The number one disadvantage of a shower curtain is that it floats away from the tub or walls and sticks to the person in the shower. Here are some reasons why this happens, and several tested solutions you can try before you give up and replace your flapping curtain with a shower door.
Why Does the Shower Curtain Stick to the Bather?
Physicists specializing in fluid dynamics have actually studied this problem. They thought it might be from the Bernoulli effect that keeps airplanes in the air. They also studied the interaction between the water pressure and temperature, but the curtain flapped just as much when the shower water was cold.
The most likely cause appears to be that the water flow from the shower head creates a low-pressure area, called a vortex, between the shower curtain and the wall, drawing the shower curtain toward the shower head and you, since you are under it. The stronger the water pressure, the farther the curtain moves toward the vortex.
How to Solve the Sticky Curtain Problem
Many solutions are available. If your shower's water pressure is moderate, try using a heavy curtain made of thicker vinyl. You can add weights, usually a long strand of plastic or glass beads, inside the hem of a plastic curtain. In steel tubs covered with porcelain, magnets can be slipped into the curtain's hem.
Attach suction cups to the outer side of the shower curtain, so it can cling to the tub or tiles better, has also been tried successfully. When exiting the shower release the suction cups carefully, so they do not rip the curtain. If your shower room has a window, try opening it to equalize the pressure between the outside and inside of the shower area. If your shower has strong water pressure, stop the water flow to the shower head while soaping up, and let it blast only to rinse off.
A new solution has been tried at a major hotel chain. Curved shower curtain rods have been installed, which, according to the customers, keep the shower curtain in place much better. It seems to work because the curtain has to travel a greater distance to reach the water flow. As well, the low-pressure zone is larger between the curtain and the wall, so the vortex does not concentrate under the shower head.
Whatever the reason, a curved shower rod works better than a straight one at stopping the shower curtain from enveloping the bather. Curved rods are available in 2 lengths, 5-feet and 6-feet, and can be installed in most tubs and shower stalls using standard brackets. No support is needed at the center of the curve. Ask at bath and tile centers or building supply retailers to find out if they carry curved shower rods.
If after all these efforts, your shower curtain still tries to mummify you every morning as you shower, opt for sliding or swinging shower doors. Made of fiberglass or plate glass, they resist mold. To clean them, wipe with terrycloth or a sponge.
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