How to avoid static electricity shocks this winter

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The dry air and cold weather during winter months cause an increase in static electricity in your home, causing your clothes to stick and your hair to stand on end. What is static electricity all about and why is it worse in the winter?

How static electricity gets started

Everything is made of atoms which consist of protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons carry a positive charge while electrons carry a negative charge. When two objects rub together, the electrons from one object can be knocked off and pulled onto the other causing it to become charged. If your hand has become charged from excess electrons, you’ll feel the shock of static electricity as those electrons try to “jump” off your hand back to where they belong.

Why it’s worse in winter

Normally in the summer, the humidity in the air helps dissipate these negative charges. During the winter months, there’s less water in the air and charged objects are more likely to be dissipated by your touch. Here are some ways to minimize your encounters with static electricity in your daily routine:

Home remedies for static electricity

  • If you have a humidifier in your home, raise the humidity level. The water particles emitted from the humidifier will quickly break up the static charges throughout objects in your home. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can boil water on your stove and add a spice like cinnamon or citrus to help reduce the static charges nearby. Indoor plants are another great way to bring moisture to your home.
  • Your carpet can act as a main conductor for static electricity. Socks or shoes rubbed across the carpet create large amounts of static electricity. Static Guard is a commercially sold product that fights against static on carpet, however, mixing one cap-full of fabric softener into a spray bottle full of water will produce the same effect. Shake the mixture and spray lightly on carpet for static protection.
  • Nothing can be more frustrating than static clinging to your clothes. One solution is using dryer sheets to minimize the amount of fabric contact during the drying process. If your clothes are already washed, rub dryer sheets on them to reduce the amount of static.
  • Glide the bottom portion of a metal clothes hanger across your clothes, this removes the static immediately.
  • Toss a damp wash cloth into the dryer for the last 10 to 20 minutes of the drying cycle to prevent the air inside the dryer from becoming too dry, which creates more static.
  • Static electricity brings an added dimension to a “bad hair day,” however, solutions do exist. Use a rich conditioner to add moisture and reduce the amount of static that clings to your hair.
  • When brushing your hair, lightly spray hairspray onto your comb to reduce the static currently in your hair.

What are some other ways you avoid static electricity in your home and throughout your daily activities during dry, cold months? Leave your response in the comments.

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