It’s Friday night, so you put on your favorite outfit and head out to dinner. As you arrive at the restaurant and reach out to greet your friend, a shock nips at your fingers, eliciting a tiny yelp from the both of you. Static electricity strikes again!
Or picture this — you put on your favorite silk or satin blouse and notice the garment sticking to your body in all the wrong places. You try to shake it out, but it’s not working. Static cling won’t go down that easy.
Static electricity is a fact of life, building up in your clothes to harass you with awkwardly sticking garments or the unpleasant surprise of a sudden shock. But why does this happen, and how can you get static out of clothes?
What Causes Static in the First Place?
Scientifically speaking, electrons build up in the atmosphere with a mix of positive and negative charges. Since opposite charges attract, when these electrons meet, they produce a shock. However, if these electrons aren’t strong enough, they cling instead. Because dry air is an electrical insulator, this shocking or clinging static buildup often happens in the winter months when the air has lower humidity. And the dry, hot air in a tumble dryer can cause even more static in your clothing.
Tips and Tricks to Lessen Static Cling
Here is a list of helpful hints to help eliminate static electricity — so you can stop shocking yourself and others:
- Fabric Softener – Fabric softener leaves your garments smelling extra fresh and feeling super soft. Plus, it invisibly lubricates your clothing, which dispels electricity.
- Dryer Sheets – Adding an anti-static dryer sheet stops electrons from building up when your clothes inevitably rub together in your dryer.
- Lotion – Putting body moisturizer on before getting dressed prevents your clothing from rubbing against your dry skin and eliminates unwanted sparks when you get dressed.
- Grounded Metal – Occasionally touching grounded metal, such as a street pole or water pipes, will discharge the electricity from your clothes and body directly to the ground.
- A Humidifier – Since dry air is the largest contributor to static electricity, putting a humidifier near your laundry room can help eliminate this issue.
Tips and Tricks to Get Static Out of Clothes
If you find your clothes adhering to your body in a way that’s less than flattering, try these solutions:
- Water – Don’t use this trick on delicate fabrics like silk. But for other, more durable fabrics, lightly wet your hands and then gently brush them over the surface of your clothing to dispel static cling.
- Static Guard – This is a spray coating made from a mixture of water and alcohol that neutralizes the charge from static electricity. Spraying it on the inside of your clothes eliminates static instantly.
- Talcum Powder – Apply talcum powder directly to your skin where the fabric is extra clingy.
- Dryer Sheets – Besides using dryer sheets for their intended use, you can also rub them on your clothing to disarm static.
- Dryer Balls -These have many uses, including reducing drying time and softening your clothes. And if you stick a few safety pins in your dryer balls, they also fight static. When the safety pins touch the metal inside the dryer, the electrons are discharged away from the fabric into the dryer drum, reducing the static left behind in your clothes.
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