15 Best Shower Curtain Alternatives to Replace Cheap Vinyl

Shower curtain alternatives

Tired of boring vinyl shower curtains? Or maybe you’re looking for something more sustainable? Regardless of why you’re looking for shower curtain alternatives, we’ve got seven options that will beat cheap vinyl every time.

Shower curtain alternatives include hemp, cotton, shower blinds, sliding doors, pivot doors, half screens, open showers, macrame shower curtains, bamboo panels, room dividers, frameless shower partitions, window framed showers, frosted glass showers, glass block shower partition, and a plant wall. Each alternative has its own benefits and drawbacks and the one you choose depends on your personal situation and preference.

Now, you could go out and start searching for these alternatives on your own. But, we’ve got them all broken down right here for you. All you have to do is keep scrolling and take a look at our list.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you choose to make a purchase using my link

15 Shower Curtain Alternatives

There are a couple of things you should probably know before we get started.

First, you should know what size of shower curtain that you need. Although we don’t have time to go into that here, we have another article that takes you through it step by step here.

Another thing you should consider is why you’re replacing your shower curtain. Do you want a more eco-friendly alternative? Are you remodeling your bathroom and want a more modern looking shower?

There are alternatives in this list that work with certain types of showers and there’s some that will really only work if you’re already remodeling your bathroom. Keep that in mind while you’re deciding which alternative is best for you.

1. Hemp

Bean Products Hemp Shower Curtain (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions on qualifying purchases

Hemp is becoming a more popular alternative to plastics and cotton because of its sustainability and eco-friendly nature.

A hemp shower curtain doesn’t require the use of a liner and effectively keeps the water in your shower without one. But, because of this, it needs to be washed more frequently than other shower curtains.

Hemp curtains are also machine washable as long as you wash them on cold. If you wash it on warm the curtain may shrink. But, the next time you shower, the shower curtain should stretch back out when it gets wet.

Hemp is naturally mold resistant but it can be prone to mildew.

There are two things you can do to prevent mildew. First, you can wash your shower curtain regularly, once every couple of weeks. Second, after you shower, open your shower curtain and pull the bottom outside your tub so that it can dry completely.

Hemp is a great vinyl shower curtain alternative if you’re looking for something chemical and plastic-free, but it does require more care than a regular shower curtain. For more eco-friendly options, check out our post about the best non-toxic shower curtain.

2. Cotton

mDesign Cotton Shower Curtain (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions on qualifying purchases

A cotton shower curtain is another good alternative. This type of shower curtain gives a natural appearance along with softness and strength.

Cotton curtains are machine washable in cold water but they need to be hung up to dry otherwise they will shrink. If you get a cotton-polyester blend, the shower curtain is less likely to shrink in the washing process.

It is recommended to use a plastic liner with this shower curtain since cotton by itself is not water repellent.

If you’re looking for a homey, natural-looking shower curtain with no plastics, then a cotton shower curtain is a good option. Just be careful when washing it to prevent shrinkage.

If you’re considering getting a hemp or cotton shower curtain to replace your old one, you may want to check out our article about how to recycle and/or reuse your old shower curtain.

3. Shower Blind

Jakooz Rollup Shower Blind (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions on qualifying purchases

A new modern concept for showers are shower blinds, also called shower screens. This is basically a shower curtain that rolls up similar to a window blind.

It rolls down to the desired length for your shower and then when it’s not being used, it can be returned to its housing and be completely out of the way.

This is a great alternative if your bathroom looks best without a shower curtain hanging such as with a stand-alone tub.

A shower blind is also useful if you use your tub a lot for baths, especially for baths for kids or pets.

Before you roll the curtain back up into its housing, you need to make sure it’s 100% dry or else mold and mildew could grow within the metal housing.

If you have hard water, you could easily stain this shower blind which may ruin the aesthetic, but, it’s still a great way to keep your shower curtain out of the way when you don’t need it.

4. Sliding Shower Door

vinyl shower curtain alternative

A sliding shower door slides, imagine that. This is a great option if you want to get rid of your shower curtain and rod completely.

A sliding door can be installed on both walk-in showers and traditional shower and tub combinations.

If you’ve never installed anything like this before, it would be a good idea to have a professional come and install this for you.

This is especially important if you’re getting one installed on top of a tub because the seal to the top of the tub must be waterproofed properly.

A sliding door can provide a modern appearance as well as the benefit of being low maintenance. However, if you have hard water, you will have to clean it more often because of scum build-up.

5. Pivot Shower Door

A pivot shower door swings open like a regular door (instead of sliding).

These types of shower doors are best if you have a walk-in shower and aren’t typically used for the traditional shower and tub combo.

They can be made of both plastic and glass, but glass is more common. They give a modern feel to your bathroom and can be textured for privacy.

Because this is more expensive, you probably won’t pursue this style unless you’re remodeling a bathroom or already have a pivot door installed.

The glass doors can build up with scum if you have hard water and so will need to be cleaned regularly to keep the modern appearance.

6. Half Screen

A half-screen kind of gives you the benefits of a sliding door without having to slide it.

It’s a permanent fixture that covers half of your shower.

It prevents the water from getting onto the floor and allows you to get in and out without having to slide a door back and forth.

This is a great alternative to both shower curtains and doors. It gives a sleek modern appearance but also gives a minimalist look.

