This is a rather odd hack, but it might be useful to some of you who don’t mind function over form.
When I first moved into this apartment, the landlord had been kind enough (maybe ‘civil’ enough) to stock the bathroom shower with a nice, fabric exterior curtain and a waterproof, plastic interior curtain. Alright, that’s a bit misleading. The last owner of this apartment, who, I assume, bathed regularly, had this double-curtain setup and my landlord left it for me. As a shower is a generally cleanly place, I really didn’t mind the hand-me-down; it functioned quite well . . . with just a bit of a sanitary problem.
Mildew is a generic term for fungi that tend to grow on flat surfaces, in moist environments. Mildew isn’t particularly harmful and rather easy to get rid if it hasn’t burrowed too deep. In fact, spraying a flat surface with water will generally flush away any growing mildew if you spray early enough. For this reason, mildew doesn’t tend to develop on the tiles of a shower or in the tub. Rather it takes hold in the cracks of the tiling, which is easier to burrow into and more difficult to clean.
In my case, however, the mildew had grown on the shower curtain as it had not been used in weeks, if not months. Moreover, due to this curtain’s large width (as with most), it would scrunch together even when I stretched it to cover the shower’s entire entrance. The pockets that formed by this scrunching served as hot-spots of mildew, where they could be guaranteed a moist environment for much longer than the aerated cusps of the folds. Even if the shower were frequently used, these pockets would still produce mildew as they trap moisture while protecting the fungi from blasts of water.
What to do:
You first will need to clean the curtain. Take it down and wash it with bleach, baking-soda, oxyclean, or what have you. I didn’t like the curtains opacity, so I chose to go buy a cheap, transparent curtain. These are likely available at the dollar store.
Now for the weird part. You need to cut the curtain vertically, down the center so that there are an even number of holes on either side. We’ll be stretching the two halves across the curtain rings so the curtain’s surface will be relatively flat.
From one end of the shower rod, place one half of the curtain, skipping every other curtain ring. If you have a standard number of curtain rings (12), you will end one short of the final ring. Do the same for the other half, beginning on the other side of the curtain. Your goal is to hit as many of the rings that we missed with the first half as possible. This should result in two, largely-overlapping strips of straight curtain with none-to-little folds.
A word of caution: by doing this, you are potentially creating a large pocket for moisture and mildew to settle between the two curtains. Make sure to press the curtains together to create a tight seal, which should limit this potential problem.