Tips to get you through the cold without the cling

When winter announces its arrival with chilly, dry air, get ready to start the months-long battle against clothes sticking to you and everything else. What’s the invisible grabbiness? Static cling.

So what causes static? Without getting too technical, static occurs when two items with opposite electrical charges (one positive, one negative—just like the ends of a battery) rub against each other. The resulting friction generates static electricity and is much more prevalent during the dry winter months than any other time of year.

Luckily, there are many different ways you can take the cling away from static.

9 ways to reduce static cling

Dry synthetic fabrics separately

Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, are more susceptible to static cling than others. And when they meet up with natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, static cling takes hold. If you dry synthetics and natural fibers separately, they don’t have a chance to meet up in the dryer and send shocks through you as you take them out.

Reduce drying time

Quite often, clothes are over-dried, and static thrives on dry fabrics. To prevent this, stop your dryer a little early. Not only will the moisture left in your clothes keep static away, but you’ll start saving on your energy bill by not running your dryer quite as long.

Add a damp washcloth or towel

Throw a damp washcloth or towel with your laundry during the last 10–20 minutes of the drying cycle. This will keep the air just moist enough to break static’s cling.

Use dryer sheets

The simple solution? Just toss in a fabric softener sheet when you dry your clothes.

Use vinegar

Vinegar seems like a strange item to be used to combat the cling, but it’s highly effective. Spray a clean washcloth, sock or other fabric with some white vinegar and throw it into the dryer along with the rest of the laundry. The vinegar will keep the air damp. The good news is that the vinegar smell will disappear as your clothes dry.

Soap nuts

Soap nuts are not really nuts, but rather a type of berry. To use the natural static-busting power of soap nuts, put some in a muslin bag and toss into the washer with your laundry. Because they have natural static-reducing properties, soap nuts eliminate the need for other anti-static products.

Wool dryer balls

If you don’t want to the chemicals in dryer sheets getting on your clothes, try natural wool dryer balls. When several are tossed in the dryer with a load of wet clothes, they absorb moisture and keep the air damp and static-free. Wool dryer balls have other benefits, too: They reduce drying time and automatically fluff your clothes.

Aluminum dryer balls

This may be the oddest solution, but these inexpensive metallic marvels really work. Make two or three tin foil balls about 2–3 inches in diameter (about three or four square feet of foil). As they roll around in the dryer, the foil balls discharge any static that builds up.

Clip on a safety pin

Similar to foil balls, you can attach a metal safety pin to your clothes. This also discharges static build-up. It probably works best on just a few items; otherwise, you could spend a lot of time pinning and unpinning your clothes.

If the clothes you’re wearing start to cling, add a little lotion to the problem area or rub with a dryer sheet. Presto! The cling is gone. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to rid yourself of static—just  a little ingenuity!