Are Blackout Curtains Bad For You? The Truth

A good night’s sleep is priceless. From getting a firm mattress to investing in blackout curtains, every penny is worth it if it guarantees us a night of uninterrupted, sound sleep. 

In your search for creating the right environment to sleep soundly, you may have stumbled upon several questions related to blackout curtains. 

One of them might be whether blackout curtains are bad for you or not.

The short answer to if blackout curtains are bad for you:

  • No, they are not bad for you. You merely need to invest in high-quality blackout curtains. Lower quality blackout curtains do more harm than good. 

In this article, you will find answers to:

  • Are blackout curtains toxic?
  • Can you dye blackout curtains?
  • Do “curtains” block heat?
  • Are blackout curtains soundproof?
  • What color curtains keep heat out?
  • Should I get blackout curtains for the nursery?

Let’s find out if blackout curtains are worth the hype in terms of safety and efficacy.

Are blackout curtains toxic?

No, they are not. But you have to watch out for the quality of the curtains, focusing on processing and handling. Make sure to wash and treat any blackout curtains that you purchase to eliminate any leftover chemicals.

Before we explore the answer in-depth, you need to know the basics of how blackout curtains are made. 

How are blackout curtains made? 

All Blackout curtains have a fabric front and a dense weave lining, or multiple linings that give them their distinguished prices and properties. The quality and number of linings are the key factors that determine how much light gets blocked.  

The base fabric could be triple-weave or made of cotton, polyester, nylon, or a blend of these materials. The primary types of blackout linings that you should note are as follows:

  • A dim-out lining is created by coating the base fabric with a layer of acrylic foam (facing the window). This absorbs a huge amount of light but doesn’t provide a complete blackout. This is not the best option if you are hoping to have total darkness in the room. 
  • A two-pass blackout lining is achieved by spraying a black foam layer over the base fabric, then followed by a coating of white foam over the black one. This placement of layers helps achieve complete blackout. This is thicker than the dim-out lining curtains and better in terms of reducing drafts and noise. 
  • A three-pass blackout lining is made by first coating or attaching a layer of white foam over the base fabric, followed by a layer of black foam, followed by another layer of white foam. The three-layer lining is the most efficient out of three and checks all the boxes. The black foam helps absorb heat and light and to some extent, even noise. The white layers help keep the decorative element of the curtains intact, in addition to reflecting the light from windows. 

Wherein lies the problem?

Polyester is generally chosen as the base fabric for its durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of handling. Polyester fabrics, along with rubber or foam lining layers, are heavily treated with chemicals during processing, and this is where the trouble lies. 

Also, there are certain variants (usually found in hotels, hospitals) coated with flame retardants that also contain toxins and chemicals. 

Older manufacturing processes didn’t pay much attention to the after-effects of processing used to achieve this blackout effect. As a result of such chemical-heavy treatments, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released in minuscule amounts when the chemicals break down over a prolonged period of exposure to the sun. 

Final Answer

But, these compounds are not released into the air in large enough quantities to cause any discernible damage to your health. There are ways you can wash or treat these curtains before using them to get rid of the harmful chemicals. 

Unless you have an acute sensitivity to certain common chemicals, you have nothing to worry about. 

Can you dye blackout curtains?

Yes, you can dye blackout curtains. The first thing you will need to check is the fabric of the curtains. Certain fabrics are better to dye than others. 

  • Natural, more washable fabrics like cotton, silk, linen will be easy to dye using a good quality dye specially made for dyeing heavy, thick fabrics. 
  • Blends of synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, rayon with pure fabrics(cotton) will also take on dye, although not entirely. 
  • Other fabrics, like the three-pass blackout curtains, packed with foam or rubber, will not accept dyes properly. These are not the best fabrics to choose if you wish to dye your blackout curtains. 

In the end, it all comes down to the fabric from which the curtains are constructed. Natural fiber fabrics react well to dyes. So be prepared to invest in high-quality natural fabric blackout curtains to get the most out of your dye session.

Do “curtains” block heat?

Yes, blackout curtains do block a considerable amount of heat from passing through. 

Most blackout curtains feature foam or rubber layers, which in addition to blocking light, also give them effective insulation properties. On hot days, they help keep the outside heat from getting in, keeping your home nice and cool. Similarly, on cooler days, they block the heat inside from escaping and help maintain the warm environment indoors. 

To summarize, blackout curtains effectively block heat and will definitely help you conserve energy and save on energy-related expenses. 

Are blackout curtains soundproof?

Blackout curtains do an okay job of blocking sound. The same features that provide heat insulation also offer some protection from outside noise. But blackout curtains are not soundproof. They don’t block sound, as well as soundproof curtains that are specifically designed to absorb as much sound as they can.

If you are hoping for good results in capturing noise using blackout curtains, you will be disappointed. You should rather look into quality soundproof curtains or blinds to make your surroundings noiseless and calm.

What color curtains keep heat out?

As long as it is the right kind of fabric and packing, you should go for any color that suits your home best.  Contrary to popular belief, the color of the blackout curtains doesn’t make a huge difference when it comes to heating.

Blackout curtains have heating properties due to the presence of foam or rubber packings and the thickness of their base fabric. The thick base fabric along with the several attached linings helps create a light and heat barrier.  

It is natural to believe that dark colors must be more effective in blocking light in any setting, but it’s simply not true.

Can blackout curtains be washed?

Yes! Blackout curtains, just like other fabrics, collect dust, dirt, and lint over a period of time and require washing. But it isn’t as simple. Some shouldn’t be washed with water and some may be strictly dry clean. 

Hence, it’s important to read the wash care label and follow instructions as they vary according to brand. Due to the presence of foam and rubber packing in certain curtains, it’s best not to wash them in washing machines, even on the gentle cycle. These layers could easily be damaged and your curtains would no longer serve their purpose.

Should I get blackout curtains for the nursery?

Yes, you should go ahead and get blackout curtains for your nursery. Babies, like adults, also sleep better in darkness. Babies require more sleep and hence, spend more time in their beds due to their growth and developmental needs.

Therefore, it’s naturally a good idea to create a no-light, cool and cozy environment for them. Blackout curtains will help you achieve exactly that and more! They will keep the noise, light, and heat outside from interfering with your baby’s attention before and during sleep. Turning the room completely dark will curb frequent breaks in sleep, and furthermore save you from an irritated, sleep-deprived baby. 

When there’s a debate about the safety of any product, it’s only human to put forth the safety of your little ones. 

Babies require more sleep and hence, spend more time in their beds due to their growth and developmental needs. Blackout curtains will help you achieve exactly that and more! They will keep the noise, light, and heat outside from interfering with your baby’s attention before and during sleep. Turning the room completely dark will curb frequent breaks in sleep, and furthermore save you from an irritated, sleep-deprived baby. 


In conclusion, blackout curtains are no more toxic than various other household items we use in our daily lives, like certain cleaning products. The key is to invest in high-quality, natural fiber blackout curtains that are less chemically treated. If you want more pocket-friendly versions, fret not!

Follow their washing instructions and give them a thorough wash before hanging them in your desired room. Problem solved! You get to sleep in complete darkness – in a temperature moderated room with no light, less noise, less disturbance – and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

NOTE FROM the author

It's a pleasure to have you here! We've written helpful information on all things that make your home so very special.

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- Tiffany B.