These Light Blocking Curtains Are Surprisingly Easy To Locate In The Daytime

Dustin bought a set of Eclipse light blocking curtains at Kmart, but woke up the next day to a well-lit room and some gently glowing windows. The picture Dustin took of the curtains looks an awful lot like the “normal” ones in the official product shot.

I recently needed to buy some new curtains for my bedroom. My old “curtains” were some pieces of thick black cloth that I had sewn a pocket on one side to go on a curtain rod. They were great at blocking out the light during the day if I wanted to sleep, but the thing is that they were black, and I wanted something a little nicer looking.

I had seen these blackout curtains in Walmart and Kmart a few times, and decided to check them out. The Kmart in our area usually has some good sales, so I headed there to see what they had. I ended up buying some Eclipse “Kent” curtains there for I think $12 per panel.

These things claim to block out over 99% of light, and somehow reduce noise by up to 40%. They also have some other unrealistic claims about saving on energy and heating and such, but that wasn’t really my concern. Now I knew that the 99% light blockage sounded a little optimistic, but I would have been satisfied if it would just cut out most of the light.

So I put them up that evening and went to bed thinking I would wake up to a nice dark room.

Didn’t happen. The attached photo shows how much light these things really “block.” Remember too, that photo is exposed for the window, so the room kinda goes dark, which makes it look a little bit darker than it actually is in the room.



The thing that really bugs me about this is the fact that they look like a decent product at first, have pretty big displays in the stores, and make some pretty bold claims that are complete B.S. Here’s a link to their website so you can see what they claim.

What do you think? These things block out more like 2% of the light. Some of the curtains go for as much as $30+ per panel, so I thought I’d let others know that these things are a complete waste of money. I’m going back to my homemade crappy black curtains.

Comments

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  1. henwy says:

    The sad part is it totally could be 90+% of light depending on how they set up the test. That’s why you always have to take crap like this with a grain of salt. Likely they blasted it with more photons than the sun puts out, at an angle, on the black colored version, etc, etc, etc. It’s like that bullcrap with sunscreen and how they go up by SPF instead of just telling you the percentages up front. This is pretty much the reverse.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @henwy: I take any and every advertisement that I see with said “grain of salt”. Every statement has been carefully crafted to get you to spend money.

      But yeah, I’d be pretty angry at the silly curtains too :)

    • chutch says:

      @henwy: I like my Eclipse curtains. They are the darkest blue available, so that does probably help.

      I have noticed small amounts of light that come through the curtains, but I’d equate it to 99% of light that is blocked.

      That being said, I don’t see how lighter colored versions of these curtains could ever block this much light.

      I only have a problem with light on the sides and top of the curtains coming in. You can see it in the article photo where the light is noticeably brighter.

      • BustangBetty says:

        @chutch: I agree our Eclipse curtains block out 99% of the light (we went with the chocolate brown). No change in noise level but I already sleep with ear plug in so it doesn’t phase me as much as my husband.

    • kc2idf says:

      @henwy: Could actually measure it with the camera used to photograph them. It won’t be a laboratory-grade measurement, but it would be something.

      Step one is to take a photo of the curtains, but zoomed in more closely, so as to occlude any of the surrounding room

      Step two is to open the curtains and take a picture of the window, this time occluding the curtains as well as the room.

      Step three is to slap some math on it. Compare the shutter speed and f/stop settings the camera chose for each shot.

      Start by dividing the open-curtain shutter speed by the closed-curtain shutter speed.

      Next, divide the open-curtain f/stop by the closed curtain f/stop.

      Finally, multiply the first number by the second number, and then by the second number again. Divide this into 100, and you will have the light that passes as an approximate percentage.

      Example: First shot is 60 and 2.8 for shutter and aperture. Second shot is 250 and 8 for shutter and aperture.

      250/60 gives 4.2

      8/2.8 gives 2.8

      4.2 * 2.8 * 2.8 gives 32.9

      (Again, note that the f/stop is multiplied in twice because it is proportional to the square of the light)

      100/32.9 gives 3% passing, or about 97% attenuation.

      This is only an approximation, but it will at least tell you whether or not the product is close to performing its claims.

  2. XTC46 says:

    judging by that picture, they are blocking out a lot more than 2% of the light compared to if they we left open, but its not 99%.

