We all want to live in a clean home, but the way we're currently going about it isn't working for our lives or our environment. The tools we use daily to keep our homes clean are some of the dirtiest in our homes. They are made of cheap, toxic plastic, and quickly become full of mold, scum, and bacteria. Replacing them is one more chore, and when we finally do, we're left with no choice but to throw them away—sending them to landfill, or worse, the ocean. Each year, America throws away enough shower liners to cover the entire city of Chicago in plastic— most of which take over 450 years to biodegrade in landfill.
David Verchick, our Lead Designer who has prior experience working at Fuse Project, Pensa, and Kilo, designed The Shower Liner System using the Design Thinking framework. All of our creative decisions were guided by needs and pain points expressed by real people and our team embarked on a full immersion customer discovery phase filled with in-depth customer interviews, ethnographic studies, and surveys.
With consumer insights and research guiding the process, David designed The Shower Liner System from the ground up. It's a more beautiful, aesthetically-pleasing curtain, easy to replace at eye-level, made from non-toxic, odorless material, and designed to be recycled with an entirely new model that we call Responsible Replenishment.
The Shower Liner System is made up of four parts that make up a system. The Keep (the top) is made from 100%, machine-washable pure cotton canvas, and The Replen (the bottom) is a recyclable, nontoxic, anti-microbial and mildew resistant PEVA liner. The Replen attaches to The Keep at eye-level using 12 strong magnets, making it easier to take down and hang back up. It also contains two secure corner pockets for The Anchors, which are dishwasher-safe and 3x heavier than standard weights. They are made from silicone-covered steel and designed to keep the curtain from billowing. Lastly, The Curl Hooks are a set of 12 hooks that are as functional as they are beautiful, made from premium stainless steel and designed to hang without the need to click or lock in place.
At Outlines, we're committed to helping people live in a healthy home, without the guilt of disposing of more plastic waste. So naturally, shower liners seemed like a great place to start. Not only are they the dirtiest surface in our bathroom - in fact they harbor more than 60x the bacteria of a toilet seat - but America throws away enough shower liners every year to cover the entire city of Chicago in plastic.
David Verchick, our Lead Designer who has prior experience working at Fuseproject, Pensa, and Kilo, designed The Shower Liner System using the design thinking framework. All of our creative decisions were guided by needs and pain points expressed by real people and our team embarked on a full immersion customer discovery phase filled with in-depth customer interviews, ethnographic studies, and surveys.
After our in-depth interviews, we observed real people as they navigated the entire shower liner experience, and four distinct pain points emerged: run-of-the-mill shower curtains were ugly, gross to touch, too high up to comfortably hook and hang regularly, and emit a toxic off-gassing smell.
Our research revealed that users were disgusted by their shower liners, felt they held onto them way past their prime because of the anxiety and guilt over contributing to plastic waste, and that a growing number of users valued recyclable, nontoxic materials and elevated design when making home product purchases.
The Outlines Shower Liner System is a completely reimagined shower liner. It is designed with long-lasting components to "keep" and recyclable components to "replenish". This allows us to optimize for durable, premium materials on forever parts, and recyclability on replacement parts.
It consists of four main components - The Keep, The Replen, The Anchors and The Curl Hooks:
The Keep is the "forever" part of the system, and attaches to The Replen using 12 strong magnets at eye level. Made from 100% cotton, The Keep is machine washable and fits all standard shower/tub sizes.
The Replen is the "replaceable" part of the system and is designed to work exclusively with The Keep. It is odorless, antimicrobial and mildew resistant, with corner pockets to securely hold The Anchors. It is made from certified non-toxic PEVA and Outlines guarantees the recycling of each Replen via its Responsible Replenishment model.
The Anchors are also a "forever" part. They are three times heavier than standard weights and made from silicone-covered steel. The Anchors stay firmly in place and prevent the curtain from billowing. They are dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
The Curl Hooks are designed to elevate the look of any bathroom. They are a set of 12 hooks made from stainless steel and are compatible with any liner or curtain. As functional as they are beautiful, they are simple to hang without the need to clip or lock them into place.
The Shower Liner System has an elevated aesthetic and is designed to quietly fit into any bathroom. The construction and hardware are all concealed, and we found small hidden moments for expression - such as the textured silicone anchors, and revealing the Outlines logo when you unsnap the liner.
Material choice was very important to us and we talked to several sustainability experts to make sure we chose the right materials for the liner. The Keep is 100% cotton with no coatings or mixed materials. The Replen is made from PEVA and we chose a vinyl over a typical waterproof fabric for two main reasons. First, synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon shed micro plastics during use. Compared to a vinyl, the thin fibers in a fabric shed much more easily. Second, waterproof fabrics all require a DWR (durable water resistant) coating. These contain PFCs - a forever chemical that ends up in our waterways.
Finally, we designed as much for the product's afterlife as its useful life. The Replen is designed to be easily recycled at the end of its life, without any mixed materials or permanent connections (such as metal grommets or weights). The Anchors can be taken out and reused, rather than being sealed into the liner. Rather than metal grommets, the plastic grommets can unsnap to be recycled separately.
At Outlines we want to make it easy and convenient for anyone to make a positive impact. We also believe the burden of waste shouldn't be on the shoulders of the consumer, but the companies actually creating the products. So we're taking responsibility for what we put out into the world. It's an entirely new way of doing things, though hopefully not for long.