Is your skirt clinging to your legs? Does your sweater keep shocking your arms? It’s time to do something about the electric charge taking over your wardrobe and giving you random jolts. How to get remove static from clothes? From baking soda and air drying to metal and lotion, there’s plenty you can do, according to experts. Keep scrolling for the simple and incredibly low-cost if not free, solutions.
How static is created
Let’s turn the clock back, all the way to middle school science class. “The passing of electrons from one fabric to another creates an imbalance of positive and negative charges between the pair of materials, resulting in the static charge we sometimes find on our clothing,” explains Henrique Conceição, Area Manager at Total Clean.
According to Carol Mehas, Founder and CEO of arbOUR Products, synthetic fabrics (think polyester and nylon) are most prone to static because they’re “manufactured with chemical yarns that will not absorb even the slightest charge, therefore waiting for something more organic — like your hands or legs — to absorb the shock.”
Dry environments can also increase static because moisture is a natural electrostatic conductor, and without it, there’s an imbalance.
How to remove static from clothes
These easy household items can fix your cling and stop shocks fast.
1. Enlist some metal
This is the top tip on everyone’s list. “Find a metal surface and make sure the whole item touches it to transfer the static,” Marieke van der Graaf, founder and owner of Laundrylicious, says. “Because it can go through you too, sometimes I look around me and find anything metal to touch to transfer the charge from myself quickly like a door hinge.” While van Der Graaf and Conceicao all typically opt for a wire hanger to help in a pinch, Mehas suggests placing a safety pin inside your clothing. See why and how it works in the video below!
2. Turn on a humidifier
Because static thrives in dry environments, Mehas says you should consider pulling out your humidifier to add moisture to the air. While this may seem like a bit much, there are other benefits to humidifiers too: they soothe dry skin, cut down on sinus congestion alleviate allergy symptoms and much more.
3. Spray some water on your clothes
To add moisture on a smaller scale, Mehas says you can keep “a fine mist sprayer in your laundry room to remove the static as you pull each piece of clothing out of the dryer.”
4. Rub on some lotion
To quickly cancel the effects of static electricity, Conceicao recommends moisturizing your skin before putting your clothes on — after making sure the oils won’t stain your clothes, of course.
5. Wipe your clothes down with dryer sheet
According to Conceicao, dryer sheets are great at absorbing static. This is because they’re coated with fabric softener, which balances out the electrons with protons. Just grab one and rub it on whatever you're wearing.
6. Shake it out
Don’t have anything on hand that will get the job done? You actually do — your arms. “Take the time to remove as much static as you can before putting your clothes away by shaking out each garment as you pull it from the dryer,” Mehas explains.
How to prevent static on clothes
“Unless your clothes are sealed in a bubble, it’s hard to completely eliminate static,” Mehas says. “There are many ways, however, to drastically reduce it.”
1. Add some baking soda to the washer
According to Conceicao, baking soda “forms a barrier between the positive and negative charges,” which drastically cuts down on static creation. It also moonlights as fabric softener, removes odors and boosts bleaching and brightening abilities, so there’s no reason to not use it. Simply add ¼ to ½ cup of baking soda to the load and wash as usual.
2. Use fabric softener in your load
Just like with baking soda, think of the invisible layer fabric softener creates on clothing as protection between the positive and negative charges.
3. Turn the dial to low or no heat when drying
The hotter and drier the machine is, the worse the static. That’s why Mehas recommends trying low heat settings — even fluff or air dry — for synthetic fabrics such as uniforms and athletic wear. And if you can actually air dry your clothes? Even better.
4. Add a safety pin to the cycle
Mehas' recommendation: “When drying clothes in the dryer, opt for dryer balls — which are much more eco-friendly than disposable fabric sheets — and put a safety pin inside them so the electrons will discharge away from the fabric and conduct themselves between the pin and the metal drum of the dryer.”
For more savvy laundry tips, click through the links below!