As I have mentioned in many of my articles, when you’re soundproofing your home, it’s good to pay special attention to windows and doors. However, I can understand how having to get professional materials can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t really need to make a dent in your wallet in order to effectively soundproof a door. There are some common household items that might do a good job all on their own.
In this article, I’ve decided to explain which items you might use to soundproof your door. While windows are definitely more vulnerable to admitting outside noises, doors can let all sorts of sounds through as well.
Most of the time, when it comes to soundproofing doors and windows, it’s all about the air gaps. Whether there’s a gap between the door and the door frame, the frame and the walls, or right under the door — if air can pass through, so can sound. Some of the household items I’ll be talking about can cover some of the gaps. However, the best course of action would be to plug them with some acoustic caulk before you do anything else.
If you aren’t sure whether your door has any air gaps, you could try one of these tests:
- Turn the light on the inside of the room, and then step outside, closing the door behind you. You can also have a friend inside point a flashlight along the edges of the door. If you can see light passing through the door while you’re standing outside in the dark, there’s a gap.
- Hold a lit candle up to the door carefully. If you see the flame flicker, there’s a draft. And where there’s a draft, there’s an air gap.
Which Household Items Can You Use to Cover a Door
Once you’ve figured out that your door isn’t all that it should be, how do you fix it? The answer is fairly simple. However, while most of the household items I’ll mention can help lessen the sounds that reach you, you should keep in mind that none of them will completely silence the noise.
As I was thinking of ideas for this article, I mainly focused on the issues I’ve already mentioned: the gaps between the door, the door frame, and under the door, as well as the thickness of the door itself.
These are some of the biggest problems you’re going to be dealing with when you’re soundproofing any door. There are several household objects that might help, including:
- Curtains — the thicker the better, but you can also layer them.
- Blankets — again, thicker is better. You might want to buy some grommets to make the blankets easier to install.
- Old towels or a pillowcase and rice (we’ll be improvising a draft stopper).
- Carpets and rugs.
- Old foam puzzle tiles or yoga mats to thicken the door with.
- Soundproof paint.
As I have said, none of these are going to have astonishing results. However, many of them will work in some way. So let’s see how you would go around using these common objects to soundproof a door and what you can expect from each method.
How to Soundproof a Door With Household Items
1. Hang Curtains
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you’ll know that drapes can be extremely helpful when soundproofing around the home. In fact, they’re also one of the most attractive soundproofing solutions.
Curtains can provide a soft barrier that can disrupt incoming sounds, thereby lessening the noise. However, not just any type of curtain will do the trick — you can’t just use the flimsy white ones you keep over your kitchen windows. Instead, grab the thickest ones you can find, or otherwise layer some heavier ones on top of each other.
The important thing is to completely cover the door and have some of the material pooling on the floor. You can install curtain rods right above the door, making sure that they’re wider than the door itself. That way, you can keep the curtains pushed off to the side where they won’t prevent the door from functioning. Then, when you want to concentrate or sleep, you can close the door and draw the curtains over it.
While ordinary curtains may lessen the noise somewhat, it’s always best to go for the thickest ones available. Of course, when it comes to soundproofing, the thickest drapes available are soundproof ones. Still, I can understand why someone would be looking to avoid spending a lot of money.
However, I also know how much I myself appreciate my peace and quiet. You can’t really put a price tag on that kind of thing, in my opinion. So if you’re curious, you can check out some of my soundproof curtains recommendations in the article I linked.
In fact, for some more options, you can check out my article on soundproof room divider curtains. These products are essentially the same thing — you can read the article to see how they differ.
2. Put up Blankets
You can use blankets in pretty much the same way as you would curtains. However, since regular blankets don’t come with grommets, you may have to install them a bit differently. Keeping the curtain rod above the door, you could either:
- Use something like this curtain clip (from Amazon) which is essentially a ring that goes onto the curtain rod and clips onto the blanket.
- Install grommets (you can get them on Amazon too) along one side of the blanket, and hang them regularly.
As with my curtain tip, you’ll want to use the thickest blanket you can spare. Also, you should have it cover the whole surface of the door and brush against the floor if possible. You can keep the blanket pushed to the side during the day and cover the door at night or whenever you need some quiet.
Or, if you want to skip the curtain rod altogether, you might nail or tack the blanket directly to the door. If you’ve got huge gaps between the door and the door frame, you could tuck the blanket completely around the door.
However, there’s a better solution for those who don’t mind doing some shopping. Soundproof and moving blankets are even more effective than curtains, and you can use them in so many other places around the home as well.
Whether you use curtains or blankets, both of these solutions are meant to fix the air gaps in the door and provide some added thickness as well.
