Keeping Your Clothes Closets Static-Free

Cheap, Green DIY Tips

Posted by Linda Merrill | Feb 22, 2011
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Rubbermaid via Flickr

Static cling has been known to be mildly embarrassing (think pants legs riding up) to downright mortifying (think clingy skirts or dresses riding up to indecent heights). To understand how to get rid of this annoying situation, it’s important to first understand it. 

Human beings continually generate static electricity on our bodies which is periodically grounded out, meaning we touch another static object producing that “zap” we’re all familiar with. As we all know, opposites attract and the positive energy conducted from our bodies will be very attracted to the negative energy that can be present in very dry clothing -- especially that which is made of synthetic materials. When clothes are dried in the dryer, they pass electrons back and forth increasing the positive and negative energies between objects, which causes them to cling to one another. When worn, they in turn can keep clinging to one another as in the case of a dress clinging to panty hose or when slacks cling to socks.

Reduce Surface Static

It is also well known that over-drying clothes will increase the static charge, so it’s recommended that clothes be about 95% dry when removed and stored. Tricia LeVangie, of California Closets in Massachusetts suggests the use of a humidifier to keep the air moist. She said, “This is a real challenge during our cold New England winters.  I can remember my mom putting a pan of water on the register in her bedroom to help with moisture.”  Moist air is highly conductive, which reduces the ability of static to build up in clothing. A handy spray bottle of distilled water can be lightly spritzed on clothes and body when getting dressed will be helpful as well.  LeVangie also recommends storing synthetic and natural fiber clothing separately as “synthetic fibers are really the culprits”.

Separate Synthetics

Professional organizer Ann Marie Williams of Atmosphere Consulting offers this tip: Don’t hang newly dry cleaned clothes back up without removing the plastic bags. “When it comes to static, if the elements are right, static is created while taking the bag off and before you even put it on the garment is already full of static.” Allowing the items to “breath and ground” a bit may reduce the chance of overly charged clothing becoming clingy nuisances.

An Alternative to Dryer Sheets

An interesting trick picked up from Apartment Therapy via Lifehacker is to throw a couple balls of tightly rolled up tin foil into the dryer. There seemed to be lots of debate as to why this would work as the metal of the dryers drum should work as well as the tin foil itself, but the prevailing view is that the ball itself is grounded by hitting the drum wall throughout the cycle, then jumps back into the fray to collect excess static as it’s forming between the clothes. The debate was lively, but there were enough commenters who have tried it and feel it works, so it’s worth giving it a try.

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