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What Household Item Is the Best Insulator?

A properly insulated home is an energy saving home. However, the cost of insulation may sometimes be a bit more than your budget can handle. You don’t have to spend a fortune to insulate your home -- you may already have an arsenal of household insulation materials that you can use. Put these items to work to help lower your energy usage and heating and cooling costs.
  1. Food Shrink Wrap

    • Common clear shrink-wrap that you use to wrap foods can perform double-duty as an insulation material. This low-cost solution can provide a good alternative to spending money to purchase window film. Stretch the shrink-wrap from the top to the bottom of the windowpanes, and then stretch it from side-to-side, covering the gaps in between the window and the casing. Then use duct tape to adhere the shrink-wrap to the wood or metal of the windows. Cut the duct tape into thin strips so the look won't be obtrusive.

    Wool and Denim

    • Manufacturers use wool and denim to produce home insulation materials, and you can do the same. Natural fibers are used to create roll-on insulation and loose fill insulation. Take your too-tight-to-fit jeans and too-small-to-wear wool sweaters and create an insulator to keep cold air from infiltrating underneath doorways. All you have to do is stuff the pieces snugly against the door to serve as insulation, and then slide them into a corner when you need to open the door.

    Plastic Garbage Bags

    • Just as shrink-wrap is a good way to insulate from cold winds, plastic garbage bags are common home items to use to insulate windows from hot summer sunlight. The darker the bag, the better it will block out the sun. While you may not want the look on main windows of your home, it can work well for windows on the backside of the home or for attic or basement windows. You can cut the bags down the center and spread them out, and then tape the bags to the windowsills.

    Duct Tape

    • Duct tape can be used quickly and effectively to seal off unwanted drafts in a number of places. You can cut strips to seal up air gaps along light switch plates and cover up unused electrical outlets. If you have a door mailbox, seal it up with duct tape to help keep the cold air from flowing into your home during winter months. Attach a small box to the front door for your mail carrier to insert your mail until warmer weather arrives and you can unseal your mail slot.

    Curtains and Sheets

    • Turn your curtains into team players in your fight to stop drafts in winter and reduce solar heat during the summer. You can sew old sheets to the backs of curtains to mimic block-out style curtains without having to purchase them and putting a dent in your budget. Even if the sheets or curtains that you use are light in color instead of dark, the extra layer will add a second insulation barrier from wind and sunlight. You can even use sheets and remnants of fabrics to create curtain ties to draw the curtains together to help block heat from sunlight in summer, or to let the sunshine in on cold but sunny winter days.


    • Newspaper is another on-hand household item you can use to block drafts. Roll up the newspaper and use rubber bands to keep them secure. Then place the newspaper rolls at the bottom of doorways to block drafts. You can keep a jar or box next to the door to store them when you need to exit or open the door.