If you or a family member has been diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or asthma, or believe that either of these diagnoses are a possibility, you may want to take a close look at the type of shower curtains you have in your home and replace them with shower doors. Here's what you need to know.
Problems with vinyl shower curtains
Vinyl shower curtains are commonly used to protect against water damage when someone is taking a shower. However, there are some problems and health risks that can be attributed to vinyl shower curtains.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacturing and packaging processes of shower curtains and other products. These toxic chemicals lower the indoor air quality due to the off-gassing of the toxic chemicals. According to research, 108 toxic chemicals were released from vinyl shower curtains during a 28-day period. Over time, the off-gassing of the chemicals from shower curtains does diminish. However, some people are extremely sensitive to VOCs, which can cause their health to suffer to the extent that their immune systems may take a long time to fully recover.
- Mold can grow rampant in confined areas that are subject to moisture on a regular basis, such as a shower curtain. Most people will open their shower up to allow the shower walls and flooring to air dry. However, doing so bunches the shower curtain up, which causes the curtain to remain wet for extensive periods and promotes the growth of mold spores. When the shower is used, the mold spores can get lifted into the air and land on other surfaces, spreading the mold to other locations in the bathroom, hallway, and/or ventilation system.
- Residue from soap and dirt can accumulate on shower curtains, which can make the shower curtains difficult to keep clean. Due to the difficulty in cleaning vinyl shower curtains, some people choose to purchase new curtains on a regular basis. In fact, it is recommended that shower curtains be replaced between 3 months and 1 year. Of course, replacing shower curtains on a regular basis causes ongoing problems with VOCs.
As you can see, problems with vinyl shower curtains can become a never-ending cycle. The answer is to stop using vinyl shower curtains and install custom shower doors instead.
Make the switch to custom shower doors
Custom shower doors are environmentally friendly and don't present the same problems with VOCs, mold growth, and difficulty cleaning. Here are a few tips on ordering, installing and cleaning shower doors.
- Ordering custom shower doors can be done online in the privacy of your home or through a bathroom remodeling showroom. Before you place your order, you'll need to take measurements of your shower.
- Installing shower doors is simple with easy-to-follow instructions provided by the manufacturer. You may also find some video tutorials online that may help you. However, it's best to use the instructions from the manufacturer.
- Use zero-VOC caulking to provide a tight, waterproof seal between the shower door and shower. That way, you or your family member will not suffer from the ill-effects of VOCs caulking can sometimes have. The label on the caulking will clearly mark if it contains VOC or not.
- Clean up the smudges and fingerprints on the shower doors after installation by using natural cleaning products that do not contain harsh chemicals. Many grocery stores and big-box retailers provide a section of natural cleaning products to their customers who have environmental and indoor air quality concerns such as yourself.
A medical condition that is compromised by poor indoor air quality, such as multiple chemical sensitivity or asthma, can be exacerbated by the use of vinyl shower curtains. Avoid this health risk by using custom shower doors instead.