Ask a Clean Person: The Answer Is Always Bleach

Is there a trick to getting all the soap scum and mildew and grossness off the bottom of my plastic shower curtain liner? I once heard that you could put it in the dishwasher, but that didn’t make a lot of intuitive sense to me. I hope your answer isn’t “lay it out and scrub it by hand,” but I fear that it might be!

Lay it out and scrub it by hand.

OH HA HA JUST KIDDING! (You asked for that.)

The easiest way to clean a murky, moldy shower curtain liner is to toss it in the washing machine with laundry detergent and a half cup of bleach. If you’ve got a top-loading machine, you’ll also want to throw in a towel or two as buffers so that the curtain doesn’t end up in tatters from the agitator. (This is a good time to clean your rags and such, actually! The bleach will help get rid of all the filth you’ve removed from your home and who cares if they get bleached out — they’re rags.) Once it’s clean, re-hang it to let it drip dry; don’t put it in the dryer, it will melt.

The dishwasher suggestion actually does compute for me and is a good option in that there’s no agitator part that might potentially rip your liner to shreds. If you opt for this method use a dishwashing powder that has a bleach or oxygen element to it. Heat + bleach will help get rid of that nasty mold.

Preventative tip: Close your curtain fully after every shower. This will allow the water to drip off, rather than collecting in the folds and giving mold a happy home in which to thrive.

Would you like to discuss what is the orange mold that can build up on shower curtains and in the toilet bowl? I’m pretty sure it’s mold, anyway. Regular bathroom cleaner seems to get rid of it (or a bleach bar in the toilet), but perhaps you’d like to educate me further.

I most certainly would! The good news is that orange stuff is not mold! The bad news is that it’s bacteria. It’s called serratia marcescens and it can be cleaned up with a bleach solution (3/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water) or a bleach-based cleaning product like Clorox Clean-Up.

Important information about bleach: Never ever (ever ever) mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar, or with products that contain either of them! Literally, you’ll kill yourself. (FUMES! TOXIC FUMES!) So please don’t do that. I’d be sad to lose your pageviews.

Is there a good way of getting red hair dye out of various bathroom surfaces? No matter how vigilant I am, I will always find a missed splotch somewhere the next day, by which point it has had oodles of time to stain and won’t come off. After a few rounds of this, I start to worry about looking axe-murdery and gross. Is there a trick or will I just have to start dying my hair on the roof/covered in newspapers?

Oh lady, have you ever come to the right Clean Person! I’ve been dyeing my hair red for 20 years. TEN YEARS, I MEAN TEN YEARS.

I know your question is specifically about the one spot that you manage to miss every single time but first let me say: I do a ton of prep before coloring my hair. I have Soft Scrub and a damp sponge on hand, I line the countertop with a layer of paper towels on which to set my coloring utensils, and as soon as the headful of dye is applied I eyeball every surface for splotches of red goo.

That said, there is always that one damn splat of dye that gets missed, giving it plenty of time to become one with your bathroom. If the stain is on the wall or another non-tile/porcelain surface use our beloved Magic Erasers to get it out. For porcelain, a couple of applications of Soft Scrub should take the stain out. (Splurt a blurb out directly onto the spot and let it sit for 10 or so minutes before wiping down.) For tile, spray with bleach solution or bleach-based cleaning product, get at the soiled area with a short-handled scrub brush, and then let the cleaning solution sit for 10–15 minutes before rinsing with warm water and your scrub brush.

Previously: Stinky Bedding, Tiny Vacuums, and More Vomity Things

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Is anything you own dirty?