    What you need are blackout drapes, most are thick and ugly so most people (like hotels) have them then cover them with nice thin drapes, that way you get the blackout effect, and nice drapes

    • cabjf says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter: They don’t need to be that expensive. Just about any drapes with an interior insulating layer will block most of the light coming in.

      • floraposte says:

        @cabjf: A friend of mine lined a fabric panel with space-blanket material to make a drape for a big, oddly shaped window. Works great, looks fine on the inside, blocks drafts as well.

    • negitoro says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter: Just wanted to say, pictures are also very ineffective at showing us how bright a room really is… since our eyes and cameras don’t really work the same way.

      As someone who enjoys photography, I can tell you that I always underestimate the difference in lighting levels between a bright sunny day vs. even a well lit room inside.

      The difference is often hundreds or thousands of times of difference in exposure levels.

      • XTC46 says:

        @negitoro: that is a very valid point that I did not take into consideration.

      • Geekybiker says:

        @negitoro: A pretty dim room like a restaurant at night is about 8 stops darker than a sunny day from most of my exposures. That’s about 1/256th the light.

        If they take the measurement with a incident light meter they only need like 6 2/3 stops down. I wouldn’t be shocked if it were close. Especially the the light leaks were fixed. I bet the curtains were taped to the wall for the tests.

    • wheresmymind says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter: I don’t doubt that the curtains block “99%” of the light. The problem is the human eye can detect light over something like 6 orders of magnitude, so cutting full sunlight by even 99% will still leave you with plenty of light for the eye to detect, probably enough to read comfortably.

      • aikimann says:

        @wheresmymind:

        From the Eclipse website the OP linked to but didn’t read:

        “Why do I still see some light when my black-out curtains are drawn? Don’t they block 99% of light?
        Yes, all eclipse curtains are proven in independent laboratory tests to block over 99% of light. But there are two factors that result in some light still being seen by our eyes:
        Because light is so powerful, even 1% of light is still visible to our eyes.
        Always configure your curtain rods to ensure a tight fit around the sides; this is how most light enters a window fitted with black-out curtains.”

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It kind of looks like the OP just has beige curtains. He should try a thicker fabric if he wants to block out light. It’s not just about color, it’s about thickness of fabric. A set of thick khaki curtains can block out as much light as a thin set of black ones.

    I recommend something like a chocolate brown or a navy blue if he wants to stray from black.

    • Skaperen says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: How about two sets of these curtains, one over the other?

      • BustangBetty says:

        @Skaperen: At $19.99 per panel (regular retail price) why not just go with two panels of a thicker material like Pi mention rather than the four you are recommending?

      • synergy says:

        @Skaperen: I’m really light sensitive and there’s a Security Light From Hell at the apt house next door that shines right into my bedroom. Currently I have 2 sets of navy blue curtains right on top of each other and it still leaves the room too bright. :(

        • CFinWV says:

          @synergy: Check a fabric store, they should sell special liner material like they use for hotel drapes. Make a set of those and hang them inside one set of blue drapes. Or I would get a cheap pull-down shade.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @synergy: When I was apartment hunting, the salesperson was really, really trumping up this 5th floor apartment. It was pretty nice, and the price was good…and then I looked out the window and saw that it was eye level with the tops of street lights. No thanks! I don’t want street lights shining into my window every night!

          • synergy says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: Yeah when we found this apt of course it was daylight, mid-afternoon. We also didn’t consider that the windows faced east and because the house is on a slope, we’re both above level of a fence (despite being on the first floor) and the two apt houses next to us in that direction have only parking lots and no structures or trees.

            So it’s blazing Texas sun from 5AM until maybe noon, light reflected from the adobe beige/tan apt house next to us and its glass windows from noon to 5, and then eye-piercing security light from about 7PM until, of course, 6AM. The landlady doesn’t understand why there would be any bothersome light on our apt!

            Nevermind that her bedroom in the apt above us is at the other end of the house which is blocked from dawn by the apt house next to us, gets no western sun at all, and doesn’t have the backlot Security Light from Hell also because she’s towards the front. Won’t pay for darker window screens and her suggestion to me was to get darker curtains.

            We recently renewed our lease because we can’t really move right now and should probably not move again until we move into a house we’re buying. :-p

            /rant.

