Can You Wash Blackout Curtains: A User’s Guide

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Blackout curtains are one of the best inventions known to man because they block out all light when used correctly. In most cases, they have foam or rubber on the back (the part that is close to the window), which does not allow any sunlight to get into the house.

The section on the inside (what you see each time you go into the room) can be almost any color, which lets you mix and match to get the right look for your property’s décor.

Where Are They Used?

Primarily, blackout curtains were used in the hospitality industry. They were used in hotel rooms to block out light so that people staying there at odd hours could enjoy a restful sleep regardless of the time of the day.

They were also used extensively in hospital rooms where patients might be sensitive to light. However, they are now prevalent in the American home. Many people who rent or own a house use them.

They are usually found in the bedroom because that is the place where we tend to need them most. When you’re sleeping soundly, you don’t want to be awakened by noise only to find that it’s too bright outside to drift back to sleep. Sunlight is known to wake up the brain; seeing it is likely to wake you up, even if you’re deeply asleep and hear nothing.

Can You Wash Blackout Curtains?

You can find a variety of blackout curtain styles, and they are all designed to keep out natural light. That being said, they all do the same thing and have the same basic features. The types you’ll find are:

  • Thermal insulated
  • 3D blackout
  • Pencil pleat
  • Ring top

Regardless of the type you choose to fit your window needs, you’ll find that they have similar backing material, but can you wash blackout curtains?

The answer is usually “no” in the traditional sense. When most people think about washing something, they think of adding detergent to the washing machine, throwing the items inside, and setting it to the appropriate temperature or type. However, these curtains are special and will require different cleaning methods.

	 Can You Wash Blackout Curtains

The Options

As noted, you can’t wash blackout curtains in the washing machine and dry them in the dryer, but you can clean them. The good thing is that there are multiple ways to clean these curtains.

Spot Cleaning with Detergent

You can spot clean the curtain with regular laundry detergent, but you’re going to need much less than a full load would take and the steps are slightly different.

You should still take the curtains down from the rod or hooks. Then, put a drop of laundry soap on the spot.

Dampen a clean cloth with warm water, wring out as much water as possible, and gently rub on the spot. Then, you should rinse the curtain with clean water. It is best not to submerge the curtain in water, though.

If you decide to consider this option, you should test a small, inconspicuous spot first. Some laundry soaps may not be gentle enough for the curtains.

Fortunately, some curtain manufacturers will tell you what type of detergent to use. If so, make sure to use that type or brand.

A helpful tip: If your laundry soap is a dark color, you may want to switch to colorless laundry soap to avoid discoloration of your fabric.

Deep Cleaning with Soap and Water

While most curtain manufacturers claim that the curtain should not be submerged in water, more and more manufacturers are changing the way the curtains are made so that they can. If your blackout curtains can be submerged in water, you can deep clean them with soapy water.

Fill your bathtub with warm, soapy water. You can use detergent. It is best to read the directions on the detergent bottle and use the appropriate amount of detergent for the smallest load of laundry.

Make sure the soap is dissolved fully in the water before adding the curtains. Submerge the curtain in the soapy water. You can “agitate” the water with your hands, similar to a washing machine, though gentler.

If you notice stains or spots, you can gently rub them with the soapy water, either with your fingers or with a dampened cloth. Gently squeeze the fabric and then drain the tub. You can then rinse the curtains using clean water.

The Drying Technique

No matter what washing method you choose, to dry the curtains, wring them out gently to remove any extra water. Remember that the backing can crack if you are too rough.

If possible, you can hang the curtain on the hooks or rod to completely dry. If you’re worried about dripping water, consider putting down towels to catch the water. Otherwise, you’re likely to find that the curtains take forever to dry.

You can also blow-dry them with a hairdryer, though pay close attention to the heat setting and ensure that the motor doesn’t overheat.


You’ve made a big decision to buy blackout curtains for your home. It is imperative that they last many years to come, and that can’t happen if you wash them incorrectly and damage the backing (the part that you see from the window). It is best to read the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and follow our helpful tips.

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