Can You Wash Blackout Curtains: A Comprehensive Guide

This is a comprehensive guide to can you wash blackout curtains. In this detailed post, we’ll cover the following queries:

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can you wash blackout curtains

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Blackout curtains are known to block sunlight from entering your room. They are becoming a popular and essential element of the bedroom as they not only block sunlight but save energy as well. They achieve this feat because of their unique design. In most cases, the rear side of the blackout curtain (the side facing towards the window) is of rubber or foam which blocks sunlight from entering into your room, and the front side (the side you see when you enter the room) is of woven fabric which comes with a variety of colors to match the decor of your home.

Where are they used?

Before we go into the details of can you wash blackout curtains, let’s take a look at where they are used most commonly.


If you didn’t have blackout curtains at home, then you might’ve seen them in a hotel. The hospitality industry uses them to block out light at odd hours so that the people staying there could enjoy a restful sleep regardless of the time of the day.


Blackout curtains were largely used in hospitals where the patient might be sensitive to light. 


The primary use of blackout curtains these days is in the bedroom. When we’re tucked in and deep in our sleep, we don’t want to be awakened by outside noise or sunlight as it can disturb our sleeping pattern and consequently, can cause health issues. As the great Ernest Hemingway once said

I love to sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?

Considering the importance of sleep, blackout curtains create the perfect night ambiance to fall asleep in the day, and this is why they are prevalent in American homes and many people who rent or own homes are making it an element of their room.

can you wash blackout curtains

Can you wash Blackout Curtains?

As we’ve mentioned in the first paragraph, the front side of the blackout curtain is made up of a woven fabric. This woven fabric can gather dust, pet hair, dander, and sometimes mold. Over time these things can accumulate in the windows and can make them look dingy. Furthermore, these dust particles can affect the air quality inside the room and can collect allergens throughout the home which would be harmful to your family members. Also, you’ll notice that dust and other debris will start appearing on your furniture and carpets when you open or close the curtains, and clearing them causes them to swirl in the room. So, the only solution to avoid these problems is to wash the blackout curtains.

This raises the question, can you wash blackout curtains? If your thinking simply putting it in the washing machine, pouring some washing powder in it and rinsing it, then the answer is no. These are special types of curtains and they need special treatment. However, there are some types of curtains that can be washed in the traditional way in the washing machines but with some extra care, and we will discuss them in this article. Also, you have to be careful with the type of curtain you’re washing, for example, thermal backed, garment fabric curtain, etc as each of them requires a specific way to wash them beside the regular way. 

Therefore, even if you think that your blackout curtains are clean, knowing how to clean each type of them could be beneficial for your curtains. Cleaning them regularly would assist in making your curtains look fresh, clean, and making the environment of your home healthy for your family members.

can you wash blackout curtains

How to wash different types of Blackout Curtains?

You need to be aware of the type of curtain you own because when it comes to washing, every type has its own rules and steps that need to be taken care of. Avoiding them can damage your curtains and you will lose your money for no reason.

So, to avoid any unnecessary damage to your curtains, let’s take a look at different types of curtains and how to wash them effectively.

Rubber backed curtains/Woven Triple Weave fabrics

Rubber backed blackout curtains are efficient insulations because they do not let excessive heat to enter your room during the hot days and cold drafts from inefficient windows. One of the main benefits of them is that they create a perfect night ambiance which can help sleep during the day or can block the annoying streetlights depriving you of sleep. However, just like any window covering, they can gather dust and dirt particles over time which makes the room look untidy and can be harmful to your family members. Therefore, knowing how to clean them is worthwhile, and in fact, washing rubber-backed blackout curtains at home is easy and convenient. 

Following are the steps which you need to follow when washing rubber-backed curtains:

1. Inspecting

As a word of precaution before proceeding to wash your curtains at home, make sure to read the tag on it, and if it says “dry clean only” then it is recommended not to wash them at home because it would damage them, consequently.

Depending on the condition of your rubber, you can either wash them in the washing machine or by hand. In the first condition, if the rubber is crumbled, brittle or starting to come loose, then it is best to wash it by hand. This is because if you would put a weak rubber in the washing machine, then it might further break it down or the rubber might clog your washing machine’s pipe and hose.

In the second condition, if the rubber is new, in good shape and hardy, then you can easily wash it in the washing machine.

2. Machine Washing

If you’re washing your rubber-backed curtains in the washing machine, then it advised to watch out for the following points:

  1. Use cold water for both washing and rinsing
  2. Wash them on a gentle cycle
  3. Add mild detergent and avoid using laundry boosters or bleachers
  4. Use a front-loading washing machine as the agitator in other types weakens the rubber
  5. Wash your curtains exclusively in the washing machine i.e without other items in it

3. Hand Washing

If you’ve decided to wash them by hands, then refer to the following agenda:

  1. Hang them outside and wash them with a garden hose or other high-pressure water pipe
  2. Sponge them down with a soapy sponge and then clean them. Or
  3. Clean them smoothly in the bathtub or laundry tub with a mild detergent.