            • Pixel says:

              @synergy: Home Depot sells light-blocking rollup window shades pretty cheap, and can cut them to any width window. It involves nailing up two little brackets, but one of those inset into the window, with the curtains over it to block spilled light will take care of the security light pretty effectively. Plus since the shade is white it will help reflect the sunlight during the day.

    • SJActress says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:

      I say just get some nice 1-inch wood blinds if you have regular sized windows. Those things block out everything, don’t absorb odors or allergens, and can be washed with a damp cloth in seconds.

      If you happen to have strangely sized windows, I can see how this wouldn’t be an option, because custom blinds can run you a lot of money.

      So, I guess my suggestion isn’t solely for the OP, because I don’t know his window dimensions, but if anyone else has these concerns, it’s work checking out.

    • Megan Squier says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I bought a pair of navy blue blackout drapes at JC Penney last summer for $25 a panel on sale and those work great. My master bedroom is literally as dark as a cave. Turn off the lights and you can’t see a thing in that room with the drapes closed. I’ve bought other types from JC Penney and those all work really well. Well worth the cost.

  4. Vanilla5 says:

    I feel your pain. I have these Logan microsuede thermal curtains from JCPenney and they just so happen to block out the light b/c of the white thermal backing. They remind me of hotel curtains.

    [www5.jcpenney.com]

  5. VA_White says:

    I really think your choices in blackout curtains, even ones you buy are a) butt-ugly and effective or b) slightly more attractive and completely useless.

    Back in my newlywed days, I made blackout curtains for my night shift husband out of blue denim chambray I got on sale at the BX. I had to double it to make them dark enough to block the light in our bedroom but at .99/yard, it was still a bargain. They were butt-ugly but they did the trick.

    • rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

      @VA_White: I now suffer the Night shift. My room has always been dark and faces north so not much on the sunlight issue.
      But ant light that manages to get in is always very noticeable. I make do with a double curtain, a light color one followed by a thick more fancy dark one. That tends to kill most of the light incoming and lets me sleep like the daed.

  6. Wrathernaut says:

    Making a pocket with aluminum foil inside will block 99% of the light. You’ll have to figure out how to block the top and bottom properly though.

  7. lizk says:

    Usually the “blackout” part of curtains is the liner, not the curtain fabric itself. Most displays are pretty clear that you need both the curtains and the liner to get the full effect.

    • CFinWV says:

      @queenlizzie: This! They sell that liner stuff in fabric stores. Or if you’re really super sensitive to light you can make a liner out of a heavy-duty white shower curtain liner, just sew a channel at the top and hang it behind your decorative drapes. Eventually from wear it will soften up so you can slide them open. Or get cheap pull-down plastic shades.

  8. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Those insulating curtains actually block really well, because they have that heavy liner on the back of them. They come in a lot of colors.

    • Chris I says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I’ve got insulating curtains and do not (yet, anyway) have Central Air. The curtains really make all the difference.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @Chris Irwin: We only have them on one window (big picture window in the dining room) and they’ve made a HUGE difference just on that one window. Prevents the sucking draft in the winter and blocks the worst heat of the sun in the summer (picture window faces west and isn’t shaded; in the summer afternoons, the dining room becomes a broiler).

        I bet if I did the whole house with them, it’d dramatically lower our energy costs.

        • texasannie says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): We put blackout curtains over the sliding glass door to our back porch, and it made a huge difference. They block most of the light, and it’s definitely cooler in that room. They’re a nice forest green, and don’t just look drab and utilitarian.

  9. michelsondl says:

    Hey, this is Dustin. I also thought that I probably missed a liner that I was supposed to buy, but after reading the package a few times, it says nothing about that. I even looked at both Kmart and Walmart in the curtain section, and eclipse doesn’t have a liner to go with these. I get that I bought the beige, and that might effect it somewhat, but each color says the same info about blocking out light. My other “curtains” were a lot better, but I was tired of the black color. I think I’m actually gonna email the company and see what they say about it. If there is a liner that’s required, then their packaging is really misleading.

    • unpolloloco says:

      @michelsondl: one option could be to sew/pin on the black curtains to the window side of the beige ones.

    • yagisencho says:

      @michelsondl:

      We went with Hunter Douglas honeycomb shades, with aluminum lining. Light seeps in from the edges of the shade (2mm gaps), but it made a world of difference in our ability to get a full night’s sleep.

      Bonus: Our children no longer wake us up at 5:00am during the Summer months.

