Friday, February 17, 2012

Dealing with Static Electricity

It's winter which means dry air and static electricity. Boo. I dread folding clothes and having to pull clothes apart all while watching sparks fly. Then the next person I touch gets zapped. Ouch!

I am forced to use my dryer in the winter months because we just don't have room for drying racks. With 7 people in the family we do a lot of laundry.

When I first starting cutting back and living frugally I was still buying dryer sheets, however I made them last twice as long my cutting them in half. I took it a bit further and stopped buying dryer sheets and invested in some dryer balls. While they did work well for cutting back my dryer time I was still having issues with static cling. I found an idea online and decided to try my own frugal fabric softener.

The liquid softener works well but not perfect for these really dry winter days. After getting fed up of being shocked every time I folded clothes I went out and bought a box of generic dryer sheets. The static cling was almost completely gone once I started using the sheets again. A few days after using them though one of my boys developed a really bad rash. I quickly discontinued using the sheets and the rash disappeared.

So now we are back to getting shocked every time we fold clothes and having clothes cling to our bodies while we walk. I have tried a few things including vinegar in the rinse cycle and waded up pieces of foil in the dryer. I also just read that you could run a metal hanger along your clothes and that will discharge any electricity. I have yet to try this method.

How do you deal with static electricity?


  1. This sounds nuts- and I thought it would never work--- but it really did. I use nothing in the dyer. Sometimes, depending on fabric, we will have some static on certain items like fleece, but overall we are static free. I use only detergent in the washer and then run the dryer on the lowest heat setting (except for towels). I should mention our basement isn't directly heated, so this might play into it, but I found that we had MORE static when I was using sheets and softeners. Plus, I like the cost of nothing--- it fits into my budget well!

  2. As another family of 7, I understand the amount of laundry, lol! Actually, I'd say we're an ex-family of 7 with my 2 oldest out on their own & #3 in college.

    I line-dry 95% of our clothes year-round by hanging lines in the basement. I've done this for years, even when everyone was still at home. It took planning & doing at least a load every day but worked for us. That really helps add humidity back into the air. I also use vinegar in every load in the rinse cycle.

    Another way to add humidity back into the air is to have pots of water sitting near the furnace vents. This is a trick I learned from my grandmother. I have 2 old crocks near out-of-the way vents (so they don't get knocked over!). As the water evaporates, humidity is added back to the air. I check the pots weekly & add more water as needed.

    It's been a pretty dry winter so far (we're near St. Louis) but luckily I haven't experienced much static electricity. I hope you find something that works for you!

    1. I'm with Kelly. I only put cotton in the dryer and line dry anything synthetic. I don't have static problems.

  3. Wow, I am so glad I came here today. Thanks for the tips on the laundry, etc. I am trying to cut our energy bill, and also I don't like the smell after the dryer. I am going to try your tips: vinegar to rinse and line dry. I do have a lot of laundry every day: my son plays sports, and my husband works in the hospital. Although, he can change in the hospital, he doesn't like the chemicals they use for washing, it gives him a rash.

  4. Something that I've tried a few times and it does seem to work is to make a tight foil ball (just about the size of a golf ball) out of ordinary foil and toss it into your dryer with the wet clothing.

    I'm guessing this has something to do with negatively and positively charged electrons and atoms and all that other stuff I should've paid attention to in science class.

    I too use my own version of homemade fabric softener which seems to do quite well most of the time but in the coldest of winter days, the air seems really dry hence the static electricity.

    Good luck in finding a solution to your clingy issue!

  5. I am going to try a new trick someone posted on another board.. you put a few safety pins on an old sock/rag and toss it in the dryer with the clothes. I have a few old clean holey socks sitting on the counter (I made a pile last week, but they disappeared on me!! I asked hubby and he was taking them!?! He said he was gonna use them in the garage! I thought I was goin' crazy again cause they were disappearing and the kids were clueless and the dryer wasn't talking!). I just need to get the pins on them and try it out! Seems easy enough!

    Currently, we use the spray bottle method. I learned from Bev on the IGDA board. You fill a regular clean spray bottle with water to the neck and add in a capful of liquid fabric softener, close tight and shake! I spray 5 times or so in the dryer right after I put the clothes in. It has been working for us for at least 3 yrs now. We have sensitive skin, too, so I have to be careful. This method doesn't cause any probs for our skin and no static!

  6. I actually hang the laundry outside year round. If you choose a sunny day with temperatures in the 40's or above, it generally dries within a few hours.

    Of course I'm only doing laundry for one person... You might not have the luxury of "choosing a sunny day" with so much laundry to do!

  7. Thanks for all the great tips! I would love to be able to hang my laundry but we are already really tight on space. Poppy, I have tried the foil ball before as well. It did help a little.

    Kelly the pots of water are a good idea. I think my toddler would think that is fun too! LOL. I do need to get a new humidifier, I am sure that would make a big difference.

  8. I haven't tried this since I only use the drier for emergencies (it's not really an "eco" thing for me, I just get a very odd kick out of watching clothes dry... easily entertained, I know.) Anyhow, I seem to remember reading somewhere that if you don't dry the laundry completely out it solves at least some of the problem. I don't think they meant to leave the clothes damp, just to err on the side of less dry rather than more dry. Worth a try...

  9. I have some natural dryer sheets. I'm going to use that tip, and cut them in half to make them last longer!!! Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  10. Static electricity has the hazardous potential of frying computers, obliterating hearing aids and damaging other electrical equipments. It literally gives you a "bad static hair day" and dry "alligator" skin.

    New science reveals, not radiation, but static electricity produced by power lines interferes with the bioelectrical life process causing illnesses cancer and premature aging.