4. Drying

The best practice to blot them immediately after washing them is to hang them outside or on a line in the basement. However, it is strictly advised not to dry them in the dryer of your washing machine as the heat of the dryer can damage or even melt the rubber.

can you wash blackout curtains

Garment Fabric Curtains

If the curtain is made up with a garment fabric, then follow the steps below for cleaning them:

  1. Remove all of the hangings
  2. If possible, shake them outdoor to remove dust particles
  3. Wash them on the delicate cycle in cold water in the washing machine
  4. Use the dryer on a low-heating setting
  5. Quickly remove them from the dryer to avoid wrinkling

Sheer Fabric or Lace Curtains

This type of curtain has the fabric which is lightweight and delicate which makes them prone to wrinkling and snagging when wet. Therefore, it is best practice to wash them with hands in a sink full of cold water and 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent.

Some tips to consider while cleaning them with hands:

  1. Shake them outside to get rid of animal pet hair, dust or dirt
  2. Wash them in soapy water for about 10 minutes
  3. Drain the sink, and fill it again with cold water and rinse the curtain again

To retain the crisp feel, add 1 cup of Epsom salt in a sink full of water. Submerge the freshly-washed curtains in it. Do not rinse it, just let it stay in salty water for about 10 minutes. Drain the sink, dry the curtains and you’ll have your crisp back.

Acrylic Bead or Shell Curtains

The acrylic beads or shell curtains tend to tangle when they are taken down. So, to wash them, you have to do it in their place. Following are the steps you can take to clean them:

  1. Place towels on the floor beneath the curtains
  2. Fill a spray bottle with 2-3 cups of hot water and add 2-3 drops of liquid detergent and mix them thoroughly. Spray the mixture gently from top to bottom
  3. Use a damp white cotton cloth to clean and rub heavily soiled areas
  4. Let it dry for some time

Velvet Curtains

Velvet curtains lit the room up with their fashionable design and color. To preserve the styling and quality of your precious velvet curtains, you need to take care of them regularly. There are velvet curtains that can be machine washed while others require dry cleaning. It might be worthwhile to check the manufacturer’s washing recommendation before proceeding to clean it.

For extra precaution you can follow these instructions:

  1. Generally, a lined velvet curtain should be dry cleaned only
  2. An unlined velvet curtain needs to be tested for colorfastness. Swipe the hidden area with a damp white cotton cloth. If the color sticks to the cloth, you should dry clean it. Otherwise, you can machine wash it in cold water and about half of the usual amount of detergent.
  3. Lay it down flat to dry it

Dry-Clean Only Curtains

If you read the tag of some blackout curtains, it would suggest you to only dry-clean them because it is designed in this manner. If they’re expensive and new, or you’re worried about ruining them, then it is best to take it a trusted dry cleaner.

However, if you’re curtains are old, and you’re not concerned about ruining them, then you can take the risk to see if washing them can refresh them. 

If you’re looking to wash dry-clean only curtains, then consider the following:

  1. Put one panel at a time in the washing time
  2. Use the gentle cycle and cold water
  3. To avoid wrinkling, remove them immediately after washing and let them dry
  4. Do not use a dryer to dry them as it would shrink the liner
can you wash blackout curtains

How to clean blackout fabric?

Blackout fabrics are used to make blackout curtains from preventing any light and heat from infiltrating your room. Curtains backed with blackout fabric are perfect for creating the ambiance of a cinema at home. However, just like any other window covering, blackout fabric can collect dust and dirt. To keep your family healthy and at a bay from allergens it is best to wash your curtains after regular intervals. Please be noted that this type of material is not suited for machine washing. Therefore, clean this type of curtain manually for optimum results

Follow the steps below for the best outcome:


You can easily remove the dust or dirt particles from your curtains by dusting. Follow the following steps for dusting:

Step 1

While your fabric is hanging from the rod or hooks, use a feather duster to remove dust or dirt particles.

Step 2

Stretch the fabric on the rod

Step 3

Sweep the duster back and forth gently with smooth strokes. The best-streamlined approach is to move the brush from to top smoothly.

Step 4

Lay the fabric on the table or clean floor and use a cheesecloth to remove the dust particles from it.

Step 5

A vacuum cleaner can be used for deep cleaning. Use soft bristle attachment for smooth and deep cleaning.


Another technique which you can use to wash your curtain is blotting.

Follow the following guidelines for this manual technique:

Step 1

Take a small bowl of warm water and add a few drops of liquid dish detergent in it.

Step 2

Dip your cloth in the bowl and wring out the water from it.

Step 3

Blot up any stains by gently rubbing the cloth on the stain.

Regular Maintenance Cleaning

There are different types of curtains that need different type of cleaning methods to prevent them from damage. However, if you’re not sure about the type of your curtain, then it is better to stick to the maintenance cleaning so that you can prevent damaging your curtains.

