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Wednesday October 7 2015
6:06 AM EDT

Static - the everyday problem

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Static - the everyday problem

Have you ever opened the dryer to discover your sock clinging to your clothes? Static electricity is an everyday problem.
It’s is caused by the buildup of electrons. As clothes rub together in the dryer these electrons collect, causing the material to have a negative charge. This charge will remain until these electrons are able to move to another surface to neutralize. This can result in a small shock.

Other times the charge can be transferred to your hair, causing it to stand up.

There are many solutions to reduce the static cling from the dryer. The most common solutions are dryer sheets. These sheets are treated with fabric softener. When the dryer heats up, it spreads the fabric softener throughout the load of clothes.

Fabric softener is cationic, meaning it has a positive charge, which binds to the negatively charged fabrics. This will neutralize the charge built up on your clothes and reduce static cling.

A chemical free alternative to dryer sheets are wool dryer balls. These balls of wool help absorb water to significantly reduce drying time. You can also pin a few safety pins on them to reduce the static build up as the metal from the pins will give the electrons a way to discharge. Shocking!

Want to make your own? Roll up balls of natural wool and put them in the dryer for a few washes to felt them. Now you can enjoy your static-free laundry!

Now that's cool science!