A Laundry Experiment — 10 Ways to Reduce Static Cling

posted by Andrea | 02/14/2011

Over the past several weeks I’ve noticed our clothes seem to have lots of static cling. We’ve literally been “shocking” ourselves everytime we get dressed!

I didn’t know if it was the new house, the new furnace, the new washer and dryer, or just dry West Michigan winter weather…but I knew it needed to change.

So, I conducted a little laundry experiment…

What is Static Cling?

The following is a direct quote from WhatIsStaticCling.com:

“Static cling is a property of substances that make them cling to each other because of opposite electrical charges. When the conditions are dry and two different kinds of materials come in contact with each other, sometimes there is an exchange of electrons between the two substances. This exchange of electrons leaves one substance with a positive charge and the other with a negative charge. Basic laws of science state that unlike charges attract, thus the two substances will attract one another, which is termed as static cling.”

So to put it simply:

When conditions are very dry {like in a dryer} and two materials are are rubbed together {like in a dryer} electrons can cause those two materials to stick together — a.k.a. Static Cling.

How can you eliminate Static Cling?

Good Question! I asked about static cling on Facebook a week ago and got all kinds of great ideas to try.

So this past week I did about 347 loads of laundry in order to try out each of the suggested methods. I washed everything from rugs, towels, sheets, and blankets, to sweaters, dress pants, and even winter coats. I learned a ton about static cling and am fully caught up on all our laundry!

The following is a list of ideas given to me via Facebook. Some of them worked better than others, and many of them are FREE!

1. Humidifier: Using a humidifier can help reduce static cling by making your home “less dry” — but it’s not the most practical, especially for dry Michigan winters.

2. Lotion: rubbing lotion on your legs and arms before getting dressed really helps to reduce static cling. I also tried putting lotion on my hands right before folding the laundry, which seemed to help.

3. Hair Spray: If you’re wearing something with static cling, simply spray a bit of hairspray on that area. Problem fixed! I was a bit hesitant to try this because I thought it would make my clothes sticky, but it didn’t.

4. Dryer Sheet: Keep a few extra dryer sheets in your purse or car and rub them on areas of clingy clothing. I use this method whenever my skirt or dress clings to my tights. {I’ve been doing this forever and it’s always been a quick fix}

5. Damp Rag: Put a damp rag into the dryer at the end of the dryer cycle. I was surprised that this method did work pretty well, however our fleece items still were pretty staticy.

6. Hanging Clothes to Dry: This obviously doesn’t work as well in the winter…and I also don’t like the feeling of my clothes when they hang to dry, but it’s a great eco-option that DOES help to reduce static cling.

7. Dryer Balls: I tried these dryer balls but they really didn’t seem to help with our static cling issue. I gave them a really good effort, but they are now at the bottom of my Goodwill bag!

8. Tin Foil: I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous to try this method. Something about putting tinfoil in the dryer just doesn’t sound like a smart idea…but I tried it. And I it did help.

9. Safety Pins: Seriously, I had never heard of this before, but I gave it a shot, and it worked REALLY well. All I did was pin two safety pins on two different items in the dryer and everything came out static free!

10: Vinegar: I’ve actually been using vinegar for the last couple of weeks so I know it works well. Just pour about 1/4 c. of white vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser on your washing machine. You should have no need for a dryer sheet — and NO, you can’t smell the vinegar. {if you’re interested, here are 9 other uses for vinegar.}

What worked the best?

Hands down, the best solution {in my opinion} is combining the vinegar and the safety pins. After about 286 loads of laundry, that combo seemed to work the best. Plus, it’s  eco-friendly — and practically free!

Another thing I learned is that using less detergent and washing your clothing less frequently also helps to reduce static cling.

Did I miss something?

What are your best static cling solutions?

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  1. Julia


    Washing machine detergent and vinegar mixture will remove the static cling much easily with the washing machine.


  2. rachel


    You seriously did 347 loads of laundry? How do you even have enough things to DO that many loads in one week?! Did you wash everything separately? ;)