You’re trying to keep noise, light, bugs or cold air out (or smells in!) so you roll up a towel and stuff it under the door. Does this trick actually work or is it an old wives tale?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Putting a towel under the door can help block drafts, light, and some noise, but it’s not very effective for blocking loud noises or strong odors. It works best for sealing small gaps at the bottom of hollow core interior doors.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll examine whether putting a towel under a door is an effective way to block noise, light, odors and drafts. We’ll look at the pros and cons of the towel trick, how well it works compared to other options like weather stripping and door sweeps, and provide tips for getting the most out of a makeshift towel draft stopper.
How Effective Is a Towel for Blocking Noise?
Many people have tried putting a towel under the door in an attempt to block out noise. But does it really work? Let’s take a closer look at how effective a towel can be for blocking noise.
Towels Block Low and Mid-Frequency Sounds
Towels are known to be effective at blocking low and mid-frequency sounds. These types of sounds include conversations, background music, and television noise. The thick and absorbent nature of a towel can help to muffle these sounds, making them less audible on the other side of the door.
So if you’re trying to drown out the sound of your roommate’s late-night TV binge, putting a towel under the door might just do the trick!
Less Effective for Loud, High-Pitched Noises
While towels can be effective for blocking out low and mid-frequency sounds, they are less effective when it comes to loud, high-pitched noises. These types of sounds, such as sirens or loud music, have a higher frequency and are more difficult to block.
The thin material of a towel may not be enough to completely eliminate these noises. In such cases, it may be worth considering other noise-blocking methods, such as using earplugs or investing in soundproofing materials.
Thickness and Density Matter
The effectiveness of a towel in blocking noise can also depend on its thickness and density. Thicker and denser towels tend to provide better sound insulation compared to thinner and less dense ones. So if you’re serious about blocking out noise, opt for a towel that is thicker and has a higher density.
It may make a noticeable difference in reducing the noise levels in your space.
Limitations for Blocking Odors
While putting a towel under the door can be a useful method for blocking odors, it is important to understand its limitations. Here are some factors to consider:
Depends on Strength of Odor
The effectiveness of using a towel to block odors depends on the strength of the odor itself. If the odor is particularly strong, such as from a chemical spill or a pungent food, a towel alone may not be sufficient to completely block the smell.
In such cases, additional measures like using air fresheners or opening windows for ventilation may be necessary.
More Effective for Short-Term Use
Putting a towel under the door is generally more effective for short-term use rather than for long periods of time. Over time, the towel may lose its ability to effectively block odors as it absorbs moisture and becomes less dense. It may also become less effective if it gets dirty or damaged.
For long-term odor control, it is recommended to address the source of the odor or consider using other methods such as weatherstripping or door sweeps to create a better seal.
Look for Leaks Around Edges
Even if a towel is placed under the door, it is important to check for any leaks around the edges of the door. Small gaps or cracks can allow odors to seep through, rendering the towel less effective. To ensure maximum odor control, it is advisable to inspect the door and its surrounding areas for any potential leaks and seal them accordingly.
Weatherstripping or using draft stoppers can help create a better seal and prevent odors from entering the room.
Stopping Light and Drafts
Putting a towel under the door can be an effective way to stop light and drafts from entering a room. It creates a barrier that prevents these unwanted elements from seeping through the gap under the door.
While it may not completely eliminate all light and drafts, it can significantly reduce their presence.
Fairly Effective for Small Gaps
Using a towel to block small gaps under the door is generally a fairly effective method. It works well for doors that have minimal space between the floor and the bottom of the door. By placing a towel in this space, you can create a seal that restricts the flow of light and drafts.
However, for larger gaps, alternative methods such as weatherstripping or draft stoppers may be more effective.
Look for Thick Towels
When using a towel to block light and drafts, it is important to choose the right type of towel. Thicker towels tend to work better as they provide a denser barrier against light and air. Look for towels made of materials like terry cloth or microfiber, as they have a higher density and can effectively block out light and drafts.
Avoid using thin or worn-out towels, as they may not provide sufficient coverage.
May Need to Weigh It Down
In some cases, simply placing a towel under the door may not be enough to keep it in place. If the towel keeps slipping or moving, you may need to weigh it down. This can be done by placing a heavy object, such as a book or a doorstop, on top of the towel.
By adding weight, you ensure that the towel remains in position and effectively blocks light and drafts.