As with the other glass door options, this panel will need to be cleaned regularly if you have hard water to keep it looking sharp.

7. Open Shower

Shower curtain alternatives

This is something that you probably don’t want to try and do unless you’re remodeling your entire bathroom.

Open showers, also called wet rooms, are showers that are designed to work without the need for any kind of shower curtain or door.

The shower is built on an angle to allow all the water to drain into a central drain in the bathroom. This makes it look very modern and minimalist.

Because there are no doors or curtains, you don’t have to worry about cleaning scum off of the glass or washing your curtains.

But, because of the way it’s designed, this kind of shower cannot be built with a tub attached. If you don’t want a tub or don’t use one, then look into this option.

While this is a great alternative if you want to get rid of shower curtains and doors entirely, it does require the right kind of shower design and will require major remodeling if you aren’t already set up for it.

8. Linen Shower Curtain

KOUFALL Linen Shower Curtain (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions on qualifying purchases

Just like hemp and cotton curtains, linen shower curtains are a great alternative to vinyl shower curtains.

Linen is made from flax and is a light breathable fabric. Because it’s breathable, it is ideal for a shower curtain since it will dry out quickly.

You can also throw them right in the washing machine which makes them even easier to take care of than some plastic shower curtains.

Lastly, like other natural fibers, linen is also very environmentally friendly.

Almost all of the flax plant is used to create linen so there is very little waste and the natural fiber is biodegradable, unlike synthetic materials like polyester and vinyl.

Linen fabric also has a unique texture that makes your bathroom look more rustic.

9. Macrame Shower Curtain

Yokii Macrame Shower Curtain (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions on qualifying purchases

If you’re looking for a way to tie in a boho theme to your bathroom, macrame shower curtains will do just that.

The craft of macrame is almost always done with thick cotton string, a great natural material for shower curtains.

The main concern with macrame curtains is that the areas where the knots are tied will take longer to dry than the rest of the curtain.

So, you’ll want to ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated so your curtain can dry properly.

10. Room Dividers

6 ft Room Divider (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions on qualifying purchases

Using a room divider instead of a shower curtain is a great way to separate the space in your bathroom without using vinyl curtains.

These dividers also make a shower curtain liner unnecessary. Dividers will work best if you have a standalone bathtub, it will not work as well for showers because it will not prevent water splashes.

Dividers can also be used if you have an open shower, but still want the option of having separation.

The dividers can be easily folded and stowed when not in use. The main drawback to using room dividers is they may be difficult to clean depending on the style of divider you choose.

11. Bamboo Panels

Similar to using room dividers, a bamboo panel can be used to block off the bath and shower area in a bathroom. They are a great option because bamboo is durable, light, and dries quickly which is why bamboo shower mats are becoming more common.

The panels are foldable so they can be easily stored when you’re not using them. But, they will also give a unique design feature to your bathroom even when not being used.

Bamboo is an eco-friendly, durable material which makes it even more desirable as a plastic shower curtain alternative.

12. Frameless Shower Partition

shower curtain alternative

A frameless shower partition is a shower that’s basically been put into a glass box with no frame so the glass shower door will be hard to see when it’s closed. These types of showers give a sleek modern look.

However, they require a large amount of work to install and they can be expensive so it might not be worth it unless you are planning to refinish your whole bathroom.

Because there is no frame, this glass shower partition is easier to clean since it’s just one big window.

13. Window Framed Shower

Speaking of windows, our next alternative is a window-framed shower. A window framed shower is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a shower partition that looks like large panel windows.

Depending on the style of window framing, this type of shower partition can give a more industrial feel to your bathroom.

If you’re an eco-minded individual, you may be able to find someone willing to use repurposed window panes to recycle old glass to a new purpose.

14. Frosted Glass Shower

If you want to have a full glass shower but don’t like the idea of having no privacy, then using frosted glass is the option for you.

Pairing frosted glass with a frameless shower will give the openness that the frameless shower gives but adds in more privacy.

The frosted glass will also diffuse the natural light passing through it which can help brighten the space if you have a darker bathroom.

15. Glass Blocks Shower Partition

shower curtain alternatives

A glass block shower partition is a partition that creates a half screen using warped glass blocks. It provides privacy because the glass blocks are warped in a wave pattern.

The wave pattern brings in a water theme as well as a slightly retro feel. Once again, it will depend on your personal preference to decide if this partition is right for you.

This type of shower curtain alternative might be difficult to add to an already existing shower, but if you’re planning to remodel your bathroom and are looking for inspiration, then this is a good place to start.

Do You Need a Shower Curtain?

Most showers will need to be used with a shower curtain, or at least a liner. The purpose of a shower curtain and liner is to prevent water from splashing onto the floor. This can be accomplished by only using a shower liner. However, using both a curtain and liner give additional benefits.

Can I Use a Cotton Shower Curtain Without a Liner?

Using a cotton shower curtain without a liner is not recommended. A cotton shower curtain can grow mildew if it remains wet for long periods of time. A liner helps to prevent this from happening. However, a hemp shower curtain can be used without a liner because it dries quickly after use.


Leslie has lived in tons of different places that were all in different states of repair. She has experience remodeling and replacing just about everything in a home including the roof. When she's not working on a project, Leslie blogs about home improvement tips to pass on her knowledge to others.

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