    • Alessar says:

      @michelsondl: I bought some relatively cheap thermal-backed drapes and discovered that they were pretty good at light blocking. Originally I had black, currently I have Navy blue. I bought “Wendy Back-Tab Thermal” curtains from JC Penny’s website. They look like they’re clearancing the current product line though, but you might want to keep them in mind for the future.

    • Moiraine says:

      @michelsondl: I actually bought curtains very similar to this to help keep the drafts out of my windows during the winter. They were specifically the ‘Eclipse Antibes Thermaback Curtains’ and I found them on Amazon. They came with a thick, heavy insulation bonded to the back of the curtains. They are very heavy curtains. They completely blocked all the drafts and the light (except around the edges, of course). If your curtains don’t have that, then there’s probably something wrong. Can you return them? While they’re a little pricey at $18/panel, I would highly recommend getting these from Amazon. They work fantastically.

      As a side note, my only complaint is that they were very creased. The directions tell you not to iron or put in the dryer. If you do get these, I recommend rolling them for a couple days to work the creases out.

  10. YarrrSquiddy says:

    Awwwwwww :(
    Crappy not so light-blocky curtains. That would infuriate me. I need the room to be pitch black in order to fall asleep and can relate …. It super sucks that those curtains didn’t live up to their advertising.

    I just ended up double layering curtains in the bedroom. It’s not pretty, but it sure does the job.

    • Skaperen says:

      @YarrrSquiddy: Anything that blocks 99% of light won’t make the room pitch black in daylight. And these actually appear to be blocking 99% or more. If you want pitch black, you’ll need more than 99.9% blocking, and probably at least 99.99%. The human eyes, and digital cameras, are quite good at compensating for a measly 100:1 drop in light level.

    • halo969 says:

      @YarrrSquiddy: I hear you. I need complete darkness (even that pesky clock on the DVR is annoying so I put a DVD in front of it). I have a heavy set of thick blinds and then “blackout” curtains over that and they STILL don’t block out all the light. They are both white in order to match the walls which are purple, so that might be part of the reason.

  11. Steven Urich says:

    @Vanilla5 and queenlizzie – You are both exactly correct. There is a liner fabric that is sewn to the back of the curtain material that actually blocks the light. I worked for a place that made curtains 20 years ago and that stuff was heavier and thicker than anything you’ll find at Kmart or Walmart.

    Anyone ever look at the curtains in a hotel room? The lining is on the back of them too.

  12. NickVenture says:

    I actually have a black Eclipse curtain over my bedroom window and it works marvelously, in the day time if I don’t open it, my room is obviously dark.

    Sounds like this guy got a bit screwed over.

    • Rick Reimundez says:

      @NickVenture: I’m with Nick here.. I have a set of burgundy colored Eclipse curtains for my daughter’s room and we’re getting some navy blue ones for my son’s room next month. They work great!.

      That said, I believe Eclipse makes two kinds of curtains and one kind is light blocking, and the other isn’t. Maybe he got the wrong ones.. Or, perhaps the ones he bought someone bought, and returned but replaced the blackout curtains with some generic non-blackout curtains. But like I said – I have that brand and couldn’t be happier.

    • delicatedisarray says:

      @NickVenture:

      I have the white Eclipse curtains in my bedroom. They work just fine, better then what I expected them to for what I paid for them. I’m happy with them and am buying another set for my living room.

      I agree, something got mixed up somewhere.

    • cymph says:

      @NickVenture: I actually have a pair on the door leading into my dark room and they work better than I expected. The dark room is outside and has an old, poorly fitting door that lets in tons of light but the curtain does a complete blackout job which is necessary to properly print photos. There is no liner on this one, just a dark blue curtain, could there be a difference in style? You mentioned you bought the ‘Kent’ version, maybe that requires a liner and another style wouldn’t? Good luck, and until remedied I suggest a nice manly sleep mask.

  13. BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

    How about trying the same material that space blankets are made out of, mylar. It can’t be seen from the front, will block out the light, and reflect back some of the heat.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      @BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave: Dustin may as well put foil on his windows.

      • BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @ChuckECheese: Foil does not work!!! That’s what they want you to think! If you use foil, they can still scan your thoughts and also abduct you. If you really want to block the signals and keep the ‘Ment outta your mind, you need to make a hat like my assistant here is wearing:

        [io9.com]

        @floraposte: I think I also read about using it on Lifehacker as well some months back. He could also try stick on window film, to help darken. I use it on the windows near my one bookcase to help stop the sun from fading my books.

