Static electricity is caused when electrical charges build up on the surfaces of materials or objects. When you pull the items away from each other, such as clothing items in a dryer, it is possible to hear and even see sparks from the electrical discharge. While fabric softener is designed to eliminate static electricity and the "cling" it creates, it may not always be available, or it may cause allergies. Regardless, there are alternatives to eliminating the problem of static electricity.
Items you will need
- Dryer sheets
- Drying rack, clothesline or hangers
- White vinegar or borax
Add a dryer sheet to clothes in the dryer. As clothes tumble in a dryer, clothing surfaces get "charged" with either positive or negative electrons, creating up to 12,000 volts of static electricity, according to Benham Pourdeyhimi, a textile engineer at North Carolina State University. Dryer sheets are treated with positively-charged chemicals that neutralize the negative electrons, eliminating static.
Stop the dryer before clothes are completely dried, allowing them to finish on a line, a drying rack or a hanger. An alternative is to air dry them from start to finish.
Dry natural-fiber clothing separately from synthetic fibers, reducing, if not eliminating, the build-up of static electricity.
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar or borax to the washing machine during the rinse cycle to act as a natural fabric softener, which works to eliminate static electricity.
Run a humidifier in the house in winter. The moisture reduces static electricity and can eliminate it in clothing.
Wearing all-natural fiber clothing can reduce or eliminate static cling.