Static electricity can be a major nuisance, especially in winter when the air is drier. We've got a variety of homemade solutions to help you get rid of static electricity, electric shocks, and hair that stands on end.
It's the reason why your hair is a frizzy mess, your clothes look disheveled, and you get a shock each time you reach for a doorknob. Static electricity can be embarrassing and literally a pain that wreaks havoc during the winter months. When the air is dry, static cling is everywhere.
What Is Static Electricity?
Static occurs when electric charges accumulate
on an object's surface; this is commonly a result of two materials that are moving apart or rubbing together. For example, rub your feet across a rug, then reach out to touch a doorknob or nearby person. That zap you feel? A charge of static electricity. Very dry air and cold weather increases static electricity, so static shock takes place more often in the winter when the air is especially dry.
How to Get Rid of Static
While there are commercial products available to eliminate static cling, such as Static Guard
, there are also many homemade solutions to reduce this winter irritation. Here's how to control static electricity all around you.
IN THE HOME
Raising the humidity level in your home via a humidifier will reduce random static shocks, static cling and static in your hair. The water particles in the humid air will break up static charge quicker. More humidity in your home will also limit electric shocks around computers and electronics
, which can cause serious damage.
- DIY humidifier:
For a budget-friendly humidifier, simply simmer water on the stove. Throw in a spice like cinnamon or citrus rinds
and you'll also get an inexpensive air freshener
- Bring in nature:
Incorporate indoor plants and bowls of water around the house to add moisture to your home
- Dryer sheets:
Fabric softener, the same laundry product that keeps clothes from clinging, can prevent static electricity buildup in cars, carpets and your hair. Photo: Getty Images
Stop static electricity where it starts by throwing in fabric softener sheets or dryer balls in the machine
along with your clothes. This will minimize the fabrics' contact with one another. Already dressed? For a quick fix, simply rub dryer sheets
over the clothes you're wearing to remove static cling. These sheets will also neutralize the electric charge in your hair. (Bonus: You'll end up smelling like fresh laundry.)
- Damp washcloth or towel:
Placing a damp cloth in the dryer during the last 10-20 minutes of the cycle will help prevent the air from becoming too dry.
- Wire hanger:
Glide the long side of a wire or metal hanger over your clothes to remove static electricity.
After a shower or bath, add moisture to your body. The lotion will act as a barrier and prevent static electricity from building up. Rub lotion on your hands, legs and even a small amount to your hair. Then gently rub your clothes to diffuse shocks directly there as well.
Spritz hairspray on apparel that tends to be affected by static cling, such as areas on skirts, pants, pantyhose, tights or socks.
- Homemade Static Guard:
According to to Joey Green, author of Joey Green's Fix-It Magic, mixing one cap full of Downy fabric softener in a spray bottle filled with water
will give you the DIY version of Static Guard. Spray the mixture on affected areas of clothing.
- Homemade Static Guard:
Photo: Paul Mullet, Flickr
Sometimes there can be an immense about of static electricity charge in carpets, so much that you'll receive an electric shock every time you touch someone or something metal. To reduce the static and prevent shocks, the same mixture used on clothes can be applied to carpets. Shake mixture and lightly spray over the carpet.
- Use conditioner:
Photo: StarMama, Flickr
The combination of dry winter air and indoor heating often equates to a style-resistant, frizzy mess of static hair. Charles Igergan, stylist and salon owner in a Chicago -- an area known for its harsh, cold winters -- highly suggests stepping up your conditioning routine
. "Every couple of weeks, use an intensive conditioning mask," says Ifergan. Using a rich conditioner will add moisture and reduce the static in your hair.
- Avoid wool hats:
Wool generates friction, and as a result produces static electricity. Opt for cotton or cashmere headgear, or wear a satin bonnet underneath your wool cap to reduce hat hair
- Brush it away:
Spray hairspray or leave-in conditioner in a brush and comb it through your hair. Switching from a nylon or synthetic brush to one with boar bristles will also de-electrify runaway strands.
- Finishing products:
Adding a few drops of silicone-based serum or conditioning oil
to your styling routine will create a barrier that eases the electrical charge in your hair.
- Fabric softener sheets:
These handy static-fighters are prime for taming flyaway strands, especially if you have fine hair and fear excess styling products. Slide a sheet over hair to get static under control.
IN THE CAR
To keep down static electricity, opt to wear natural fibers like cotton in the winter instead of synthetics like nylon or polyester. Synthetic fabric sliding along car seats can generate a substantial charge
leading to those annoying static shocks.
- Fabric softener sheets:
Once again, these handy sheets come to the rescue. Rub car seats with a dryer sheet every couple of weeks to reduce static cling and shocks.
When exiting the the car, touch the handle before you slide across the seat. This will break up the charge
instead of letting it build up. Also, before you enter the car, touch the metal door handle first with your keys or some other metal object. This technique will transfer the shock from metal to metal -- and you won't feel a thing. The "metal to metal" strategy can also be applied to household objects, such as doorknobs and kitchen towel racks using keys or silverware.
Energy Savings: Dryers and Washers
20 Uses for Used Dryer Sheets (Apartment Therapy)
Use Aluminum Foil to Keep Clothes Static-Free (Lifehacker)
Auto Clinic Fights Static (Popular Mechanics)
And for more uses for static-removing dryer sheets, watch this video: