10 Stylish Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Shower Curtains

Ah, shower curtains. Simple, affordable, vibrant… and highly toxic to our health and our planet. It’s no joke. Today I learned that in 2008, the Center for Health found that PVC shower curtains release hundreds of volatile, toxic chemicals into the air.

Even worse, according to Greenpeace, PVC is the single-most destructive plastic humans have ever manufactured. Why is no one talking about this? I’m shocked.

To combat this, I’ve come up with 10 lovely, green alternatives to shower curtains so that we can save the Earth in style. In no particular order:

10 Stylish Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Shower Curtains:

Quick Look

1. Choose a Classic, Glass Shower Door
2. Or, Shake Things Up With a Sliding Door
3. Use Frosted Glass for Extra Privacy
4. Bamboo Screens are Beautiful
5. Hemp is Great for Going Green
6. Linen or Cotton for Sophistication
7. Install Blinds for a Creative Touch
8. Use Walls to Your Advantage
9. Or, Build an Open Shower
10. Ditch the Screen Altogether

1. Choose a Classic, Glass Shower Door

glass shower door

A good ol’ glass shower door will look sophisticated and modern, no matter the design or size of your bathroom. Glass is 100% recyclable, so it beats plastic on merit alone. But if you need to be convinced, take a good look at it. Don’t you think that glass looks classier?

Not to mention that it’s easier to clean, and you won’t have to put up with wet plastic moving around, dripping all over the place, and sticking to everything every time you wash.

Now, you may be thinking that ‘shower doors are not that special,’ but I must disagree. Just because they’re classic, it doesn’t mean they can’t be creative. Look at this paned shower door:

It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s stunning.

If all else fails, you could also opt for a traditional glass screen. These are handier if you have a tub and are looking for glass alternatives to shower curtains.

2. Or, Shake Things Up With a Sliding Door

sliding door

I like the look of glass shower doors, but maybe the classic ones are a little bit too basic for you. If so, why not get a sliding door? They have all the benefits of glass— of course— with an added touch of sophistication and modernity.

There’s also the fact that sliding shower doors are easier to handle. Hinged doors are way less trouble than plastic shower curtains, but they can (sometimes) still drip or get in the way when you swing them open. Sliding doors will keep your bathroom a little bit cleaner and your floor a little bit dryer.

Again, the possibilities are endless. You could have a standard sliding door if you’re after traditional style, multi-sliding doors if you’d prefer a modern look and feel, pocket doors if you’re pressed for space, or even bypass doors if you have room and want to go big.

3. Use Frosted Glass for Extra Privacy

frosted glass

While we’re on the topic, this list wouldn’t be complete without frosted glass. I realize its aesthetic isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but it deserves a spot here for three reasons.

One, they’re opaque, so they add an extra sense of privacy and comfort. Two, they’re textured, decorative, and can be customized into any design you like. These musical notes are such a cool, unique idea. If you play around with colored tiles inside your shower, you can produce some pretty cool chromatic effects with frosted glass.

And three: frosted glass doesn’t streak or stain as easily as clear glass does. Look, you still have to clean your shower, but if you ever need to skip a day, no one will notice, making it one of the best shower curtain alternatives in terms of convenience.

4. Bamboo Screens are Beautiful

bamboo screens

Okay, let’s step away from glass for a bit and talk about natural materials. According to Econation, bamboo is one of the greenest materials we have at our disposal. It replenishes at lightning speeds, it’s carbon neutral — and produces more oxygen than trees — and processing it does little damage to the Earth.

If you’re not already sold, consider how lavish it looks. It reminds me of resorts, spas and weekends away. Sigh.

To be honest, wood will work here as well, if you’d like that ‘cabin’ feel in your bathroom. Just remember that neither bamboo nor wood is water-resistant, so if you choose this aesthetic, you’ll have to get them treated first.

Even so, considering how low-impact (and pretty) bamboo is, it’s a firm favorite and one of the best eco-friendly alternatives to shower curtains.

