A picture of a person stuck in a laundry machine because they don't know how to wash blackout curtains

How To Wash Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are amazing and are fantastic for sleep. However, like every product, you will eventually need to wash it! But how? How do you wash blackout curtains without ruining the blackout layer and effectively making them regular black curtains. 

This post will be broken up into hand washing and machine washing. If you choose to machine wash your blackout curtains, always check the tags to see what cycle and the temperature of the water to use.

Hand Washing/Cleaning

When it comes to hand washing the fabric of the curtain, it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to remove any dust/debris from the fabric you may not even need water whatsoever!

Pet Hair

If your furry friend makes it a habit to constantly play with your blackout curtains or run their bodies on it to get their “feel good” hormones on it then you probably know what I am talking about! If not well, it basically looks like the bottom half of your curtains have this new “elegant” pattern! 

A picture of a cat near some blackout curtains

Don’t worry this is an easy fix! Just like how you would use a lint roller to remove pet hair from your clothes the same can be done with curtains. It may take longer but you won’t have to worry about your curtains being damaged!

Light Dirt/Dust

If the curtain has been sitting there for a week or so and is now starting to lose its clean look then a quick vacuum is a simple solution! When vacuuming, it’s preferable to use a hand held one one a low suction power with a brush attachment. 

The last thing you want is to have your curtain torn because you choose an attachment that concentrated the suction power too much and/or used suction power that was really high! This could also lead to your curtain being even dirtier than before especially if the attachment you used was already dirty!

Spot Cleaning

Let’s say you took your blackout curtain down and for the most part everything was clean except for one or two bad spots. This wouldn’t make sense to run an entire washer load considering the amount of water used, the electricity used and the fact that you can’t put anything else in the load with it! Thus, the best option is a spot clean with laundry soap/detergent.

When spot cleaning there are two factors you must consider. The strength of the detergent and whether the detergent has any harmful additives. 

In terms of detergent strength you would definitely want to avoid harsh chemicals and especially bleach. If you want to create a cool tie dye bleach curtain pattern then be my guest but for the rest of us that want our curtains to stay completely dark then I would be sure to avoid these additives. 

The black and orange pattern that is created from adding bleach to a load of black laundry clothes

Secondly, similar to this bleach style pattern, you want to avoid detergents that have any added dyes. This would create a similar situation to the bleach issue except it would probably be less apparent. I don’t know if this would be better or worse. It would be the kind of thing that you see and think “okay I know something is off but I don’t know what” or you wouldn’t notice it at all. Either way it isn’t worth the risk! 

Steam Cleaning

If you are wondering, yes, you can steam clean a blackout curtain. Ensure that the water you use is warm and when actually cleaning the curtain try to avoid getting it wet as that could damage the material if it ends up getting soaked by warm water!

A picture of a person steam cleaning blackout curtains

However, if you are careful then this is a totally safe option and can make your curtains look brand new!

Complete Handwashing 

For most blackout curtains, unless in their instructions it says that you can machine wash them, this is probably your safest option. It allows you to fully control how the curtain is cleaned. This overhead watching allows you to be aware if something feels wrong and quickly pivot! 

If you are going to hand wash them keep in mind that again the detergent doesn’t have any harmful chemicals that could damage the lining. Also, despite it being normal to throw in some fabric softener, DO NOT throw it in. Fabric softener will only damage the lining of the blackout curtains making them less effective. 

A picture of a no red through line on bleach and coloured dyes

The best way to wash them is to fill a clean bathtub with warm water. Put some detergent like any other load of laundry in! Proceed to lightly scrub the fabric with your hands. Do not scrub too hard otherwise you will just be removing the liner. After washing the curtain, drain the water in the bathtub and wring out the curtain so it doesn’t stay soaked. 

Machine Washing

For most blackout curtains they must be hand washed as the machine cycles can damage the blackout layers making them, well, curtains! However, for the Sleepout Blackout Curtain can be machine washed on a delicate cycle with cold water and mild detergent.

A picture of a person turning the knob on a machine machine to set it to a particular function

Manual Drying

For most blackout curtains this is the safest option as you can monitor it and your curtains won’t get damaged from the tumbling motion of the drier. The best way to ensure that your blackout curtains dry correctly is to first wring out any extra water. Then once you hang up the curtains you can put a towel or a bucket underneath them to collect any additional water that drops from them. 

Another additional tip to help them last longer is when you dry them, spread them out (like how you would dry towels or other clothing) to prevent the development of wrinkles.

Machine Drying

Similar to washing your blackout curtains, tumble drying your curtains could potentially damage them. However, again the good news is that the Sleepout Blackout Curtain actually can be machine dried on a delicate cycle! Thus, you can both wash and dry your curtains like any other load of laundry

In Summary

  • You can use a lint roller/vaccum cleaner for mild dirt and debris 
  • You can spot clean your blackout curtains using mild detergent that doesn’t have any dyes in it.
  • Unless the curtains say they are machine washable, hand wash them in a bathtub using mild detergent and do not use fabric softener. 
  • For drying, unless they specifically say that you can machine dry them, wring them out, hang them up and place a towel/bucket underneath to collect the water drips. 


The Best Blackout Curtains to Keep Clean?

Check out the Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtain to install and wash without using any tools!


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