Spot Cleaning with Detergent

Follow the guidelines below for spot cleaning:

  1. Take the curtains down from hook or rod
  2. Put a drop of laundry soap on the spot
  3. Dampen a clean cloth with warm water, wring out as much water as you can and then smoothly rub the cloth on the spot
  4. Rinse the curtain with a clean cloth, although it is best advised not to completely submerge the curtain underwater.

If you decide to go with the above technique, then it is wise to test a small, inconspicuous spot before proceeding. Some laundry detergent might damage or change the color of your curtain upon rubbing it. For example, if you’re using a dark color laundry soap, then it is best to switch to a colorless soap to avoid discoloration of the fabric. Therefore, it is best to check the manufacturer’s manual before cleaning it.

Deep Cleaning with Soap and Water

Most of the blackout curtains’ manufacturers recommend not to submerge them into the water. However, more and more manufacturers are bringing new designs of blackout curtains that are submersible in water. This way they can be deep cleaned with soapy water.

Deep clean with soapy water should follow the below instructions:

  1. Fill your bathtub with warm, soapy water. Detergent can also be used
  2. It is best to read the specification on the detergent bottle and use the appropriate amount of it for small laundry
  3. Make sure that the soap or detergent is completely dissolved in the warm water
  4. Submerge the curtains in the warm soapy water
  5. Agitate the water with your hands just a washing machine would do
  6. Rub the spots gently with your fingers or dampened cloth
  7. Squeeze the fabric and drain the tub
  8. Rinse the curtains using clean water

Steam Cleaning

One of the most convenient methods of curtain cleaning is to use a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment. This is the best method for heavyweight or curtains that can’t be taken down easily. Follow the below steps to make the process streamlined:

  1. The best direction to steam is from top to bottom
  2. Hold the cleaner at a distance from the curtain so that it might not get wet
  3. Take the precautionary measures when using the steam cleaner. Read the instruction manual before using it as it can cause burns

The Drying Technique

Regardless of the type of washing method you use, to dry them out, wring them out gently to remove the extra water. Remind yourself that you can break the back of the curtain if you’re too rough.

Another method for drying is to hang them on the rod or hook, and if you’re worried about dripping water, then you can use towels to absorb them. 

Furthermore, you can also use a hair-dryer for drying your curtains. But make sure you keep an eye on the motor of the dryer as it may burn out if used for too long.

Tips for Regular Maintenance

To keep your curtains fresh and clean between washing times, you can follow the following maintenance routines:

  1. Weekly: Before cleaning your room, you can shake the curtains to dislodge any dust on it. Give 10 minutes for the dust to settle on furniture or floor. After that, you can start cleaning the room
  2. Monthly: Once a month you can vacuum the curtains with the dust attachment. Try to focus on the top of the curtains as where most dust is accumulated. Do not use upholstery attachment as it can damage the fabric
  3. Monthly alternative: If the vacuum is not an option then you can use a hair-dryer to remove dust from them. The best practice is to take the curtains off and dry them gently so that there are no wrinkles.

How can I make cleaning curtains easier?

Cleaning curtains can be a daunting task, especially if you’re hand washing them as they can take a lot of time and consumer your energy because of their weight. However, you can avoid washing them regularly by following a simple-to-do list now and then.

  1. Your curtains can gather the smoke from your cooking and can make the look dirty. Try to close the door of your kitchen while cooking so that the smoke will not enter other parts of the home.
  2. Vacuum your curtains regularly basis to remove dust and dirt particles and prevent the strain from forming ground in the material.
  3. If the smell of your blackout curtains is a consistent problem, then it might be best to expose them to fresh air. Take them off the rod or hooks and expose them to the breeze for an hour or so to refresh them.


So, you’ve decided to buy the blackout curtains for your home. They must last for a long time, and that can’t happen if you do not maintain them properly. It is essential to know the type of curtain before proceeding to wash them because each type requires a different cleaning method. Also, It is better to read the instructions on the curtain and follow our tips before following any of the cleaning methods.

4 thoughts on “Can You Wash Blackout Curtains: A Comprehensive Guide”

    The backing is just sprayed on paint and comes off.
    Makes a TERRIBLE mess in your washer.
    I had to wash it, vacuum it, and run it through a cycle.
    Still don’t know if it has harmed my brand new washer!

  2. In the past, I have made the same mistake as Shirley, so this time, I took my “dry clean only” blackout curtains to the dry cleaners, and they wrecked them anyway!! 😣😣😣

  3. I tried to wash blackout curtains on a cold wash and the backing came away in places. I took a second pair tyo the dry cleaners and they refusedd to clean them. They said they had received too many complaints from customers about theblackut backing coming off.

  4. I have washed mine and the black dye has stained all the white side which is now all blotchy and grey is there anyway I can celan these stains off the white rubber side?


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