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How to get rid of static in clothes

What causes static in clothes, and how can you get rid of it? Learn how to remove static from clothes with our shock-free guide.

Updated

Coloured static clothes hanging up together on a rail

Key Steps

To get rid of static in clothes:

  1. Reduce friction: use fabric conditioner, and air dry rather than tumble drying.

  2. Reduce dryness: use a humidifier on dry days, and spray static clothes with a mixture of water and fabric conditioner.

  3. Use metal to discharge static build-up.

Maybe your clothes keep clinging to you, or to each other. Or maybe your hair reaches for the ceiling if your clothes get anywhere near it. If this sounds familiar, you need to know how to get rid of static in clothes! Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’re talking about here.

What causes static in clothes?

If you want to know how to remove static from clothes, it helps to know how the static got there in the first place.

There are two main culprits responsible for static clothes: dryness and friction. When fabrics rub together, or against your skin, they can build up opposing electric charges: some become positively charged, some negative. If your dress is negatively charged and your socks or skin are positive, they’ll attract each other, just like the negative and positive sides of a magnet.

And that’s what causes your clothes to cling to you, leaving you desperately typing ‘how to remove static from dress’ into the search bar. You’ve basically turned into a magnet for your clothes.

Static has a harder time building up when it’s humid, which is why you’ll notice static clothes more often in dry weather. It also tends to build up more in synthetic fabrics.

If you want to get rid of static in clothes, don’t put natural and synthetic fibres in the tumble dryer together. Cotton’s not particularly prone to static on its own, but high-static polyester is a bad influence.

How to stop static in clothes in the first place

Preventing static build-up in the first place will mean you don’t have to worry about how to get static out of clothes later on. Here are some tips on static prevention:

  1. Use fabric conditioner in your wash.

    Rough fabric is more prone to friction, so something like Comfort Intense Fresh Sky, which smooths and softens, will help to reduce static.

  2. Cut down on the tumble dryer, especially for synthetic fabrics.

    The tumbling effect in the washing machine isn’t going to cause static build-up, as the clothes will be wet. Clothes rubbing against each other when they’re dry is a recipe for static, though.

  3. Alternatively, you could just use the tumble dryer to reduce drying time, without letting the clothes dry completely.

    If you take the clothes out of the tumble dryer and hang them up while they’re still slightly damp, you’re less likely to have static problems.

  4. Determined to tumble your clothes dry?

    Use a Comfort dryer sheet to help reduce static build-up.

  5. Get a humidifier.

    As static builds up more in dry environments, you can help to prevent it by making sure your environment isn’t dry.

  6. Carry a metal paper clip in the pocket of any garment that’s prone to static.

    This will give any electric charge that builds up somewhere to go, so it doesn’t just stay in your clothes. If you’re wondering how to get static out of a dress, skirt or any other item that doesn’t usually have pockets, you can just clip on the paper clip somewhere it won’t be seen.

How to get rid of static in clothes

You may know how to prevent static, but that doesn’t help if the static is already there. Here’s how to stop clothes being static:

  1. Touch some metal to your clinging clothes.

    Running some foil or a wire hanger over the static areas will discharge the electricity.

  2. Use moisturiser or baby powder.

    Apply to the areas of your body that clothes just won’t stop clinging to.

  3. If you’re out and about, you might not have moisturiser or metal to hand, but all you need is access to water.

    Dampen your hands and stroke them over your clothes to reduce any cling.

  4. Try a fabric conditioner solution.

    If you have an empty spray bottle, you can mix eight parts water with one part fabric conditioner (such as Comfort Pure) to make a quick anti-static spray. Give your clothes a blast if they’re clinging. A little hairspray can have the same effect.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

It’s not too hard to get rid of static in clothes. With the use of these tips, you’ll no longer have to live in fear of touching radiators!

Originally published