Skip Navigation

Bulletin #7220, Maine Home Energy: Draft Stoppers

Print Friendly

Maine Home Energy

Draft Stoppers

Developed by Extension Professors Donna Coffin and Kathy Hopkins

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu.

Last winter as you sat next to your window on a cold, windy day, you may have noticed an uncomfortable breeze coming from the window. Many times where the two window frames come together there is a small gap that can let in the cold winter air, especially on windy days. Or sometimes the window frame doesn’t seat properly at the bottom of the window and leaves a gap for cold air to flow into the room.

You may have noticed that there is a gap at the bottom of the door to the back room that you won’t be heating this winter. You can feel cool air coming into the rest of the house.

There are several simple, cost-effective measures that you can take to button up those window and door gaps.

Window draft stopper

Fill the plastic bags that newspapers come in with some of the plastic grocery bags you get from the grocery store. It may take one or two newspaper bags to line the base of your window. Push the window tight against the filled bag to seal any gaps. This is a great way to cut down on drafts and recycle all those plastic bags.

plastic bags rolled into a long draft stopper

Plastic bags rolled into a long draft stopper

plastic bag draft stopper in place on window sill

Plastic bag draft stopper in place on window sill

For more ways to reduce drafts and energy loss through windows, see UMaine Extension bulletin #7213, Stop Window Drafts With Homemade Indoor Shutters, and Guy Marsden’s Building Interior Window Insulation Panels.

Window draft sand snake

Take a piece of cloth seven inches wide and four inches longer than your window. Use a tightly woven fabric, because it must be able to hold sand. Fold cloth in half the long way and stitch on two sides—the long side and one short side—using short stitches. Turn inside out and fill three-quarters of the way with sand. Fold over the open end and stitch securely. To keep the sand from leaking out, seal the seam with fabric glue, such as Fabri-Tac or Elmer’s Craft Bond. Place on top of the lower half of your window, or at the base of the window, to stop cold air.

window draft sand snake in place on window

Window draft sand snake in place on window

Double door-draft stopper

Many people use sand snake draft stoppers for their doors. The problem is that these draft stoppers need to be put back in place every time you open and close the door. Here is an easy way to make a draft stopper that will stay with the door whether it is open or closed.

You will need a piece of fabric fifteen inches wide and four inches longer than the width of your door. Hem one short side of the fabric. Fold as illustrated, with the right side of the fabric out, and stitch down the center of the fabric. Fold the short end of fabric (the end that was not hemmed) and stitch. Take two pieces of half-inch foam pipe insulation, and cut to the desired length. Slip one into each of the two long narrow pockets. Slip the draft stopper under the door as shown. You can snip off the foam pipe insulation if it is too long for your door.

Finished double door-draft stopper

Finished double door-draft stopper

Double door-draft stopper installed on closed door

Double door-draft stopper installed on closed door

Double door-draft stopper moves with your door when you open it, eliminating the constant readjusting of snake draft stoppers

Double door-draft stopper moves with your door when you open it, eliminating the constant readjusting of snake draft stoppers


Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2009, 2012
Published and distributed in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the USDA provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Call 800-287-0274 or TDD 800-287-8957 (in Maine), or 207-581-3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 581-1226.