How to Get Rid of Static Cling: 12 Tricks Backed by Science

Laundry Sauce Dryer Sheets

The fastest way to get rid of static cling is to dampen your clothes with a bit of water or static-reducing spray. To prevent the root cause of static cling, toss a dryer sheet or dryer balls in with your clothes before drying them.

 

If you’re reading this, chances are static cling is sabotaging your clothes, towels, and bedsheets. Maybe you’re folding laundry fresh out of the dryer or slipping into your date night outfit—either way, that fabric is clinging like a desperate ex on social media.

Luckily, you can stop (and prevent) static cling with a few household hacks. But before we dive into those, a quick science lesson on where static cling comes from.

When certain fabrics rub against each other, it causes a transfer of electrons—some are positively charged, others are negatively charged. When oppositely charged electrons meet, they “shock” you. However, if those charged electrons aren't strong enough, they cling. 

Static cling is usually more noticeable in the winter, for two reasons:

  • Commonly worn fabrics like wool and polyester are more prone to static electricity
  • Low humidity in houses makes it easy for static electricity to build up

In this article, we’ve got all the tips you need to stop static cling in the dryer and while you’re wearing clothes.

How to Get Rid of Static Cling In the Dryer

Between hot air and constant friction from clothes tumbling together, your dryer creates the perfect storm for static cling. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of static electricity during the dry cycle.

1. Use Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets have a light coating of heat-activated fabric softener that deposits onto your fabrics as they dry. For a standard-sized load of laundry, toss in one dryer sheet before you start the dry cycle. This should minimize static cling and infuse your laundry with a luxurious scent.

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2. Use Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls naturally absorb moisture during the drying cycle. By holding onto a little bit of moisture, dryer balls prevent clothes from over-drying, which is a root cause of static cling. Depending on the size of your laundry load, 3-6 dryer balls should be enough to prevent static cling.

Grab a six-pack of XL wool dryer balls and see why balls are better.

3. Separate Your Natural Fabrics and Synthetic Fabrics

​​Separating natural fiber fabrics from synthetic fiber fabrics in the dryer minimizes the friction between materials that have different static tendencies.

Natural fibers (like cotton or wool) have different static properties than synthetic fibers (like polyester or nylon). By drying them separately, you reduce the chances of electrons transferring between them. 

On the flip side, fabrics with similar static properties rubbing against each other are less likely to generate an electrostatic charge.

4. Use Fabric Softener

Liquid fabric softener contains special compounds called catatonic surfactants. These add a thin, invisible layer on the surface of fabrics, making them smoother. This reduced friction between fibers helps prevent the buildup of static electricity once you put your clothes in the dryer.

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5. Don’t Overdry Your Clothes

Zapping every last drop of moisture from your laundry makes it more prone to static cling. That’s because over-dried clothes generate more friction as they tumble in the dryer, leading to a greater transfer of electrons between the fabrics.

Instead, take your clothes out of the dryer while they’re still slightly damp. It may sound counterintuitive, but this trick will reduce static, wrinkles, and your energy bill.  

Alternatively, you can dry your clothes on a lower temperature setting.

6. Hang-Dry Your Clothes

Hang-drying or air-drying your clothes naturally prevents static cling—here’s why:

  • Your clothes retain a natural level of moisture and dry slowly, helping static charges to disappear
  • Air-drying eliminates friction between fabrics
  • Air-drying doesn’t require heat, which increases the chances of static cling

If you don’t have an outdoor clothesline, you can use an indoor drying rack or simply hang them on hangers.

7. Humidify Your Home 

Humidity is static cling’s worst enemy. If the air in your house is dry, try a humidifier. The increased moisture will help neutralize electrical charges on your clothes and make fabrics less likely to cling together when you’re folding laundry.

How to Get Rid of Static Cling While Wearing Clothes

Ever notice your pants stuck to your socks? Or felt like you were walking through an electric fence when you slipped into your sweater? If so, you’ve fallen victim to static cling. Here are some easy hacks to get rid of static on the go.

1. Dampen Your Clothes with Water

The quickest (and easiest) way to instantly get rid of static is to lightly wet your hands and glide them over the affected area. The moisture will neutralize the static charge.

2. Use Static Reducing Spray

Anti-static sprays disrupt the buildup of static charges on the fabric's surface. This prevents your clothes from clinging to themselves or other surfaces. If your outfits are notoriously prone to static, you can keep a travel-sized can in your car.

3. Use a Metal Clothes Hanger

Metal is a great conductor of electricity—it basically absorbs static electricity on contact. One way to take advantage of this trick is to run a wire hanger along your clingy clothing to neutralize the charges. 

It doesn’t have to be a hanger—any metal object like a safety pin or aluminum foil will work too.

4. Moisturize Your Skin

If your skin is dry, there’s a higher chance your clothes will cling to you. Applying moisturizer or lotion will increase the surface humidity of your skin to stop static. This is especially important during the winter months or if you live in a super dry climate. 

5. Spritz Some Hairspray

Hairspray isn’t just good for holding your hairdo in place—it can be an easy trick to stop static cling in a pinch. That’s because hairspray contains polymers and resins that form a thin film on the fabric. 

Pro tip: Before you douse your entire outfit with hairspray, try it on a small, inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t harm the fabric.

Say Goodbye to Static and Hello to Sophisticated Fragrances

For decades, stopping static also meant making your clothes smell synthetic (we’re looking at you, “spring breeze.”)

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