How to Get Rid of Static (and Why It May Not Matter So Much)

Rumor has it, the royals prefer static. But if you don't, we have several hacks to try.

A woman wears a printed midi dress

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If there’s anything on par with a head of staticky hair, it's static-ridden clothing. When fabrics rub up against each other, the friction creates an electrostatic current, which then translates to the irritating clinginess of a blouse or skirt. This typically occurs in the dryer, when your laundry is being bounced and tossed together in a compact machine. Popping a dryer sheet or two into the load can help, but it’s not foolproof, so you’ll want to learn how to get rid of static post-wash and dry, too. 

Fortunately, just as there are tricks to getting stains out of clothes, there are several quick and effective ways to get rid of static when faced with a case of cling. And while social media can be a goldmine of helpful tips, we asked professionals in the fashion space to share their go-to methods for eliminating static ASAP, below.

Stock Up on Dryer Sheets and Foil Sheets

Stylist Lindsey Dupuis Bledsoe tells InStyle not to knock the age-old dryer sheet hack, though she does note foil sheets work just as well. All you have to do to mitigate the static cling is rub either one along the problem area, and voilà. 

“I keep a few sheets of both in my styling kit because even though I have a can of static guard, if the clothing is already on it's usually more comfortable to attack it with a sheet rather than an aerosol,” she says. 

Opt to Air Dry

Founder of Current Boutique, Carmen Lopez, a retail and textile expert, tells InStyle that instead of transferring your load of laundry into the dryer post-wash cycle, an eco-friendly way to eliminate static electricity is to air dry your clothing outside using a clothesline or indoor drying rack. “The result of air drying is zero static cling,” Lopez says. Plus, ”You save energy at the same time, a win-win.“

Make Sure to Moisturize 

Over the years, Dupuis Bledsoe had a revelation that static tends to form in drier climates and that humid conditions can lower electric charges. Her solution? Moisturizing her legs (and other areas static clothing will be touching) to reduce the likelihood of clinging. Another win-win in our book.

Give Steaming a Try

On the subject of moisturizing, Lopez adds that another way to increase the moisture in the air and your clothing is to use a quality steamer, or hang your garments in the bathroom while you take a shower. The mixture of water and steam “will help remove the static electricity,” she reaffirms.  

Conair handheld steamer

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Shop now: Conair Handheld Garment Steamer for Clothes ($29)

Put a Pin in It (Literally)

Metal is supposed to help discharge electricity, so in addition to using wire hangers (and running them over your clothes before changing), Dupuis Bledsoe recommends hiding a safety pin near your problem area for good measure. Science and fashion, best of friends.

Add a Few Ice Cubes to Your Drying Cycle

Nope, this isn’t a joke. According to Lopez, placing your garment in the dryer with a few ice cubes can help remove static in the machine. “Throw three or four ice cubes into your dryer along with the staticky clothing and the steam from the melting ice cubes will function as a natural static remover,” she explains. “The ice cubes will melt in the dryer and will create steam that will remove static.”

DIY Your Fabric Softener 

A concoction of vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil makes for a great fabric softener alternative that’s all-natural, plus the vinegar will protect clothing from static cling, Lopez tells InStyle.  “And don’t worry about the vinegar smell,” she says. “It will dissipate during washing.”

Shop Sustainable

Natural fabrics such as silk, cashmere, wool, cotton, and linen have less static cling than synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, Lopez tells InStyle. “You may want to consider switching to natural fabrics from consignment stores,” she says, noting this option is not only great for the environment, “but [your clothes will] last longer than materials made from fast fashion.”

But Remember, Static May Come in Handy

Kate Middleton in a printed midi dress

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Rumor has it, the British royals actually embrace static — and Dupuis Bledsoe says it makes sense. “Static can be your friend on a windy day,” the stylist tells InStyle, nodding to the fact that if your clothes are sticking to you, they aren’t flying this way and that way. “If you aren't looking to have a Marilyn Monroe moment, you may want to leave the safety pins and dryer sheets at home.”

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