    • floraposte says:

      @BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave: Heh. I just mentioned above that a friend used that very substance to line a curtain, and it worked beautifully.

  14. KixStar says:

    I bought some of these from Walmart… don’t remember the brand though… Eclipse sounds familiar. Anyway, mine are a green-ish color on the inside and the back of them is a thick sheet of heavy white fabric. I think I paid $30 for 2 panels and they block light just fine… by no means 99%, but good enough that I don’t wake up as soon as sunlight comes in. So even the cheap ones from Walmart work if you’re not deadset on sleeping in a complete cave.

  15. Matthew Berkhan says:

    Light is measured in lux which is measure of how intense light appears as it hits a surface or passes through something like a curtain. 100,000lux is direct sunlight. Reducing that 99% brings it to 1,000lux which is about how bright it is on cloudy day. So basically if your room is as bright as it would be on an overcast day without any curtains, then they’re doing what they advertised. Although the do make the curtains look like they darken a room a lot more on their website.

    When I worked a night shift I used curtains that I think were actually vinyl or something. No light could get through them and I used doublesided tape to seal the edges to the wall. It was pitch black in my room no matter how bright it was outside.

    • Harlan says:

      @Matthew Berkhan: Mod parent up. This is correct. Visual perception of light intensity is logarithmic, not linear, so dropping the actual amount of light by 99% (1 – 10% * 10%) results in perception of something like a 75% (1 – 50% * 50%) reduction in brightness.

      I don’t recall the base of the logarithm off the top of my head — if it were 2, it’d be 75%. But you get the idea…

    • shockwaver says:

      @Matthew Berkhan: Very well explained, thank you.

  16. blazinrebel says:

    I actually bought these myself at Target. In my case they actually do block out 100% of the light that comes at them. In my situation though I have a set of metal blinds behind them that let a lot of light through so ymmv with this product.

  17. HogwartsAlum says:

    My mom got me some purple velvet curtains at Linens N Things. They block the light great and they aren’t even lined. The green ones in the living room work pretty well too.

    If the OP can find something like that, it might work pretty well. I don’t think something like that would cost much. Or you could go to a fabric store or outlet and buy the material on sale and make them yourself really easily, if you can’t find something ready-made.

    • burnedout says:

      @HogwartsAlum: A liner is a good idea, though. The sunlight will bleach and streak your velvet curtains if there’s no liner.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @burnedout:
        That’s true…I didn’t think of that. Mine aren’t directly in the sun; there’s just light coming through. If I move and they are, I better remember that.

        Even with a simple liner, they still would block the light pretty well.

  18. missdona says:

    I’m all kinds of crazy, but I have 3 sets of curtains on my bedroom windows.

    First, a set of sheers.
    Second, a set of ugly but effective light blocker curtains.
    Third, a set of more attractive light blocker curtains.

    It may be weird, but it can be daytime outside, and my bedroom will look like a cave.

  19. Rachacha says:

    I find that a sheet of 1/4″ plywood works very well. You can easily cut it to size, it comes in any color, and you can hire an artist to paint a nice landscape portrait.

    • XTC46 says:

      @Rachacha: I did this in an office of mine. I was using it as a make shift server room/noc but it had outward facing windows (I had no choice in the office I got) so the first thing I did was board up 2 large windows with 3/4″ plywood. I then sealed the edges with epoxy, and painted the walls battleship grey and black. The room stayed below 60 degrees, and with the lights out the only visible light were the LEDs from the servers/network equipment.

      Man I miss that office

  20. temporaryerror says:

    I just throw a dark t-shirt over the top half of my head…seems to work just fine.

  21. ogremustcrush says:

    I have some green Eclipse curtains in the living room. We have a projector in there, so we really want it to be dart. As far as I can tell, the curtains block out all the light, so I’m not sure what is up with the OP’s set.

    • chutch says:

      @ogremustcrush: Same here. I really love my Eclipse curtains that I bought for my bedroom over a year ago. They are dark blue, so that is a color that generally would help. Light colors would generally seem to show through more color.

      The only complaint I have about my curtains would be that light comes through the top and edges. Almost NONE comes through the curtains themselves.

