Static cling can be annoying, but the good news is that it’s easy to fix. You know you’re dealing with static cling when your clothes or blankets are clingy and crackly—you might even see electrical sparks coming off the fabrics. Static cling can make your clothes look bunched and rumpled, which is the last thing you want when trying to put forth a polished appearance. Read on to learn more about static cling and what you can do about it.
Static cling is caused when fabrics rub up against one another and develop electrostatic charges. This often happens in the dryer, thanks to the agitation and heat. Cold, dry air makes static electricity worse, which is why this issue is worse in the winter. In the more humid months, there’s less static cling because water molecules prevent electrical charges from gathering. Now that you know what causes static cling, let’s take a look at how to prevent it.
There are multiple ways to remedy static cling and prevent it from occurring. Try static-busting strategies to discover which ones work best for you. Here are five ways to help you keep your clothes, fleece blankets, and other fabric items free from static:
One way to prevent static cling is by leaving your clothes ever-so-slightly damp. Stop the dryer before the clothes are 100% dry, which leaves a bit of moisture in the fabric. You don’t want the fabric to be wet against your skin—only damp enough to prevent static electricity. It doesn’t take much moisture to make a difference, so experiment with dryness levels to find what works for you. In addition to reducing static electricity, drying your laundry for a shorter time may also help you save energy.
We’ve all seen dryer sheets on store shelves. If you’re wondering if they work, the short answer is “yes.” These handy sheets go in the dryer before you turn it on and help prevent and neutralize static electricity for little-to-no cling. Some of your pieces may cling to the dryer sheet or have a little crackle to them—if this occurs, add fabric softener to your rinse cycle to further reduce static buildup. If you don’t have fabric softener, try doubling up on dryer sheets—especially for large loads.
Using dryer balls is a time-tested method for eliminating static cling. Often, dryer balls are made from compressed wool. This material is natural and eco-friendly, and it helps absorb moisture to dry your clothes quickly while reducing the likelihood of static cling.
If you find that wool dryer balls leave a lint residue, plastic and rubber dryer balls might be a better pick. Their textured exteriors, such as spikes or bumps, can separate fabrics and prevent the accumulation of static electricity.
Another way to prevent static cling is by line drying your clothing and bedding. Whether you’re drying duvet covers, bath towels, or clothing, you can cut down on cling by hanging the items outside on the clothesline. Some items can be draped over the line, while others will need to be secured with clothespins. You’ll find that most fabrics are dry within a few hours of being hung on the line, or possibly faster if it’s a warm, breezy day.
Washing different fabrics separately can also go a long way toward preventing static cling. For example, wash all your women’s jeans in one laundry load and your tops in another. Keeping bed sheets and towels separate may also be helpful. Your washing machine may have different settings for different fabrics; using these settings can further improve your results. Wash delicate materials such as crepe or silk in a lingerie bag, and use the delicate cycle on your washer. Because these items are relatively thin and light, they can be air-dried instead of being tumbled in the dryer.
Another way to avoid static cling is to choose fabrics with an anti-static finish. There are casual and dressy tops and bottoms with anti-static and anti-wrinkle finishes. These include slacks, men’s and women’s polo shirts, skirts, and dresses. You’ll even find sweaters crafted from a high-performance acrylic/nylon blend, which resists the accumulation of static electricity and is even anti-pill thanks to the high-twist yarn. These sweaters come in an array of colors and look stylish with everything from skinny jeans and jeggings to slacks or mid-length skirts.
With these strategies, it’s easy to fix and prevent static cling. Whether you use dryer sheets, balls, fabric softener, or apparel with an anti-static finish, you’ll look and feel more confident without static electricity buildup.