It’s that time of year again. . .you can’t walk across a room without feeling an irritating little zap. Today, we have a few easy solutions for how to remove static from your home and your person.
What is static electricity?
Static electricity occurs when electric charges build up on an object’s surface. To understand what causes static, we have to get a little technical. Materials are typically considered neutral because they have an even number of positive and negative charges. When two materials come into contact, electrons can move from one surface to another, causing an imbalance of positive and negative charges—an excess charge on one surface and a negative charge on the other. The imbalance of electric charges will remain on the surface of the object or material until it finds a way to be neutralized, usually through contact with another object.
Why is static worse in winter?
Static grows significantly worse in winter because the air is drier. In the summer, when humidity tends to be higher, the moisture in the air helps dissipate electrons and keeps static electricity at bay. With almost no humidity in the brisk winter air, static electricity has a chance to build up on a variety of surfaces. And the fuzzy knitted sweaters we tend to pile on when it gets cold definitely don’t help! Add dry skin and hair to the equation and it’s no surprise that we become static magnets.
How to Remove Static from Your Home
To keep static electricity to a minimum in your home, you need to put moisture back in the air:
Boil a pot of water on the stove. You might think of this method as a short-term DIY humidifier. Boiling a pot of water on the stove for a couple hours a day a few days a week can help combat static in the air. Just be sure to keep an eye on it and don’t over-rely on this method since it can lead to damage to both your pot and stove.
Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can run for several hours a day, making them a great solution for winter static. If you have a newer furnace, you may even have a humidifier built right into your HVAC system!
Treat carpets. Commercial-grade liquid anti-static treatments are available for carpets in a wide price range for your home’s needs. Be sure to spray them in high-traffic areas where static is most likely to generate, hitting entryways, hallways and common routes through your home.
Rub upholstery with dryer sheets. Besides leaving your clothes smelling extra fresh, a primary purpose of dryer sheets is to add a little moisture to them while they tumble dry, reducing static electricity. It makes sense that they would do the same for any furniture that’s particularly susceptible to static.
Get houseplants. Leafy plants help add moisture to the air and improve overall air quality. Plus, they’re lovely to look at, especially when the weather gets bleak.
How to Remove Static from Your Body
Getting rid of the static in your home will drastically improve things, but here are a few more ways to really safeguard yourself against annoying shocks:
Reduce friction. The key to keeping annoying static shocks away from your person is to cause as little friction as possible. This mostly means you’ll need to be mindful of what you wear, especially on your feet. A key source of friction is carpet. When we shuffle along the carpet, in, say, a pair of thick, fluffy socks, friction tends to build up. It’ll come as no surprise that the best way to avoid friction, and therefore, static electricity buildup from carpet, is to go barefoot.
Wear natural fiber clothes. Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are the worst offenders when it comes to static electricity. It’s not because they create more static electricity. It’s actually because they tend to retain more static electricity. Natural fibers, on the other hand, tend to absorb more humidity from the air. We recommend sticking with cozy cotton.
Moisturize skin regularly. Static charges occur on dry skin for the same reasons they occur in the air—lack of moisture. Since static loves dry skin, the best way to avoid shocks is to add moisture. It’s a good idea to apply a body lotion right after a shower when your skin is still damp. The moisture will improve overall absorption and create a longer-lasting effect.
Use a leave-in conditioner. If your hair is starting to look like a science experiment from all the static, the name of the game is still moisture. Wetting your brush is a quick fix, but once you step outside, all that moisture will get zapped and you’ll be back to square one. Instead, try a leave-in conditioner to lock in long-term hydration. Available in super convenient sprays you can spritz on damp or dry hair, a few quick passes over your head before styling can help keep static at bay all day.
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