Tuesday, February 6

Dealing with Static Electricity

It's a bit amusing, I suppose, that my issues with static can warrant an entire post, but jokes aside, I hate static! I don't like the way clothes cling to me, how I get a tiny shock every time I touch anything, and how the hair on my legs and arms are constantly on red alert!

This is my second winter in Jersey, and certainly not my first winter at all, so I was wondering why, all of a sudden, static has become such a hindrance.

Naturally the static comes right straight from the washing machine. Every fabric comes out static as hell. And it only just began a few weeks ago. I've been washing clothes in that particular machine for a while now. So I googled around and did some research and it wasn't because of my fleeces or winter clothes. I had assumed it might have been the material that fleeces are made of, but its due to something called the triboelectric effect being enhanced in my home environment. The triboelectric effect is the technical term for stuff rubbing against each other and static charges being exchanged. We've all done those experiments like rubbing balloons on our sweaters in elementary school. Well, that is the effect.

It can be magnified by dry air, which is basically what winter is all about. Winter, coupled with my central heating system, really creates a dry environment, which is ideal for charge transfer. Additionally this charge stays on my clothes and sheets for a while too. I thought leaving my shirt for a couple of days would be cool, but, static charge actually hangs out for a while.

Solutions are aplenty as well. An industrial source recommends rubbing your clothes on metal pipes. Okay...

A more home oriented site recommends rubbing metal hangars on shirts, shaking them after they come out of the drier, or adding vinegar to your wash cycle. Fabric softener, which I had seen people use, but I hadn't until now, is what I use now to eliminate this charge. The problem has pretty much been solved by now, but there are some other things one can do.

Having a moist environment has helped as I bought a air humidifier. Wetness, and humid air dispense electrons at a greater rate from surfaces, hence your bathroom after a shower, or rainy environments aren't conducive to static electricity as this site explains.



chitra said...

The cartoon is hilarious!!! :D

Malissa said...

haha, you're cute.