Static Cling Is Really Useful Stuff . . .
You can use it to do party tricks, shock family members like you did when you were little (remember footie pajamas?), and even turn your cat into a mobile wallet . . .
But when it comes to laundry, static cling is decidedly not useful. No one likes prying each piece of clothing apart, only to have those pieces stick to them as they try to fold. And although running errands with your five year-old’s undies plastered to your back may make a great story, it’s better if it’s someone else’s story.
Obviously, it’s still preferable to using toxic dryer sheets, which according to this study contain many chemicals not disclosed on the label – even some which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have no known safe exposure level.
I’ve been using wool dryer balls to reduce static for a long time with great results, but depending on your climate that may not be enough. Fortunately, I have a tip that will help you get rid of static cling naturally!
Before I get to that, though, I want to mention one option that definitely works but may have a downside. Back when I was researching DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes, I learned that adding one or two plum-sized balls of tightly rolled aluminum foil virtually eliminates static for a lot of people. I haven’t tried it because:
A) I don’t have any foil on hand
B) I’m not sure how I feel about using it for this purpose. Tin foil leaches into food when heated, so my guess is that some of the aluminum would transfer to clothes. Is that a big deal? I think everyone had to decide for themselves.
If the tin foil option is not for you, I’ve got a tip from Sunny, a crunchy mama from my community back home who happens to have a chemistry chemistry degree and a healthy dose of curiosity.
How To Get Rid Of Static Cling Naturally
Here’s the email Sunny sent me:
“We bought a salt lamp, so I had just been reading on the benefits when the weather turned colder here. I was inspired to see if the same benefits of the lamp worked for our static problem in the clothes dryer, since we don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets. For years, we have just been living with the static. Anyway, I put some rock salt (pink Himalayan) into a bouquet garni bag, threw it in the dryer and IT WORKS! I would say our static is down 95%. Even fleece coats are static free, but weirdly I have one maxi skirt that is still bad. I’ll keep experimenting to see if I can figure that out. But overall it is a win!”
Obviously, I had to know if it would work for me. Since the potami provide me with a nearly endless supply of test material, er, laundry, I got to work right away. I don’t usually have static issues thanks to my wool dryer balls, so I decided to leave them out for a load and test the salt method.
I put my fleece robe in the dryer with a load of clothes to create a nice, staticky mess, then added the salt bag to see if it would make a different. It totally did, though I had to wet the bag a little because moisture seems to bring out the anti-static properties of the salt. Thank you, Sunny!
For those of you who like step-by-step instructions, here you go:
Himalayan Sea Salt Bag For Laundry
- 3-6 tablespoons Himalayan rock salt, depending on how much static you have (this is what I used)
- small 100% cotton drawstring bag (find it here)
1. Place salt inside the bag and seal it. I was a little worried that the bag would open in the dryer so I tied the drawstrings together around the neck.
2. Place himalayan salt bag in with wet clothes and dry as normal. Remove laundry from dryer and set sachet aside for use with future loads.
Why does it work?
We know that “Static cling is when light objects, such as clothing, have opposite static charges. Our clothes have static cling because they were touching in a dry environment (the dryer) and they exchanged electrons. The object that lost electrons became positively charged while the object that gained electrons became negatively charged. And opposites, as we all know, attract.” (source)
Now I’m just guessing, but here’s my theory: When heat and moisture are present, Himalayan salt releases a negative charge. Maybe the presence of salt causes the overall atmosphere of the dryer to be primarily negatively charged, thus reducing or eliminating the “opposites attract” effect.
However it works, the important thing to know is that IT WORKS.
Happy laundry day, y’all!