How to Prevent Static in Laundry

Three Methods:Using Sprays and Liquids to Prevent StaticPreventing Static By Adjusting the Washing and Drying ConditionsPreventing Static With Dryer Additives

Static cling on laundry can be a big inconvenience. Dealing with static cling on clothes can be an irritating part of doing laundry. Preventing static cling, however, can be achieved both before and after you do the laundry with sprays, implements, and a basic understanding of how static cling occurs.

Method 1
Using Sprays and Liquids to Prevent Static

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    Add vinegar to the laundry after the rinse cycle. Simply pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the laundry load during the rinse cycle and your clothes should come out clean and static free. This is an especially good choice for cotton clothing or sheets, but it doesn’t do as well with fleece or polyester.[1]
    • The vinegar will also keep soap residue off the clothes as they’re rinsed.
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    Use post-laundry sprays which reduce static cling. A popular product known as Static Guard is one such product which can eliminate static charge in clothes after they dry. Sprays contain special compounds which discharge static electricity in clothes. They can be applied to freshly cleaned clothes to make them static-free. Simply point the nozzle at the article of clothing in question and squeeze the top. A mist of aerosolized liquid will eject from the can.
    • If you don't want to purchase a spray, you can create one at home by mixing fabric softener and water in a spray bottle. Approximately one bottle cap of fabric softener mixed into a standard-size spray bottle will create an effective homemade substitute for Static Guard and similar products.[2]
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    Use fabric softener. Fabric softeners are liquid concoctions of chemicals used to make fabric softer. They impart a pleasant odor to your clothes and are capable of preventing static cling in laundry as well. Popular brands include Downy, Bounce, and Snuggle. Each softener has directions on the back of the container. Generally, you must pour them into your washing machine during the rinse cycle, then allow the cycle to run as normal.[3]
    • Check your washing machine for a built-in fabric softener dispenser. If it has one, pour the fabric softener into it so that the fabric softener will be automatically dispensed into the washing machine at the right time. If there’s no such dispenser, you can simply add the liquid to the washing machine itself after adding the clothes.
    • You can also purchase laundry detergent with fabric softener added to it. This type of detergent provides the same results that a fabric softener does, without adding the extra step of having to manually pour fabric softener into your machine.
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    Spray distilled water on your clothes after they come out of the dryer. Spraying a fine mist of distilled water across the surface of the clothes as they come out of the dryer will prevent them from being too dry and sticking to each other or other surfaces, which can lead to the buildup of static charge. Fill a standard size spray bottle with distilled water and give the handle one good pump across the surface of your clothes from a distance of approximately two feet.

Method 2
Preventing Static By Adjusting the Washing and Drying Conditions

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    Line-dry your clothes. Air-drying can prevent static cling altogether. If you have to use a dryer, take your clothes out of it as soon as they are sufficiently dry or while they are still slightly damp. Over-drying your clothes can lead to static cling.
    • Static electricity is a product of friction between two electrically insulating materials. The ideal environment for static electricity to emerge is one in which conditions are dry with little humidity. In other words, the dryer is the ideal place for static energy to emerge.[4]
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    Separate clothes by material. Some materials are morel likely to build up static electricity than others.[5] Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, rayon, and acetate tend to develop high levels of static cling after washing. Natural fabrics like cotton, wool, linen, and silk, on the other hand, tend to stay relatively static-free. Washing and drying natural and synthetic fibers in the same cycles can result in static cling on all your clothes, so it’s a good idea to wash them separately.
    • Alternately, you could choose to dry the natural materials in the machine and dry the synthetic materials on the line.[6]
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    Use a humidifier.[7] A damp environment prevents clothes from sticking to each other as much as they do when they are very dry. While letting your clothes dry on the rack or on the line, run a humidifier. A humid atmosphere makes the air more conductive than the clothes for the buildup of static charges, which essentially makes the clothes a less attractive target. Running a humidifier during especially dry seasons like winter will also prevent buildup of static electricity on your clothes and body.
    • A drying rack is a small rack of wood or plastic with several parallel rungs upon which clothing can be set to dry.
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    Limit the amount of time your clothes spend in the dryer. Instead of letting them run the full hour-long cycle, let them run only 45 minutes. Remove them and hang them on hangers or a washing line to dry the rest of the way. You’ll save money by running the machine for a shorter period and reduce your carbon footprint in addition to limiting the static cling of your clothes.

Method 3
Preventing Static With Dryer Additives

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    Place a dryer sheet in your dryer. Dryer sheets contain positively-charged ingredients which are released only when in the presence of static electricity. Their presence ensures electrical charges will be neutralized. To use dryer sheets, simply place one (or two for large loads) on top of wet clothes in the dryer before running it.
    • Dryer sheets do more than just remove static. They also lend a pleasant, fresh fragrance your laundry.
    • You can also use laundry sheets to “wipe away” static after your clothes come out of the dryer. You can rub them on your clothes after you’ve dressed if you’re still experiencing static cling.[8]
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    Attach some safety pins to your clothes before putting them in the dryer. Adding two safety pins to a sock will channel the static electricity into the pins. Think of them as a lightning rod for static charges in the dryer.[9] Attach the safety pins to the sock when the clothes are wet and being transferred from the washer to the dryer.
    • A similar method which operates on the same principle is to rub a metal hanger across the surface of each item of clothing after removing it from the dryer. While this is time consuming, it will effectively discharge static charges which accumulate during the drying cycle.
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    Consider using dryer balls. These are small balls of foil, plastic, or wool which, when placed in a dryer with your clothes, reduce static cling. Since static develops from the friction of clothes rubbing against each other, adding an object like a dryer ball to the mix can add a layer between clothes which prevents them from accumulating the electrical charge which causes static. Other benefits of dryer balls include keeping your clothes separated and fluffy.
    • You could, instead of using a commercial or homemade dryer ball, use a tennis ball or even some clean, soft sneakers.[10]
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    Use an aluminum foil ball. While similar to the dryer ball, the aluminum foil ball actually works on a different principle, and causes the static to accumulate in the aluminum foil ball, not in the clothes. Using regular aluminum foil of the variety commonly found in kitchens, cut about three or four square feet of aluminum. Crunch it loosely into a rough ball, then smooth it in your hands by rolling it between your palms until it becomes rounded. Each should be two to three inches across when finished. Toss three or four balls in the dryer along with your clothes.[11]
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    Wash your laundry with soap nuts. Soap nuts are a type of berry which possesses anti-static properties. To use soap nuts, drop a handful (5-6) in a muslin bag. Tie it off and drop it into the regular laundry load before starting the washing machine.
    • When using soap nuts, you can eliminate or reduce the volume of detergent used since the soap nuts (as their name suggests) also act as an effective laundry soap in addition to being an excellent static eliminator. Be sure to use them with hot water for best results.[12]


  • Fabric softener is also available in ball form.
  • If you don't have fabric softener on hand, you can substitute it with baking soda, borax, or white distilled vinegar.

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Categories: Laundry