5 Tips to Tame Static

As anyone who has had their favorite dress cling to their legs or gotten "shocked" opening a door can attest, static electricity is a common (and annoying) fact of life. Static builds from friction between two surfaces—think of how rubbing a balloon on your head makes your hair stand up. Common causes include shuffling across a rug, wiggling against a car’s fabric seats, or tumbling clothes in the dryer. Minimize the static in your life with these helpful tips

1. Use a humidifier. Static is more common when the air is dry, particularly during winter. Turning on a humidifier will add moisture to the air of a room or building, lowering the chance of friction that causes static electricity to build.

2. Control flyaway tresses with conditioner. The more dry or damaged hair is, the more static-prone it becomes. Try a conditioner specifically formulated for dry or damaged hair; many feature specific ingredients that neutralize the electrical charges on hair that create static. Products with silicone can also help, as will using a natural-bristle brush instead of a synthetic one.

3. Change your shoes. Rubber-soled shoes accumulate electrical charges as you walk on carpets (especially synthetic ones), which is why you get zinged when you touch the doorknob on the way out of your house. Consider switching to leather shoes or tread barefoot indoors.

4. Blame your car. The friction from clothes rubbing against fabric seats builds up an electrostatic charge. You won’t realize it until you step out and touch something metal (or another person). Try this trick: You can “discharge” pent-up static electricity by tapping your vehicle’s door with the metal tip of your car key.

5. Use fabric softener (and dryer sheets). Ever leave the house with a sock clinging to your sweater? Clothes pick up static from bumping against each other in the dryer. The fix is simple: Reduce static with a liquid fabric softener, or toss a dryer sheet in with each load. Both products prevent static from building up in the first place, thus keeping your clothes cling-free and softer feeling.