3. Improvise or DIY a Draft Stopper with Towels or Pillows
When I was young, I often used to use a towel to soundproof my room and prevent heat from escaping. I remember having this huge gap under my door, so stuffing a towel in there was pretty helpful. However, if you don’t want to have to readjust the towel every time you move the door, you can easily make a double-sided draft stopper.
All you’ll need is some fabric material (you can use a pant leg), some glue or a sewing machine, and stuffing. The girl in the video below (which I previously linked to in my door sweep article) used a pool noodle, which is cheap and easily accessible. However, you can also use rice, cotton, pillow stuffing, or a combination of these things.
If you find the tutorial I linked too complicated, there are so many more available online. You’re sure to find one that suits your needs. Still, if you’d rather not bother, you can check out the article I linked to for my product recommendations.
Another way you could use pillows or towels to soundproof a door is to use them to add bulk to the door. If you don’t have blankets or curtains to spare for some reason, thickening the door with towels and pillows might work. However, I’d still recommend that you find a blanket — if for no other reason than to save yourself a huge hassle.
4. Use Carpets
Like blankets and curtains, carpets and rugs can be your best friend when you’re soundproofing your door. It should be just thin enough to slide under your door, but thick enough to plug the gap between the floor and the door. On the other hand, it could also make it somewhat difficult to open and close doors.
Another thing you could do is to attach the carpet to the door. In fact, you could thicken the door in the same way you would thicken a floor. Currently, my favorite technique to do that is to use a foam underlay (Amazon) and cover it with a carpet. There are several ways you might go about attaching these to the door:
- Use a spray adhesive.
- Nail both materials directly to the door’s surface.
- Hang the foam, carpet, or both onto the door by using a durable synthetic thread near the top and nailing it to the top side of the door. That way, you can leave the visible surface of the door intact.
At the very least, you’ll have a great conversation starter when you have guests over and they inevitably ask why you have a rug on your door. Still, this should work if you do it right.
5. Foam Tiles or Yoga Mats
If you’ve got young kids who’ve just outgrown their foam play tiles or if you’re over your health craze, you can still make use of the foam materials in your home. Tack them onto the door or use a spray adhesive to attach them. It might not be the most attractive solution, but it will definitely thicken the door.
On the other hand, if you aren’t thrilled with the idea of Mickey Mouse staring at you every time you leave the room, you could also get interlocking acoustic tiles. They have a different prints, so they shouldn’t look too bad on your door.
Another type of foam you might have in your home is Styrofoam. If you have bigger, relatively thin tiles of Styrofoam (like these ones from Amazon), you could attach them to your door just as easily. Unlike a carpet, these materials are typically very light. That means that they’ll be very easy to attach — but also less effective.
6. Can You Use Mattresses?
Many people stand by using old mattresses for soundproofing purposes. I, however, remain unconvinced. Firstly, mattresses can be useful in other ways. And secondly, who even has so many mattresses that they can afford to have them sitting on the walls and covering the doors?
That’s another one of my objections: a bulky mattress would prevent you from using your door normally. Why would you use a soundproofing technique that makes your life harder? Still, there’s one type of mattress that you might use if only to add mass to your door.
If you have a thin mattress topper (like this one) lying around, you may be able to use that. But then, there’s the issue of getting to the door handle, which is actually going to present a problem in many of these types of methods as well. So perhaps you’re better off getting real soundproofing materials to soundproof your door.
7. Soundproof Paint
Another tip that comes straight from my list of soundproofing myths is using soundproof paint on your doors. Like many other tips I’ve mentioned, this would serve the purpose of thickening up the door. However, you’d need to slather it on thick if you wanted to hear some tangible results. And of course, you’d need to use it with one or two of the other solutions on this list.
Additionally, this would only qualify as a household item if you’ve recently used soundproof paint and happen to have some leftovers.
8. Rearrange the Furniture
If I seem to recommend redecorating often, it’s because it’s usually the only thing you need to do in order to hear a difference. If you want to soundproof a door, you can either:
- Push wardrobes and closets to the walls next to the door, creating more mass around it. The noise should then have to pass through a smaller surface area.
- Completely close the door off with bulky furniture if you don’t intend to use it. For example, if a room has two doors, one of which is shared with another room.
Summary: Household Items for Soundproofing
Ultimately, although some of the household items on this list have previously appeared on my list of soundproofing myths, they’re not completely without merits. Still, you might be better off using one of the many cheap soundproofing methods I’ve written about before.
However, if you don’t have a solid and well-installed door in the first place, you might just be beyond help. If you find that your door itself is too thin for comfort, you should replace it if that’s an option for you.
I hope this article has illuminated some of the ways you might go about using household items to soundproof a door. Most of the items you have won’t be too much help here, unfortunately. However, if you keep putting the pieces together in different ways, you’re sure to find the way that works for you.