Do Curtains Block UV Rays?

All types of curtains manage to block out a certain amount of sunlight if drawn, without necessarily being blackout or thermal curtains. But do they block out UV rays? We have researched this topic to provide you with the answers to this critical question.

As long as your curtains are closed, whether they are thick or thin, they reduce and block UV light from entering. Specific window coverings like blackout curtains, thermal curtains, light filtering curtains, and treated window films are designed to keep out the sun's UV rays and are designed to be the most effective. Curtains must be closed to properly block UV rays, which can bleach upholstery on furniture, fade artworks, and even damage walls over time if not careful.

When choosing a curtain to block out UV rays, you don't have to sacrifice your sense of aesthetics or select window coverings that clash with your decor style for results. You have the option of selecting curtains made from an array of fabrics to give your home a look you desire and still keep out harmful UV light.

Understanding the Impact and Severity of UV Light

An excess of exposure to UV light is no joke for human health, as well as your home's furnishings, walls, and precious accent pieces. When sunlight travels to the surface of the Earth, three types of UV light impact your life. There are Ultraviolet A rays, UV B rays, and UV C rays, which all have varying levels of radiation.

  • Ultraviolet A rays are not easily blocked by the planet's atmosphere, most get through to the surface, and they can eventually cause skin cancer or eye cancer.
  • Ultraviolet B rays are mostly blocked by the atmosphere but are connected to aging skin, skin cancer, sunburns, and other health issues.
  • Ultraviolet C rays are mostly absorbed by the atmosphere, and the exposure to this type is minimized.

Overall, it is crucial to know when UV rays are most dangerous, the long-term, and how to protect your home decor and health. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun's rays are at their strongest, and UVB light quickly reaches the Earth's surface and can wreak havoc. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) during peak hours of UV light exposure, it is best to keep curtains closed, or use light filtering curtains to reduce UV rays from coming into the home. In extreme cases, you can install blackout curtains to keep up to 99% of sunlight and harmful UV rays from entering.

White curtains photographed inside the house

Protecting objects in your home from fading, deterioration, and premature aging caused by UV light is vital. Whether you have exquisite rugs, elaborate upholstered chairs, or wall treatments like wallpaper, decals, or traditional paint, these and more are all susceptible and vulnerable to the sun.

In addition to having windows installed to help control how much UV rays come through and enter your home, it is prudent to select ideal curtains to reduce unwanted UV exposure.

Types of Curtains That Block UV Light

There are a few different types of curtains you will discover when shopping for window treatments. Keep in mind, all curtains can minimize how much UV light passes through your window, but some curtains are better designed for the task.

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White curtains and white beddings photographed at sunshine, Do Curtains Block UV Rays?

Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are a desirable window treatment option because they not only stop up to 99% of sunlight from coming through, but they significantly reduce UV light exposure and lower your energy costs. Rooms with a blackout curtain make a place feel cooler in the summer or times when the sun is high. You can find this curtain in attractive solid colors and designed using fabrics like vinyl or cotton.

Check out this crisp white blackout curtain set on Amazon.

Check out this elegant patterned blackout curtain on Amazon.

Light Filtering Curtains

Light filtering curtains are a bit less heavyweight than blackout curtains but still manage to lessen the intensity of sunlight that enters a room without leaving you in near darkness. A set of light-filtering curtains can significantly reduce UV radiation and sunlight without leaving you in the dark, especially if you utilize layering.

Check out this chic light filtering curtain on Amazon.

Sheer Curtains

Sheer curtains may seem like they are too thin and translucent to stop UV rays and sunlight from coming through the window, but they do offer a minimal amount of protection. Sheer curtains can be layered over blinds, or placed in front of a heavier curtain made from cotton, polyester, or vinyl to reduce UV exposure and radiation.

Check out this stylish sheer curtain set on Amazon.

Thermal Curtains

Thermal curtains have a layer of acrylic foam between the fabric layers to provide insulation from drafts, sunlight, and UV rays.

Check out this neutral thermal curtain on Amazon.

Check out this smart gray thermal curtain on Amazon.

What Color Blocks the Most UV Rays?

Scientists in Spain conducted a study to discover which colors blocked UV rays the best, and the answer may surprise you. Darker colors like red and blue readily absorb UV light and radiation, and blue offers the highest absorption rate of UV. Overall, it is best to aim for darker colors, but blue and red are the wisest choices.

Do House Windows Block UV Rays?

The windows of a home will manage to stop most UVB rays, but some UVA rays will manage to pass through. Depending on the time of year, window location, and type of window glass, the intensity of UV rays will vary. You can add a layer of protection to your home's windows by installing multiple layers of curtains, using thermal curtains, blackout curtains, or even applying a window film.

Check out this handy UV-blocking window film on Amazon.

What Materials Can Block UV Rays?

Opened blinds showing the sunshine

It is essential to consider the type of material your curtains are made of when you need to block UV rays. Materials like nylon and polyester are excellent fabric choices. In addition to sunscreen for skin, if you block out the sun, you reduce UV rays. Reflective materials like aluminum and other synthetics are ideal for blocking UV light and radiation.

Do UV Rays Go Through Clothes?

Depending on the fabric or material your apparel is made with, you may be absorbing more UV rays and radiation than you think. The color of your clothes also impacts how much UV rays get through as well. If you know you are going to be out in the sun for a while, choose darker clothes that are blue or red. Wear white to reflect light, but darker colors like black absorb the sun's light and heat.

Check out this stylish shirt with UV protection on Amazon.

Check out this comfortable shirt with UV protection on Amazon.

To learn more about different types of curtains, check out these other posts on

"What Are Sheer Curtains?"

"What Are Jacquard Curtains? 

Do Curtains Block UV rays?

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One comment

  1. Thanks for explaining that we can apply films or use thermal curtains to effectively block all types of UV rays. I want to make sure I can enjoy natural light in my living room without damaging my new couch and armchair. I’ll have to look into getting my home’s windows tinted now that you’ve shared this article and given me the idea!

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