  22. Skin Art Squared says:

    I’m confused…. I sleep during the day sometimes, but I don’t have dark light blocking curtains and yet, I still sleep. Why? Because my eyes are closed. The ultimate light-blocker: Eyelids.

    • WraithSama says:

      @BZMedia:
      I disagree, eyelids are not the ultimate light blocker. Try again with sun light pouring in through the window directly onto your face: you can still see the light, even though your peeper’s shutters.

    • synergy says:

      @BZMedia: Nope. Light still gets through. It’s one way the brain resets the body clock too, by how much light hits your retina despite your closed lids. :)

  23. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    I can’t live with ugly light blocking curtains so I use an eye shade.

  24. risottto says:

    Most store bought curtains that claim to be ‘light proof’ are nowhere near, I had a similar experience with some from BB&B. Ended up going to a theater supply company and getting some “commando cloth” or velour fabric, it’s 16oz and absolutely lets through 0% light, no BS, if you seal the edges with velcro, it’s an absolute blackout.

  25. lglessner says:

    I have blackout cellular shades from blinds.com and they are awesome (as is the customer service at that site).

  26. Ed Greenberg says:

    I bought my blackout curtains in WalMart, and they worked just fine. Nice and opaque.

  27. scoopjones says:

    Lowe’s sells a 3-ply vinyl rolldown shade that works very well for me, especially in the hot summers of California’s Central Valley, with a south-facing bedroom window. I paid about $30 for it, and you can use other curtains in front of it. It doesn’t really cut noise, but for light, you can’t beat it. Total darkness.

  28. negitoro says:

    I think their 99% claim is actually legit.

    Light intensity is a huge range and I think we tend to underestimate the difference between a bright sunny day and even an overcast day (blame it on the effectiveness of our eyes at adjusting to different light conditions).

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    Check out the scale – a sunny day is possibly more than 100x than an overcast day.

    Which means, on a bright sunny day, blocking out 99% of the light would make the inside of your room the equivalent of an overcast day… which to our eyes isn’t very dark at all.

    Anyone who likes photography would also appreciate the huge difference between direct sunlight and even a well lit room at night.

    • Skaperen says:

      @negitoro: I was going to post about the same thing. As a photographer, by hobby, since days of medium format film and manual cameras, I’ve learned to make quite accurate judgments of light level, despite how eyes tend to trick us because we can function in quite a wide range.

      A 99% reduction is 6.6 stops of light range. I have shot the same exact scene in front of my house in full bright daylight and the blackness of a moonless night. It’s got a 13 to 16 stop range based on the exposures I had to use. Since a sunlit room is not quite as bright as the outside, you won’t need the 13+ stops to make the room feel like it’s night during the day. More like 10 or so. But that’s still at least a 99.9% light blockage that would be needed.

      So try TWO of those curtains together, one layered over the other. That’s should do it.

  29. West Coast Secessionist says:

    Weird. I bought some Eclipse light blocking curtains at JCPenney’s a couple months ago, and they are almost 100% opaque. They’re chocolate brown. And they cost me $20 apiece. They save my life every morning with my east-facing bedroom window. And also all night, since there’s a conveniently placed sidewalk light outside my window too. I have to have it dark.

    It sounds like maybe the quality varies between the lines they sell at the cheap stores vs. the ones from the department stores.

  30. ngwoo says:

    I use those rollup curtains that make that annoying whirr-fip-fip-fip-fip noise if you let them up too quickly.

    They block pretty much 100% of the light.

  31. mbz32190 says:

    It seems to me as this is just a packaging error and regular curtains (if they make those as well–could be wrong) were put in the box. Especially since so many posts on here seem to favor the brand. Why not exchange it with another set and see if the results are the same?

  32. I love the Power Glove. It's so bad. says:

    I work nights (4PM-12PM) and we bought a type of black-out curtain liner from Wal-Mart. It is supposed to hang on regular curtains but we just used push pins to hold it over the window and they worked awesome…only problem is they cost like 24 dollars. Then I found a cheaper alternative.

    Cardboard! I got a refrigerator box that had a white exterior, sliced it up with a box cutter and secured it to the window frame using screws with the white side facing the window. Blocked the light and the white side reflected a LOT of the heat. Did a test and was able to keep my apartment at 65 degrees, at 3 in the afternoon, IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY. Yeah, a very extreme solution but it worked. Highly doubt I’ll get my security deposit back but that’s how much I’m willing to pay for a good night’s sleep.

