Why Some Clothes Cling Together Or The Power Of Physics

The other day a took a stroll with my children to the neighboring park. About ten minutes into our walk (or less), my new multi-layer skirt started to gather at one side. I tried to straighten it out but to no avail. Static! I had no chance against the laws of physics at the moment and had to concede.

What is static?

Static is a force that is best demonstrated by the hair-ballon trick. I am sure you had experienced it when you were a child. Rub a balloon against your clothes, then bring it closer to your hair. The hair will immediately move towards the balloon.

How does static happen?

Static electricity occurs when two items (in my case, two pieces of material) rub against each other, causing a transfer of electrons. Object A gets charged with negative electrons, while object B gets charged with positive electrons. The two oppositely charged objects (two pieces of material) cling to each other, causing my skirt's layers to stick together.

The static build-up does not disappear with time. The two objects have to touch an electrically conductive material like water or metal to release static build-up.

How To Avoid Static

Thankfully, there are a few ways to get rid of or prevent static cling.

  • Antistatic Spray:

The most effective way (in my mind) is to spray an antistatic solution on an item (per product instructions). I find it highly useful and easy to do as long as you have a spray on hand.

  • Water:

Water is a highly conductive material. Spray or sprinkle water on your clothes, and you will have temporary relief.

  • Hair Spray:

I have never sprayed hair spray on my clothes, but a few blogs swear by this trick. Worth the try when you are out of options.

  • Dryer Sheet:

A dryer sheet is an excellent idea! All you need to do is rub a dryer sheet against your clothes to protect them from static.

  • Metal Hanger:

Sliding a metal hanger against clothes will remove static since metal is highly conductive.

  • Safety Pin:

A few blogs suggested wearing a safety pin. I will be testing this theory next time I wear my multi-layer skirt!

What materials are prone to static cling?

Synthetic materials, silk, and wool are prone to a static electricity build-up.

If you rather not deal with static, then opt-out for cotton or rayon material. Both materials do not have static charges and therefore do not have a static cling problem.


Now you know probably more than you need about static electricity. But I bet you this knowledge will be instrumental one day!


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