Static electricity is a sign that humidity levels in your home are low. While this is a normal phenomenon during the winter, having low humidity levels for an extended period can cause shrinking or cracking hardwood floors, sinus issues, and annoying shocks.
Reducing static electricity is an easy endeavor – just put moisture back in the air.
How Static Electricity Works
According to the Library of Congress, static electricity results from an imbalance of negative and positive charges. While an imbalance of ions is a regular occurrence, dry air conditions, like humidity levels below 40%, are the best environments for static build-up.
Steps to Reducing Static Electricity in the Home
Use a Humidifier
In the winter, ideal humidity levels are 30-50%. If you want to eliminate static, keep humidity levels around 40%.
To use a humidifier, fill its tank with water, and set it for the humidity level you’re trying to achieve. It will pump out the appropriate amount of moisture. Many humidifiers also have digital displays showing the current humidity levels in the house.
If your home is extra dry (often the case with wood heat), stay on top of refilling the humidifier’s water tank.
Boil a Large Pot of Water
If you don’t have a humidifier or are only looking to increase humidity levels in the kitchen, boil a large pot of water. The water will release moisture into the air as it simmers.
Keep Your Oil Diffuser Running
Essential oil diffusers work like mini humidifiers – placing moisture and scent in the air. Bring your oil diffuser to your problem area to reduce static build-up. Or, run it in your bedroom at night to prevent dry air that can wreak havoc on your sinuses.
Rub Dryer Sheets Over Upholstery
Dryer sheets reduce static cling. So, if you’re getting shocked every time you sit on your sofa, run a dryer sheet over the upholstery. You can do this for all upholstered items.
Get Some Houseplants
When you water a plant, it releases most of that moisture back into the air. While a single houseplant isn’t likely to increase humidity levels, grouping several can impact the air quality in your room.
The top five plants for increasing indoor air humidity include:
- Spider Plant
- Jade Plant
- English Ivy
- Areca Palm
- Rubber Plant
Other suitable options include the Boston Fern, Lady Palm, Golden Photos, and Peace Lily.
Use an Anti-Static Spray
If you don’t like dryer sheets or don’t have any, consider an anti-static spray. You can find these sprays in several formulas for carpets, upholstery, and even heavy machinery.
Spray carpeted or upholstered areas with the spray, which will counteract static electricity.
make a DIY anti-static spray, add two cups of water and two tablespoons of liquid fabric softener to a spray bottle. Shake to mix. Lightly spray water-safe upholstered items.
Take Your Shoes Off
The friction of most shoes against carpeted areas creates static build-up. There are two ways to combat this: wear shoes with rubber soles or go barefoot.
How to Reduce Static Cling in the Laundry
Static cling happens in the laundry for the same reason it occurs in the home: an imbalance of ions and a lack of moisture. Rayon, polyester, silk, and wool items are most prone to static build-up. These fabrics don’t hold moisture the same way cotton or denim does, making them more likely to cling to other pieces or shock you.
- Use Fabric Softener, Dryer Sheets, or Wool Laundry Balls. All of these products reduce static cling on clothes. If you opt for wool laundry balls instead of traditional fabric softeners, add several to the dryer. The balls will absorb moisture and help keep it in the air as the clothes dry.
- Spray Clothes with Static Guard. You can spray Static Guard on any type of clothing to instantly eliminate static build-up.
- Air Dry Clothes. When you put your clothes in the dryer, they rub together, causing friction and static build-up. Remedy this by hanging your clothes to air dry instead.