  33. hifidigitalboy says:

    I bought the Eclipse Absolute Zero curtains. The package claims to “block out over 100% of light.” This seriously said this on the package. I’m not sure how that really works as I always understood that there is nothing more than 100%. Silly me.

    They also claim to reduce outside noise, however I sincerely doubt that a piece of cloth can have such magic properties.

    They do a great job of blocking out the light. I paid $20 per panel. It was the best thing I bought for my new apartment as there is a light right outside my bedroom window for some brilliant reason.

    I do seriously think that this Eclipse company needs to rethink their claims.

  34. larkknot says:

    I bought a panel at the big W place for about $12 that, actually, does a pretty good job. It’s not quite as good as the large piece of blue velvety material that I used to use as a curtain, but it’s much better than a normal-thickness curtain. And it does save me on cooling costs – some idiot built my house with the bedrooms on the west side.

  35. nocturnaljames says:

    If you want 100%, just use aluminum foil, and it will only cost you $3.

  36. GTB says:

    I bought a bunch of this brand for my apartment when I took a night shift position. In fact they’re blocking all of the light (except for the top, where the curtain rod sticks out a couple inches from the wall) right now. I’m not sure what happened with yours, but mine block the light really well. I got the black ones, I don’t know if that makes a difference or not. Mine are heavier than normal curtains and are much stiffer than normal curtains. No light gets through the actual curtain as far as I can tell.

  37. GTB says:

    …also, I paid like 15 bucks per panel for mine at walmart.

  38. millertime1211 says:

    You bought something that is on a display at walmart/kmart and it’s crap? WOW! Not only do they not block out light they are probably made with asbestos in china.

  39. Holly Grimmett says:

    I have 6 pairs of the most expensive Eclipse curtains. They work exactly as advertised for me.. and I’m in Florida.. where we’ve got a lot of sun to block. I’d send in a pic, but we’re getting ready to move and they’re packed away for now. My last electric bill here is going to hurt. :-p

  40. lannister80 says:

    Hmmm, my wife bought 4 “Eclipse” panels and I’d say they block 99% of the light. They’re forest green, made of quite heavy fabric, and turn our bedroom into a dark cave.

    Maybe he got some knockoff ones? Or defective?

  41. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Simple solution here folks… have you ever seen window treatments with multiple layers? I have, I grew up with them.

    To solve this problem have multiple layers over your window. The layer closest to the window being your blackout curtains since you already own them. Then run a rod outside that on which you can hang these fancy Eclipse curtains. You will have a fancy dark room.

  42. Anne Boleyn says:

    Check Sierra Trading Post for blackout/insulating curtains. I got some from there a few years ago for a great deal and they come in some pretty attractive colors.

    [www.sierratradingpost.com]

  43. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    A can of black spray paint on the glass would work too…

    OR… and I love this… cover your windows with tinfoil… it will make your room dark and protect you from having your brain scanned by aliens!

  44. jenl1625 says:

    At home, I have vertical blinds made from about 2-inch-wide slats of some kind of plastic. They’ve got decent texture and color, look pretty decent, and (when fully closed) do a *great* job of blocking the light, because they’re not made of cloth…

  45. Anonymous says:

    I had the same experience with black-out curtains from Lowes. I thought I was getting a quality product for $30 a curtain from a reputable store, but it couldn’t keep the eastern sun from waking me up in the morning.

  46. burnedout says:

    Anyone remember the old roller shades? I think you can get them at Target and B,B&B. Do a valance and two side panels and you a) hide the shade when it’s rolled up, b) black out the whole darn room, c) still have a pretty window. Just a thought.

  47. It's not my baby, baby! says:

    I know from studying optics and light that the small amount of light leaking from the sides of the curtains has 30 to 50 times the luminous potential of the “glowing” curtains. The OP will only achieve the desired results if this light is controlled.

    I personally own the same eclipse curtains (same color and everything) as the OP and they do glow, but if the direct light is blocked, I cannot read my watch 2″ from the curtains.

    As for the product’s claims, I would say they are fairly accurate since clear, non-optics grade glass (i.e. a window) blocks 3-5% of light and even the highest optics grade glass blocks some.

