vinyl and plastic shower curtains in the wash machine. Place the shower curtains in the machine with laundry detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda to help remove hard water stains and soap scum causing an opaque film. Toss a couple towels in with the shower curtains to prevent them from bunching up in the wash machine.

Cloudy film washes off plastic and vinyl shower curtains.
Cloudy film washes off plastic and vinyl shower curtains. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Add 1 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar is a mild acetic known to remove mineral deposits and break down soap scum. Hang the clean shower curtains to dry in the shower.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rub lemon halves on cloudy plastic or vinyl to remove cloudy film caused by hard water.
  • Always wipe dirty vinyl surfaces with mild vinegar or plain water before buffing dry. Attempting to shine vinyl by applying wax or polishes can contribute toward a dull, cloudy appearance.
  • Use clean cloths and sponges when cleaning plastic and vinyl. Change cloths frequently during the cleaning process so dirt isn't transferred back to the surface in the form of a cloudy film.

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