Static Electricity – refers to the build-up of electric charge on the surface of objects – essentially, when electrons move from one surface to another through contact. If the surfaces are both insulators, they’ll build up an electrical charge. One object will have a positive charge (because it lost electrons) and one will have a negative charge (because it gained electrons). If one of the charged objects then touches a conductor, like a piece of metal, the charge will neutralize itself, causing a static shock.
What does this mean for you? Well, you have a lot of insulators in your home, like the rubber soles of your shoes and that wool carpet in the living room. When you walk on that wool carpet, your body then builds up a charge it can’t get rid of through the insulating soles of your shoes. Then, when you touch that metal doorknob… you know what happens. Dry air is also an insulator, so static electricity is even more common during the dry winter months.
Here are a few ways to help remove static electricity from your life!!
Use a humidifier – Static electricity is more active when the air is dry, especially in the winter months when people heat their houses, further reducing humidity in the air. Increase the humidity in your house and workplace by using a humidifier. The moisture in the air can help reduce static charge from building up.
– Having plants around the house or workplace can help increase humidity as well.
– You can create your own humidifier by simply boiling water on the stove. You can add spices like cinnamon or citrus rinds give off a nice scent while you humidify your house.
Treat your carpets with an anti-static chemical – Most carpet retailers or carpet companies online offer spray treatments to treat rugs and carpets. There are also some carpets that are specifically made to with an anti-static component. Lightly spray your carpet with an anti-static spray, and wait for it to completely dry before walking on it. This will greatly decrease the amount of static electricity you experience after walking on the carpet.
– To make a static reducing spray at home, you can mix 1 capful of fabric softener in a spray bottle of water, shake the mixture, and lightly spray over the carpet.
Rub upholstery with dryer sheet – Rub upholstered furniture or your car seats with dryer sheets to reduce the static buildup on those surfaces. Dryer sheets help neutralize the electric charge.
– Keep your skin moisturized. Rub lotion on yourself when you get out of the shower and before getting dressed, or rub it on your hands intermittently throughout the day.
– Dry skin contributes to static electricity and static shock, so lotions and moisturizers help to prevent static electricity from accumulating on your body
Wear shoes that dissipate static – Wear leather-soled shoes, which are excellent for reducing static shock, rather than rubber-soled shoes, which accumulate and create static electricity.
– Try experimenting with different kinds of shoes to see which shoes create the least amount of static shock. If you can, walk barefoot in the house.
– Add baking soda to the wash. Add ¼ cup of baking soda to your clothes before starting the washing cycle. Baking soda creates a barrier between positive and negative charges from building up and creating static.
– Depending on the size of the laundry load, you may need to adjust the amount of baking soda you add in. For bigger loads you can add about ½ cup of baking soda, and for small loads you can use 1 or 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
– Baking soda is also considered a water softener and a fabric softener.
Attach a safety pin to your clothes – Attach a safety pin to the seam of your pants or at the back neck of your shirt. The metal of the pin discharges the electrical build up in your clothes, preventing static cling and electrical shocks.•
– Attaching the pin at a seam allows you to hide the pin, but still reap its static reducing benefits
Carry around something metal – Always keep some piece of metal on your person, whether it’s a coin, a thimble, or a keychain. Use any of these items to touch the grounded metal surface before you touch it with your skin.
– This is also know as grounding yourself, so you never accumulate electrical charges, but the charges are instead transferred to the metal object.