Keep Out the Light: A Quick Overview of Blackout Shades

November 25, 2019 3 min read

Keep Out the Light: A Quick Overview of Blackout Shades

What do small children who nap during the day, night-shift workers, big-city dwellers, and those who suffer from migraines all have in common? Blackout shades or curtains may very well be their best friend! 

What Are Blackout Curtains?

Blackout curtains and blackout shades are window coverings that block light from coming in through a window. They are popular for baby nurseries, bedrooms, hotel rooms, media rooms, or any room where the occupant may want almost total darkness. 


Although we use them today to block light from the outside, they were originally used for the opposite purpose. Blackout curtains first came into use in Britain during World War II in order to hide interior lights from enemy planes. It was thought that if a pilot saw light coming from a building, they were more likely to bomb it during nighttime air raids. 


After the war ended, blackout curtains and shades evolved to become the sleek, stylish, and highly effective window treatments you see in homes today. 

black out blinds

Best Way to Black Out Windows 

If you’d like to block some or all of the light coming in through the windows, your main choices are curtains or shades that are blackout, room darkening, or light filtering. 


As the name suggests, blackout curtains and shades aim to block 100 percent of the light coming in. Of course, this can only be achieved when hung correctly so that light doesn’t seep through the cracks around the curtain rod or edges of the shades. 


If you don’t want to turn a room into a cave, but still want to make it significantly darker, room darkening curtains or shades are the answer. They let in a little more light than their blackout counterpart. Light filtering curtains or shades offer privacy but let in more light than the other two options. 

Benefits of Blackout Shades and Curtains

We no longer need to protect our homes from bombing, but people still choose blackout treatments for many reasons. 

They Block Light

Everyone has a natural, internal system that regulates your feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. This body clock, or circadian rhythm, is controlled by a part of your brain that responds to light. It’s also why we are alert during the day while the sun is shining, and want to sleep when it’s dark outside.


Blackout curtains can help those who sleep during the day (babies and those who work the night shift) as well as those who experience a lot of light pollution at night (city dwellers, or people on busy streets). People who live in northern areas where the sun may be out for twenty or more hours a day can also benefit from blocking out light. 

They Save Energy

Because heat escapes through the windows of your house or apartment, blackout curtains and shades can save energy by acting as a thermal barrier for your home. They help trap heat inside during cold months and block out heat from the sun during the summer. This is good news for your utility bill.

They Protect Your Possessions

We’ve all seen how things fade and warp in the sun. The items inside your house are no different. The sun can wreak havoc on your furniture, flooring, decorations, and art. By blocking out UV rays, blackout shades and curtains can substantially reduce costs and the wear and tear on possessions inside your home. 

How to Clean Blackout Curtains and Shades

Once you get your blackout shades or curtains, at some point you’ll need to do some cleaning to keep them looking their best. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, because some blackout fabrics should not be immersed in water. However, you’re usually safe to spot clean with a small bit of soap and then rinse with water. 


Blackout shades should not be immersed in water, but they can be spot cleaned with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild soap. Just be careful not to rub too hard while cleaning. Then allow them to air dry.

Automatic Blackout Shades

You can enjoy all the benefits of blackout shades, plus take it to a whole new level of convenience with automatic blackout shades. Automatic scheduling, home system integration, and temperature sensors that can maximize energy savings make automatic shades simple and smart. 


Already have blackout shades you love? No problem! You can convert existing shades quickly and easily withtilt’s shade automation kit. Then enjoy double the benefits with your new smart shades.