I’ve — ZAP! — been getting struck by static electricity all — ZAP! — winter long, it seems. Here are some tips I’ve found to help — ZAP! — deal with it.
1. Use a humidifier
Heating your house keeps the cold out, but it also dries out the air inside, which leads to more static electricity. A humidifier can help reduce static charge from building up moisture in the air.
Instead of buying one, you can make your own by boiling water on the stove. Adding spices such as cinnamon or citrus rind will add a nice scent to your home.
2. Anti-static rug spray
Lightly spray your carpet with an anti-static spray, and wait for it to completely dry before walking on it. Some carpets can be purchased with anti-static elements.
You can make your own spray by mixing a capful of fabric softener in a spray bottle of water. Shake and spray.
3. Rub upholstery with dryer sheets
Dryer sheets help diffuse the static electricity in clothes coming out of the dryer, but they also work on furniture. Rub upholstered furniture or your car seats with dryer sheets to reduce the static buildup.
Dry skin contributes to static electricity, so lotions and moisturizers help to prevent static electricity from accumulating.
Keep your skin moisturized. Rub lotion on when you get out of the shower and before getting dressed, and rub it on your hands intermittently throughout the day.
5. Change your clothes
Some materials can conduct electricity better than others. Switch from wearing synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon to wearing natural fibers, such as cotton. Natural fibers are low static materials.
You can also rub dryer sheets on your clothes, or spritz them with a little bit of hairspray.
6. Choose your shoes wisely
Wear leather-soled shoes, which are excellent for reducing static electricity, rather than rubber-soled shoes, which accumulate and create static electricity. You can also buy grounding straps that attach to your shoe and nullify static electricity.
7. Add baking soda to the wash
Adding a quarter cup of baking soda to your clothes before starting the washing cycle will help nullify static electricity. Baking soda creates a barrier between positive and negative charges from building up and creating static.
For bigger loads you can add about a half cup, and for small loads you can use 1 or 2 tablespoons.
8. Add vinegar to the wash
Speaking of adding things to the wash, when your wash machine is transitioning to the rinse cycle, pause the machine and pour in a quarter-cup of white distilled vinegar. Vinegar serves as both a fabric softener and static reducer in the laundry.
9. Shake it out
As soon as your clothes are finished drying, take them out and shake them. This prevents static electricity from setting in. Or, you can air dry your clothes on a clothesline.
10. Pin it up
Adding a safety pin to your ensemble may not be stylish, but it will help keep you from being zapped. The metal of the pin discharges the electrical build up in your clothes.
Hint: Attaching the pin at a seam allows you to hide the pin, but still reap its static reducing benefits.