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Glass, doors and showers. Three things which have stood the test of time.

Whether they’re used together or individually, these things have and continue to prove highly useful. This begs the question: why are we still using shower curtains? Let me explain…

Shower curtains are regularly used as part of home adaptations for older and / or disabled people to promote independence in their home. The realities of this have much to answer for…

Physical impairment often prevents individuals from pulling their own curtains, causing them to rely on assistance from others. This reduces the “independence” provided by these adaptations. They aren’t hugely hygienic either. Shower curtains have been found to have more germs than anything else in a bathroom (yes, more than your toilet seat). This opens the not-so-glazed door to health concerns which are especially risky for people with compromised immune systems, affecting a large proportion of those receiving shower curtains.

 

Cleaning these curtains is also strenuous.

The wash-monthly requirement is often impractical for older people and / or those with disabilities. So, the worst-case-scenario of a germ-harbouring shower curtain is more likely to be a reality for these people. Glazed doors, however, are easy to clean and often come with a handy squeegee to do so. It’s unsurprising then, when a Foundations survey asked 206 people aged over 65 what their preference was, 76% preferred a glazed screen and a mere 23% preferred a shower curtain.
And if that’s not enough, shower curtains have immense sustainability concerns.

Typically, shower curtains should be replaced every six months. A glazed-door alternative would be significantly more durable – lasting 30 years or more. This makes shower curtains financially unsustainable in the long run. To make things worse, PVC curtains consist of the most environmentally damaging plastic. With fumes which are deadly for the manufacturers and toxins linked to bad health effects, for the consumers, these curtains are socially unsustainable. Many major retailers have discontinued selling PVC curtains, instead stocking non-PVC alternatives. But these polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) alternatives are still made from plastic, have no recyclability and notoriously grow mildew.

Admittedly, you hear the occasional shower screen horror story of tempered glass “exploding” in the middle of the night. This rare occurrence has a valid explanation: poor edge quality, frame-related breakage, nickel-sulphide inclusions or thermal stress. Today, shower door adaptations include laminated glass to optimally minimise the chances of spontaneous breakage even further.

 

Of course, there have been other anxieties surrounding glazed doors.

Claustrophobia and personal preference to name two. But these fears are significantly worse with shower curtains; as a Foundations webinar found that only 3% of its listeners both had and loved their shower curtains. Where glass doors allow light to pass throughout the bathroom, shower curtains obstruct the user and the bathroom’s appearance, making it appear smaller and darker. Clearly claustrophobic concerns are better placed elsewhere.

Essentially, there’s just no room in a modern-day bathroom for shower curtains. It is time to dash your curtain in the trash and open the (glazed) door to the future of sustainable, practical and aesthetic bathroom standards.