9 Easy and Effective Ways to Get Rid of Static in Clothes

updated Jan 5, 2024
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Closeup photo of a few different garments artfully piled on each other.
Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Anna Surbatovich

One of the most frustrating laundry problems you’ll encounter — static — has a surprisingly simple and scientific explanation. “Static electricity can build up between layers of clothing that are rubbing against each other or between your dry skin and the nearest garment, creating an electrostatic charge,” says Frej Lewenhaupt, textile expert and CEO of Steamery, a textile care company. The tumbling action of the dryer, he adds, also causes fabrics to rub against each other and build up electrostatic charges in your clothes.

While folding or putting on staticky clothes can be annoying, this all-too-common laundry problem is also surprisingly simple to deal with.

Ahead, the nine easiest (and most effective) methods for banishing static from your clothes.

Method 1: Add some moisture.

Because static often occurs due to dryness, the simplest method is to dampen the garment. Lewenhaupt suggests spritzing the affected item with a water-based fabric spray, such as this travel-friendly Fabric Spray from Steamery or Downy Wrinkle Releaser. In most cases, hydration should solve the problem (along with adding a fresh scent to your clothes). If you don’t have a dedicated product on hand, you can also rub the affected areas with a damp cloth to relieve the cling. 

Method 2: Press metal on it.

Another one of Lewenhaupt’s go-to methods is pressing a metal object, such as a wire coat hanger or piece of aluminum foil, in between the clinging areas. “The magnetic charge in the metal will disrupt the forces that are causing the cling to happen, thus relieving the garment of static cling,” he says. 

Method 3: Hang your clothes to dry.

There are a few ways to prevent static cling from happening to your clothes in the first place, says Lewenhaupt. The easiest method is to increase the humidity in your home, especially during the winter season when the air is much dryer. One way to achieve this is by letting your clothes air dry on a drying rack indoors rather than in the dryer. Hanging your clothes to dry will both make them last longer and make the air more humid, he says, which will reduce static cling on the clothes. 

Method 4: Use a dryer ball.

If you need to dry your clothes and home textiles in the dryer, make sure to use tumble dryer balls (such as Steamery’s reusable Wool Dryer Balls). This helps separate the clothes and makes the air circulate more evenly in the dryer, which reduces the drying time and prevents static cling.

Method 5: Grab some hand lotion. 

Another quick and easy way to use moisture to tackle pesky static: Rub a little hand lotion on the affected spot (or, if you’re worried about staining, try rubbing body lotion on your skin directly beneath the clingy area of your clothes). Once it dries, the garment should be far less clingy! 

Method 6: Add a damp rag to the dryer.

No dryer balls on hand? Try adding a damp-but-not-sopping rag to the dryer when there are five or 10 minutes left in the cycle. A bit of moisture can keep the air in the dryer from getting too dry, which can contribute to static. 

Method 7: Wear a safety pin on your clothes. 

According to Redditors, a safety pin on your static-affected clothes can help discharge any pesky static (it works the same way as a wire hanger or ball of foil). To keep it discreet, put the safety pin on the inside of your clothes. 

Method 8: Spray it with hairspray.

Hairspray is another quick method for discharging static electricity on fabric. Turn your clothing inside out and, holding the can a foot or so back, lightly spray the material. Allow it to dry fully before putting on your clothes.

Method 9: Keep your home moist.

Again, static happens when the air is too dry, which is all too common in winter. If you’ve tried everything to no avail, consider adding a humidifier or two to your home to keep the air moist — especially when you’re regularly running the furnace.