Does TikTok's Aluminum Foil Hack For A Peaceful Night's Sleep Actually Work?

If the faintest glimmer of light stops you from having a good night's sleep, you may be tempted to try TikTok's hack of securing aluminum foil to your windows using painter's tape or water. However, while it may be a cheap and easy alternative to blackout curtains, we wouldn't recommend it. That's because this trick just isn't a long-term fix. 

On paper, the idea of using foil to block light is a pretty solid one. After all, covering your windows in aluminum foil is actually recommended by FEMA to reflect light, and thereby block heat, during severe heatwaves. In, ahem, light of that, it's not exactly surprising that a number of people have taken to TikTok to share that sticking tape to their windows has helped create a blackout effect, too. Its cost-effectiveness is merely a bonus.

So, why don't we recommend it, then? As it turns out, while some people have had luck with this hack, many others haven't. We aren't just talking about dubious efficacy or not-so-great aesthetics here, mind. Some have actually documented the terrible side effects from trying this in their homes — like damage to their windows.

Aluminum foil can seriously damage your windows

Depending on how you go about securing aluminum foil to your windows, this hack may actually end up causing you a much bigger headache than sleep deprivation would. Sticking the foil directly to the window using water will yield impressive results, but you'll need to remove it first thing in the morning (and don't leave it for several days on end) to avoid a very messy situation. Exhibit A: as TikToker @Harryw89 shared in a video, some of the foil he used actually baked into the glass of the window. 

One way to get around this is by loosely securing the foil to the window using tape. However, that's likely to leave space for light to get through, anyway — making the hack entirely counterintuitive. As such, you'll still need the foil to be fairly flush against the window, which, again, will increase the risk of it baking into the glass. 

Willing to risk it? Some TikTok users have had success removing the stains with Bar Keeper's Friend. At the time of writing, you can get a bundle of the cleaner and a microfiber towel from Amazon for $12. Nevertheless, we'd still recommend removing the foil from the windows during the day, to mitigate as much damage as possible. 

There are better alternatives to foil

If removing foil from your windows each morning is a small price to pay for some decent shut-eye (and if you already have a bottle of Bar Keeper's Friend on standby), covering your windows in aluminum foil overnight might not be the end of the world. Having said that, we'd definitely still recommend this being a short-term solution while you save up for something else. And, as an aside, it's worth noting that there are a ton of blackout curtain options available at lower price points. 

For starters, Amazon sells blackout curtains starting at around $16. Plus, if you're concerned about curtains letting in too much light, there are ways around that, too. Simply use thumbtacks (around $3 on Amazon) to secure the material to the wall, or if that's not possible, to your window frame. Alternatively, if that's not an option, Amazon also sells stick-on blackout blinds starting at around $18. 

At the end of the day, foil can be a helpful hack in the immediate term — especially if you're really struggling to fall asleep and already have some handy. However, for long-term solutions, it's just not a great idea.