How to Keep a Shower Curtain Up

Updated February 21, 2017

The purpose of a shower curtain is to keep water from escaping out of the shower and getting on the floor, counters and walls outside your tub. Most any curtain is held up with a rod, though these vary in design to include curved, L-shaped and straight models. Some homeowners use a tension-rod design, while others lock the rod in place with brackets at either end. Whichever you choose, maintaining proper placement of the shower curtain requires installing the curtain and rod properly. Keeping a shower curtain up is fairly simple with a little planning and the right tools.

Select a shower-curtain rod for your tub. Think about the overall design, size and budget of your bathroom project. Stainless steel is popular, but plastic-coated rods offer different colour options. Also, curved rods offer more room in the tub, but they can make the rest of the bathroom feel crowded. Consider the walls to which you will be attaching the rod as well. A bracket-mounted rod would be a more permanent option than a tension rod but also more time-consuming to install. Most shower-curtain rods are expandable and can be inserted snugly between two walls. Look for a model that is sturdy and, if you go with the tension rod, has gripping material on the tips.

Measure the height of your new curtain with a tape measure. You will use this to figure out how high to place the rod. Place your tape measure at the foot of your tub along the outside edge of the tub and stretch it up along the wall to the same height as your curtain's height. Mark a spot on the wall. Do the same at the head of your tub. If you are using an L-shaped rod, apply the same method to the two corner walls to which you will be affixing the rod. Now use a ruler to measure another 4 inches up from the marks on either end of your tub. This is where you will be installing the rod.

Hold up your curtain between the marks on the walls you've made. You need to double check that the rod would be high enough to keep this curtain, hanging down about an inch from its hooks or rings, off the ground both outside and inside the tub. Adjust the height of your marks as needed. Stepping on the curtain can inadvertently pull it down, and the bottoms of decorative, fabric shower curtains can mould if they are frequently coming in contact with stray water puddles.

Install your shower-curtain rod. If you are using rod brackets, screw them into the walls with the centre of the bracket over the mark on the wall you've made. Before you install the other bracket, use a level to make sure the rod will hang level. Bear in mind that you cannot bolt a shower curtain rod to a tile or ceramic surface. You will have to install this type of rod either in front of the actual shower or above so it can be attached to the wall itself. If you are using a tension rod, press either end to the marks on the walls you've made. Expand the rod as needed to ensure a snug fit between the walls.

Put your shower curtain hooks or rings on your shower curtain before hanging it. Make sure the hooks are sturdy and fastened securely. If you are using rings, take care not to accidentally clasp them before hanging the curtain. Some cheaper plastic rings are designed to clasp only once and may actually break if you try to unclasp them. Also, take care to have the correct side of the hook or ring pointing outward. Bear in mind, too, that hooks with too gentle an upward slope could actually let your shower slip loose and fall.

Hang or clasp shower curtain hooks or rings to the shower curtain rod. Your curtain should now be hanging from your shower curtain rod.


If you have pets or small children or heavy decorative shower curtains, you may want to opt for the bracket-mounted rod. These hang more securely and can help avert accidents. You may also want to opt for the rod brackets if you are having problems getting tension rods to stay in place.


Do not pull or tug on shower curtains or curtain rods. Shower curtain rods are not designed to support the weight of a person. If you need assistance getting in or out of the tub, install a handle or hand grip that is designed for that purpose. Avoid obstacles that shower curtains can become tangled in, such as dustbins or hampers that are positioned directly next to the tub. Your shower curtain should slide back and forth easily without snagging. Snagging on objects can lead to the curtain falling down or being torn.

Things You'll Need

  • Shower-curtain rod
  • Pencil
  • Rod brackets (optional)
  • Screwdriver (optional)
  • Screws (optional)
  • Level
  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.