I saw a video on YouTube that suggests that layers of towels are actually the best sound insulation. I'm thinking about putting folded towels in between the joists under the floorboards on the first floor, so that sound from the room above does not travel to the room below.

Do you think this would increase the fire risk to an unacceptable level?

EDIT - Some extra details: the towels will be placed on top of the plasterboard ceiling. The room is 12 feet by 12 feet. The room above is a bedroom. The room below is a bedroom.

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    Where do you have a large supply of towels that's going to cost less than actual insulation made for this purpose? Towels might work, but that video claims $5, and there's no way you're going to get that many towels for such a low price.
    – JPhi1618
    May 30, 2019 at 20:13
  • I wondered the same thing, but if a person has access to clothing recyclers' castoffs... t-shirts and jeans, for example.
    – isherwood
    May 30, 2019 at 20:14
  • @JPhi1618 I'm going to get them from charity shops or second hand towels from ebay. A 1.2m by 0.6m piece of sound-insulation rock wool costs £50 ($70), so I think there is some financial incentive here. May 30, 2019 at 20:22
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    If you use oddball materials, you will encounter difficulties when it comes to sell the house. May 30, 2019 at 23:52
  • Have to agree with Jim. This is just a bad idea. Nothing looks worse on a house than someone using completely nonstandard materials. I also think you're misinterpreting the price of soundproofing insulation because its more like $1/sqft in the US.
    – JPhi1618
    May 31, 2019 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


There are two kinds of sound problems: 1) airborne sound, and 2) impact sound.

  1. Airborne sound is talking, music, etc. If you’re trying to stop this kind of sound, then yes, additional material that absorbs sound will help.

  2. Impact sound is sound that is generated by footsteps, tapping on floor, etc. This kind of sound travels through the flooring material and reverberates into the space below. Towels will not interrupt this transmission. Rather, one surface needs to be isolated from another to stop the transmission. That is to say, the upper flooring and structural components need to be isolated from the lower ceiling and its structural components.

Towels are not the best material to solve either sound problem. In addition, cloth towels have a very high rating for products of combustion and contribution of smoke.

Every material is rated for fire and smoke. Cloth is rated very high for both. However, in single family residences it is not prohibited.

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