  48. notanignoramus says:

    I simply bought a set of plain black curtains for my bedroom. It worked fine. In my new apartment I use a lined tweed-like curtain that better matches the built in decorating – and that also works fine. Some creative thinking does wonders.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I have these same curtains in my office – in beige – that I purchased from Target and they are a joke. I ended up layering them with another set of curtains and they still aren’t what I expected.

    What works really well are the Wamsutta brand blackout curtains that I got from Bed, Bath & Beyond – these make the bedroom look like a cave. I only purchased the Eclipse curtains because they were much cheaper. I guess I got what I paid for.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I bought 12 panels of these blackout curtains for my house last summer. About half of them did as they claimed and blocked out almost all the light. The other half looked like the ones in the pics. All of them were the same brand (not sure if same brand as OP) and same size. Maybe the manufacturers QC department needs to do a better job.

  51. Crystal Zurkammer says:

    I’m betting that Walmart “value engineered” something out in order to have that product in their store, just like we’ve heard and seen on so many products. I would go buy them from another store if possible and see if they’re any different.

  52. Smashville says:

    My mom had blackout curtains for me when I was little because I was scared of lightning. I know there is a product out there that works because mine did…

  53. MaelstromRider says:

    Part, but not all, of the problem here is that the OP does not have enough panels. Add two more panels and there will be more light reduction because of the folds in the fabric.

    Still… They’re pretty thin for light-blocking curtains.

  54. mariospants says:

    Part of it appears – to my humble eyes – that the curtains in the product shot are open (that is, folded together) while the OP’s shot is clearly while they are closed (flat). I think the product shot could be construed as misleading.

  55. Anonymous says:

    I got some black-out curtains on Amazon that are 50 bucks a panel and they work great. They aren’t lined with that thick backing- so they’re not like ugly hotel curtains and they drape pretty well. I admit they glow just a little when the morning sun beats down on them, but they keep the room pretty damn dark. I got the orange ones and I love them.

    The brand is “Best Home Fashion” – they have some instructions that make me believe they hail from China.

    Good luck.

  56. dtmoore says:

    I picked up some light blocking/thermal drapes at jcpenney awhile back for around this price range that work great. Something definitely isn’t right with these.

  57. Anonymous says:

    i recently bought some of these panels as well for my bedroom. The window in my room is situated so that the sun comes up in the morning and glares right in…

    to give Eclipse credt, I bought the Thermaback curtians and i am very happy with them, they block almost all the light except from the edges where the curtian doesnt seal to the wall.

    I didnt go cheap and pay $12 for them, they cost me about $25 from walmart – but i feel that this guy is just mad because he got what he paid for.

  58. valthun says:

    If you want some blackout curtains, call Alaska. That is a state that knows the business of blackout curtains.

  59. robotwaste says:

    I have these exact curtains. The look lit up, but the room stays pretty dark. My wife works nights and seems to like them.

  60. Dave-Farquhar says:

    I have some of these. Darker colors block more light than lighter ones. But my main motivation was saving energy and they do seem to help that. With a set of these over the largest windows in the house, the temperature stays a lot more consistent throughout the house, and in most parts, stays a couple of degrees cooler now.

    I’m sure if I had new windows they wouldn’t make as much of a difference, but a new window costs $200 (minimum), versus $60 for enough of these curtains to insulate the old one. So I’ll buy the curtains and save my pennies to get windows later.

  61. jplanet says:

    For windows this wide you need at least two more panels.

  62. michelsondl says:

    So I ended up taking the curtains back to Kmart last night, and the girl at the customer service desk said that I was the second person who had returned the exact same kind of curtains and said that they didn’t block the light. Who knows, maybe they were missing the backing, maybe an error in production.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I bought black-out drapes from Penney’s catalog about 10 years ago and they make the room as dark as a cave! They were reasonably priced, as I recall, and are in excellent shape after all this time.

  64. jimconsumer says:

    Buy blackout cloth. It’s white, incredibly cheap and can be purchased by the yard at any fabric store. It will block 100% of light. Sew it on the back of any normal curtains and you’re good to go.

  65. Ressly says:

    I have five windows in my bedroom that I use brown Eclipse curtains on, and they work really well. I do use them in conjunction with blinds. The blinds did little to keep my room dark. With the curtains, my room stays dark all day.

  66. BytheSea says:

    Kmart linens are pretty crappy. Thin, badly made, likely to fall apart. Look in one of those stores that gets department store castoffs, like Ross or TJ Maxx. Or go to Linens and Things.