Why Are Shower Curtains So Expensive? (Five Reasons)

There’s always a list of surprises for first-time homeowners.

Other than adjusting to living on your own, you’ll have to adjust to settling your bills and acquiring your first pieces of furniture.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for most first-timers is the high acquisition cost of such essentials as curtains and kitchenware.

Hereof, Why Are Shower Curtains So Expensive?

There are several reasons for it. Firstly, high quality is always accompanied by a high price tag. Most of the materials used to make these curtains aren’t picked merely for their performance but for quality. The second reason is the great effort and time spent making them, especially the custom type. Remember that the maker must make a profit from every piece that leaves the shop. All these three factors and a few more may add up to put an exorbitant price tag on your favorite piece of curtain.

Five Reasons Why Shower Curtains Are So Expensive

1. Quality of Material

The bathroom area is probably the dirtiest part of any home.

Think of the splattering foams, scum, hair, dampness, and steam from warm showers.

The sort of curtains you find in home improvement shops today are made from hardy and top-quality materials to keep delivering in such an unforgiving environment.

Costly Fabrication

Shower curtains made from cotton (extra-long-staple cotton) are almost a luxury.

They also happen to be the costliest even though pure cotton sucks at performance as it isn’t waterproof.

Microfiber, cotton blend, and polyester aren’t cheap either, especially if you’d prefer one with a liner or a bit of customization.

Oftentimes, polyester curtains don’t feature a liner because the material is softer than some of the other often-used alternatives like vinyl and nylon.

Microfiber curtains are cherished for their durability (far more durable than vinyl), so a high price tag is unquestionable.

2. Customization & Labor Time

Shower curtains, especially custom ones, take a long time to make.

An average no-liner window curtain takes about 30 minutes to complete partly because it is mass-produced.

Custom shower curtains, on another hand, take 2 – 3 weeks to complete.

Non-customized shower curtains are just as demanding but not to the level of customized ones.

Extra bucks for extra things

The reason why custom shower curtains are more expensive is the fact that they take more labor, materials, and time to create.

Such specifics as unique patterns and styles take a long time to plan and actualize.

3. Waterproofing/Stainproofing Technologies

Unlike window curtains, shower curtains are designed with moisture and dirt in mind.

They must stand up to foams, soap scum, and dirty water splashing from the shower.

Some of the materials used to make these curtains don’t naturally stand up to the dirt and moisture, meaning the maker has to enhance them with specific technologies to boost their effectiveness.

Watertight Tech

Cotton, one of the often-used materials in the production of shower curtains, is not waterproof.

While the whole purpose of a shower curtain is to provide privacy, it shouldn’t soak in water.

A lot of money goes into research to come up with waterproofing technologies some of which end up on shower curtains.

Whether you prefer shower curtains with liners or with waterproofing technology doesn’t matter, you have to pay more bucks for waterproofing.

One of the most often-used technologies is the 3M SCOTCHGARD™.

Stain-free Tech

Shower scum and foams are known for their stubborn stains.

Scum and foam-related stains are difficult to remove if they are allowed to stay for a long time. That’s why you’d think twice before you choose a white curtain.

Fortunately, some shower curtains are designed to resist these stains, meaning you don’t have to worry about color or cleaning.

Just like waterproofing technologies, stain-resistance technologies add on the price of the curtain, making it costlier than you’d wish.

Expect to part with even more money if you go for a product with additional properties such as anti-microbial coating and fire retardant.

4. Design, Hype, & Need for Profit

Of course, the maker has to make a profit from every piece they produce.

However, when it comes to the size of profit, you are at the mercy of the designer.

They can decide to sell their pieces at any price they please, even twice the production cost if they feel like it.

If the supplier realizes that their pieces are popular in the market for whichever reason, they won’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation and rip you a few more dollars.

The Influence of Design & Perception

The only cheap shower curtain is vinyl with a boring design.

Pretty every other material is costly for no good reason other than perhaps the hype and perceived glamour.

A good example is a cotton (by the way, cotton isn’t too hard to source as often thought). Surprisingly, cotton would make the worst shower curtains if it were not for the liners.

As if cotton’s vulnerability to moisture is a non-issue (even though vinyl resists water better) pure cotton shower curtains are some of the most overpriced curtains out there.

An eye-catching design on unnecessarily pricey material like cotton will cost you more money than a boring design on polyester or vinyl.

5. Minimum Wage

Another strange but not-so-bizarre reason why you are paying more for a shower curtain is that makers are starting to demand higher wages.

Such things as minimum wage, superannuation, holiday wages, and sick pay can increase the price of anything.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing if quality is guaranteed.

How Can You Find Cheap Shower Curtains?

The trick is to avoid overly specialized outlets. Shops that deal in nothing but curtains are known to overprice their products. Don’t be afraid to launch your hunt at Walmart or Etsy.

There are several other things you can do to spend less on a piece:

1. Don’t Be Afraid of White

The more colorful and design-intricate a curtain, the higher the odds you will part with more money for a piece.

Also, white is somewhat a hard sell for curtains because they get dirty too fast and, depending on the material, may stain easily.

Therefore, if you are shopping on a budget, prioritize white or lighter colors even though you must overlook some of their obvious flaws.

2. Plastic and Faux Linen Are More Affordable

Plastic is affordable because it’s easy and cheap to produce.

Go for vinyl or similar plastics instead of cotton.

However, consider the fact that plastics are environmentally unfriendly and less durable.

Still, vinyl curtains can be used without a liner because they are waterproof even though they are prone to staining.

Good care can keep them sparkling for a few more months before requiring replacement.

3. Avoid Custom Curtains

Custom curtains cost anything between $300 and $1000.

Often, the extra cost has something to do with the appearance of your taste rather than improved performance.

Personalization can wait if you are shopping on a budget.


So what makes shower curtains expensive?

The type and quality of the material is a major driving factors.

Custom curtains cost more for obvious reasons.

The fact that your curtain has to be both waterproof and stain-proof may compel the seller to charge you a little more for each piece.

If the design is eye-catching, it might mean extra dollars.

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Why Are Shower Curtains So Expensive?
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