No one wants their bathroom to be a haven for dirt or bacteria—after all, we use this room to get ourselves clean. But common bathroom items such as rugs, shower curtains and towels can easily become breeding grounds for germs if not cared for properly. Follow these steps to learn how to wash bathroom rugs, shower curtains and towels to keep them fresh and your bathroom spotless.

How to Wash Floor Mats and Rugs

It’s sometimes easy to forget them, but your bathroom floor mats should be washed once every one to three weeks, depending on frequency of use. A good first step is to take your bathmat outside to shake out any loose debris, like hair. Also be sure to check the label before washing to see if there are any special care instructions.

To keep your bathroom rugs in great condition, follow these steps:

  • Don’t overload your washing machine. 
  • Use the right amount of gentle detergent, based on your machine’s instructions.
  • Use cold-water settings.

For best results, hang your bathmats to dry, or use the lowest setting on your dryer.

How to Wash Shower Curtains

Keeping your shower curtains clean can be a tough job, but it’s an important one—a study suggests that your shower curtain is up to 60 times dirtier than your toilet seat. Rather than immediately balling them up and tossing them in the trash, follow these tips to get them clean. Complete these steps every one to six months, or when you see soap scum or mildew begin to build up.

Cloth Shower Curtains

Cloth shower curtains have a long-life expectancy if cared for properly. To extend the life of your cloth curtain and keep it squeaky clean, follow these steps:

  • Take your shower curtain down.
  • Use an appropriate amount of gentle detergent, plus a half-cup of baking soda.
  • Toss the shower curtain in the drum, along with one or two clean towels. The towels will serve as “scrubbers” to help remove stubborn grime.
  • Wash using warm water.
  • For especially dirty shower curtains, add a half-cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Hang to dry or toss your shower curtain in the dryer on the lowest setting.

Plastic Shower Curtains

These shower curtains can also be conveniently washed in your washing machine. Follow these steps to learn how to wash shower curtains made of plastic to get the best clean possible.

  • Remove your curtain from the rings.
  • Use the right amount of gentle detergent, plus a half-cup of baking soda.
  • Place it in your washing machine with one or two clean towels. These towels help scrub any stuck-on dirt.
  • Wash using cool or cold water.
  • For a very grimy shower curtain, add a half-cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Hang your plastic curtain to dry. Plastic shower curtains should never be put in the dryer.

Shower Curtain Rings

Don’t ignore your shower curtain rings. They are exposed to the same heat and moisture that your shower curtain is, so they can become dirty, too. To clean and sanitize them, do this:

  • Remove the shower curtain rings from the shower rod.
  • Place the rings in a sink filled with warm water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • Allow them to soak for 30 minutes.
  • For extra soiled rings, add a half-cup of baking soda and use a sponge to scrub away any particles.
  • Wipe dry with a clean towel.

How to Wash Bathroom Towels

Keeping your towels clean is a critical step in keeping your bathroom fresh and hygienic, so it’s best to wash your towels after every three to five uses. Keep your towels fresh with these tips:

  • Check the labels on your towels for special instructions.
  • Don’t overload your washing machine.
  • Don’t overuse detergent or fabric softener, which can build up in your towels and contribute to musty smells over time.
  • Use warm or hot water to kill bacteria.
  • To remove stains such as makeup from towels, pre-treat the stains with liquid dish detergent or white vinegar and allow the towels to soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes before washing.
  • To keep white towels bright, separate your white towels from any colored laundry. Wash using a half-cup of white vinegar or cup of baking soda. If you choose to use chlorine bleach, be careful—avoid using too much and avoid splashing any drops on colored fabrics or on your skin.

If you find that your towels are losing absorbency or smell sour shortly after laundry day, check out this article to keep them fresh and soft for longer.

Learn How to Wash Bathroom Rugs, Shower Curtains and Towels the Right Way

Keep your bathroom items in tip-top shape to maintain a sparkling, sanitary home. Using these easy tips for washing your bathroom rugs, shower curtains and towels will help take the guesswork out of having a squeaky-clean restroom.