Remember, while putting a towel under the door can be a helpful solution, it may not be a permanent fix. If you are experiencing significant drafts or light leakage, it may be worth considering other options such as weatherstripping or upgrading to a door with better insulation.
These alternatives can provide more effective and long-term solutions to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
How It Compares to Other Options
When it comes to blocking noise and drafts from under the door, putting a towel is a popular DIY solution. While it can provide a temporary fix, it may not be as effective as other options that are specifically designed for this purpose.
Let’s take a look at how putting a towel under the door compares to other alternatives:
Weather Stripping Creates a Tighter Seal
One option that is often recommended is using weather stripping. Weather stripping is a material that is applied to the bottom of the door to create a tight seal. It is designed to block out drafts and reduce noise.
Unlike a towel, weather stripping is specifically designed for this purpose and provides a more effective solution. It is available in different materials, such as foam, rubber, or vinyl, allowing you to choose the one that suits your needs best.
Additionally, weather stripping is durable and can last for a long time, providing a more long-term solution compared to a towel.
Door Sweeps Block More Noise and Drafts
Another option to consider is installing a door sweep. A door sweep is a strip of material that is attached to the bottom of the door. It effectively blocks drafts and reduces noise by creating a seal with the floor.
Door sweeps are available in various designs and materials, such as rubber or bristle, allowing you to choose one that meets your specific requirements. Unlike a towel, a door sweep is specifically designed to provide a more effective solution for blocking noise and drafts.
Rugs and Draft Stoppers Work Too
Aside from weather stripping and door sweeps, rugs and draft stoppers can also help in reducing noise and drafts under the door. Placing a rug or a draft stopper at the bottom of the door can create a barrier that blocks out noise and drafts.
Rugs and draft stoppers are available in different sizes and designs, allowing you to choose one that complements your decor while providing effective noise and draft reduction. These options are specifically designed for this purpose and can be more efficient compared to using a towel.
Overall, while putting a towel under the door can offer a temporary solution, it may not be as effective as other options that are specifically designed to block noise and drafts. Weather stripping, door sweeps, rugs, and draft stoppers are all more effective alternatives that can provide long-term solutions for reducing noise and drafts in your space.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Towel Draft Stopper
Look for Hollow Core Doors
When using a towel as a draft stopper, it is important to consider the type of door you have. Hollow core doors are more prone to drafts compared to solid core doors. Hollow core doors have a honeycomb-like structure on the inside, which can allow air to pass through more easily.
Therefore, it is recommended to use a towel draft stopper on hollow core doors to maximize its effectiveness.
Opt for a Large, Heavy Towel
Choosing the right towel is crucial in creating an effective draft stopper. A large and heavy towel will provide more insulation and block drafts more effectively. Look for a towel that is long enough to cover the entire bottom gap of the door.
Additionally, opt for a towel with a thick and plush texture, as it will be more efficient in preventing cold air from entering and warm air from escaping.
Fold and Roll It Tightly
Properly folding and rolling the towel is key in ensuring its effectiveness as a draft stopper. Start by folding the towel in half lengthwise, and then roll it tightly from one end to the other. This will create a compact and dense barrier that can effectively block drafts.
Make sure to secure the rolled towel with rubber bands or tape to keep it in place.
Check for Gaps and Add Weight
Before placing the towel draft stopper under the door, thoroughly inspect the bottom of the door for any gaps or cracks. Even a small gap can compromise the effectiveness of the draft stopper. If you notice any gaps, consider using additional methods such as weatherstripping or caulk to seal them.
Additionally, to further enhance the effectiveness of the towel draft stopper, you can add weight to it by placing a sandbag or a heavy object on top of it. This will help ensure a snug fit and prevent any air leakage.
Remember, while using a towel as a draft stopper can be an effective and affordable solution, it is important to regularly check and replace the towel if it becomes worn out or loses its insulating properties.
By following these tips, you can maximize the effectiveness of a towel draft stopper and enjoy a more comfortable and energy-efficient home.
While using a towel under a door has its limitations, it can be an easy, inexpensive way to temporarily block minor drafts, light, and muffle some noise. For best results, use a large, thick towel on an interior hollow core door without much of a gap underneath.
Weigh it down and check for leaks around the edges. For permanent, heavy-duty solutions, door sweeps and weather stripping work better, but the humble towel hack will do in a pinch!