5. Hemp is Great for Going Green

green materials

Speaking of green materials, this one needs no introduction. You’ve almost certainly heard of hemp’s countless applications— from paper to textiles, to beauty and make-up, to agriculture— but did you know that hemp is considered the most sustainable plant in the world?

This is mainly due to it being a weed that doesn’t require immense maintenance to flourish. Oh, and also, most of the plant can be harvested and used, so it wastes less too.

Hemp curtains look good and are, perhaps, the best eco-conscious decision you could make. It absorbs water much slower than other plant materials do, but you’ll still want to treat it. Hemp shrinks in hot water, so you don’t want to take any risks!

To compensate, hemp naturally resists mildew and mold, so think of all the time you’ll save cleaning it.

6. Linen or Cotton for Sophistication

cotton for sophistication

Both cotton and linen have green reputations, though linen ranks slightly higher on the sustainable list (source). Either way, take your pick. Both will add calm, ambiance, and luxury to your bathroom.

I won’t lie; I absolutely love the look of this idea. But I have to mention one problem: Linen and cotton are the opposite of hemp and will require a liner (and frequent maintenance) to prevent mold, mildew, and other gross build-ups from taking form.

If you’re up for doing that extra bit of laundry occasionally, you won’t go wrong with this idea. Who’d have thought that one of the best alternatives to shower curtains would be a standard curtain!

7. Install Blinds for a Creative Touch


In a similar vein as the previous entry, have you ever considered using blinds as a shower curtain? I’ve always thought that wooden blinds are fancy, but don’t be fooled. You can get them at a steal, though having them installed may cost a bit extra.

Wooden blinds can last up to 15 years, so they’re an investment that will save you money over time. Other types last much longer, but keep in mind that they’re blended and often contain synthetic materials that may be harmful or detrimental to the environment, so you may not want to reach for those.

You should also know that blinds— depending on the type you get— will have to be treated to prevent rot and that they may require more maintenance. Honestly, I feel like the aesthetic is worth it. I mean, don’t you think this looks like a hotel room?

8. Use Walls to Your Advantage


You might not need a shower curtain at all. All you need is a strategically placed wall, and you’ll have a cool hidden shower that’s as private as it is convenient.

I noticed when checking these out that you may not even have to build anything depending on how your bathroom’s design. If you’re lucky, you can remove your shower curtain rack (or door, if you have one), and voila!

 As with some of the other entries on this list, you have endless choices in what your walled shower could look like. Choose from an array of tiles, wood finishings, or stone, in any color or aesthetic you like.

9. Or, Build an Open Shower

open shower

Instead of a walled shower, you could always have an open shower. These are showers with a screen— typically made of glass— that you don’t have to open to get into.

They may not have the same privacy as walled showers, but they sure do offer the same freedom. What I like best about these is that you can combine them with other great design ideas, for example, installing a frosted or paned screen.

This is an excellent and sophisticated way to get that modern, streamlined look in your bathroom.  And trust me, once you’ve experienced an open shower, you’ll never want to go back to closed ones.

10. Ditch the Screen Altogether

ditch the screen altogether

Finally, and keeping with the theme, if all else fails, simply don’t opt for a shower curtain, door, screen, or wall at all.

For one, your bathroom will seem way bigger than it actually is if there aren’t any barriers closing it up. For another, you’ll save money— on materials and installation. Then, think of all the time and energy you’ll save instead of spending it on chores like hanging, washing, or maintaining your shower curtains and doors.

Glass, hemp, bamboo, and cotton may be great alternatives to shower curtains, but they still affect the planet— albeit a small one— when they’re manufactured. So, most importantly, there won’t be any environmental impact at all if you choose one of these borderless showers.

Final Thoughts

Plastic shower curtains are quirky, colorful, and easy to install, but at what cost? I see now that the best alternatives to shower curtains are lavish and sophisticated— but without the weight of PVC’s damaging effects dragging them down.

What do you think of my recommendations, and which one was your favorite? I’m eager to read what you have to say, so do me and favor and drop me a line in the comments below.

Oh, and don’t forget to share this article, I’ll appreciate it!

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