On any given day of being a functioning adult, there are so many spinning plates to juggle, that it can feel seriously overwhelming to even begin to think of fixing up your apartment. Between all of your work meetings, your phone calls with friends, your random errands, and the seemingly impossible task of ensuring you're eating healthy meals each day, you probably haven't even considered how long a shower curtain can last, let alone the potential grossness that might ensue if you simply neglect to ever change that thing. Unfortunately, though, you do have to think about your shower curtain from time to time. Otherwise, you might end up with a moldy, smelly bathroom, filled with little bacteria colonies in the literal place that's supposed to make you clean.
The first thing to know is that it's not technically your shower curtain that you need to be worried about; it's the liner, which is the clear plastic thing that faces the shower and prevents water from reaching your bathroom floor. (If you don't have a shower curtain liner, no judgment, but seriously, you need to get one ASAP, otherwise your shower curtain will constantly be soaked.)
According to TODAY, you can often see if your liner is getting dirty because the clear plastic will start to look dotted or blurry.
If your lining seems to be holding debris, then it's time to wash that puppy, so you can get rid of the mold, bacteria, or dirt that's been accumulating on it and growing happily in the warm, moist environment.
Although there's no official specification for how long a shower curtain or its liner should last, TODAY suggests that you try to wash your liner regularly, as often as once a week. I know, I know, this seems dramatic. You've probably never washed a shower curtain liner in your life, and now you have to wash it weekly?
Fortunately, the method of washing is pretty painless. Most liners can simply be unhooked from the shower rod and thrown in a washing machine for a quick cycle. (TODAY suggests washing it with a bunch of towels, which will help scrub the liner clean.)
Instead of looking at your shower curtain and liner as something with a defined expiration date, you should view it as a part of your home that requires mild maintenance from time to time, with no specific replacement timeline at all.
If you don't clean your shower curtain liner, NBC News reports that you could be at risk of skin, throat, and eye irritation from the mold.
In any bathroom-cleaning situation, it's my humble opinion that you're always better off doing consistent cleaning on a weekly basis, rather than letting the dirt accumulate and attacking it once every month two. If you clean your bathroom regularly, the whole experience will be way less scarring than having to scrub dirt and bacteria off of every single surface in a 10-foot radius.
No one wants to touch a toilet bowl with one of those creepy rings of dirt surrounding the water line. Similarly, no one wants to deal with a shower curtain liner that is so dirty, it feels like it's been dead and gone for months.
Of course, if you're fully uninterested in adding another bullet point to your to-do list, you could totally just swap the liner out every few months, depending on how quickly it gets dirty. But just keep in mind that you're throwing away a lot of plastic over the course of a lifetime, if that's your move.
The cost of having possessions is that you have to take care of them, and unfortunately, a shower curtain liner is basically your pet rock. It won't require too much attention, but you can't forget about it entirely.