This world is filled with several wonders, great and small. Different phenomena often happen around us, and some are too little for us to notice. A good example is the production of electricity around us.
We’re often so focused on the main electricity sources and forget that our bodies or clothing can produce some static electricity. Materials like our blankets can build up static charges, especially under dry conditions.
This post will focus on blanket static electricity and methods we can use to remove these static charges.
What Is Static Electricity?
To start our post, we’ll shed a little light on the concept of static electricity. Static electricity refers to charges produced due to an unbalanced system of forces. Every atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
It is a fact that every living and non-living thing is made up of atoms; therefore, we all carry charges. Protons are positively charged, electrons are negatively charged, and neutrons are neutral. Some materials, such as metal or conductors, have receptiveness to electric charges, some are semi-receptive (these are semiconductors), and some have a low affinity (these are non-conductors).
When a surface with a high charge concentration is in contact with another surface of an equal or opposite charge, there is an instant reaction. This is where attraction and repulsion come into the picture.
The term static electricity is based on the method used to generate the charges on a surface. When charges are transferred via friction or rubbing of surfaces, the charges produced are called static electricity.
Most of us have experienced a static shock in several practical instances, but we might have overlooked them. Remember the way your comb attracts pieces of paper after running it through your hair? This is a practical application of static electricity.
These reactions occur because charges on your skin or comb are attracted or repelled by charges on the paper and plastic surfaces. Another relatable example is when you feel slightly shocked by your dry cotton or wool blankets. When you rub tub your sheets together, you’ll hear the blanket static electricity, which sounds like a slight crackling. These materials have gotten electrical charges from other surfaces due to friction.
Is Static Blanket Electricity Harmful?
Depending on the situation, static electricity in your blanket can be completely harmless or incredibly dangerous. Ideally, the shock you’ll get from your bedding is not worth stressing over; at most, you’ll tingle a little. While this is true, it should be noted that sparks can ignite a fire if there is sufficient fuel or highly flammable material nearby.
Aside from the shock or spark, static electricity can cause static cling. Static cling happens when your beddings start sticking together; the attraction between similar charges causes this.
Although we don’t expect you to have a flammable substance anywhere near your bedding, we’ll show you a few steps to remove static charges in your bedding.
How To Remove Static Electricity?
Air Dry Your Laundry
Instead of spin-drying your laundry, it is better to spread them outside. By allowing air to blow your beddings, you can reduce the build-up of static charges. This also removes static cling and leaves your beddings fresh.
Furthermore, air drying sterilizes your laundry to a reasonable degree. This means that simply by air drying, you get fresh, healthier, and static-free laundry.
A Little Extra Moisture
Static electricity thrives with friction; the greater the friction, the more likely electricity will build up. Also, friction is easily generated from rough and dry surfaces; this is why we experience the little shocks more in winter or dry seasons.
You can remove static friction by adding a little moisture to your environment. You can add moisture by using a humidifier in your room. If enough moisture is in the air, your sheets are less likely to cling together.
Moist skin reduces friction, which puts you at a lower risk of being a conductor. A humidifier will also prevent your skin from getting dry. Dry skin is also a source of static electricity; this is why you can feel these little shocks or your hair standing up.
Adopt White Vinegar
White vinegar is a type of natural fabric softener. When you wash your bedding with normal detergents or soap, it tends to stiffen after drying. Stiffened beddings are susceptible to static charging due to friction.
The use of white vinegar ensures your bedding is soft and gentle on the skin after drying. We also recommend using white vinegar instead of your regular fabric softener because it won’t leave a residue on your bedding afterward.
Some Tricks to Try
We have two favorite tricks for eliminating static cling when using the machine to dry.
The first is a little physics trick using foil paper. Get a piece of aluminum foil, roll it up, and drop it into your dryer. The aluminum prevents static charge from building up, and your bedding comes out free of static cling.
Another trick is using a damp cloth. Add a damp cloth when your dryer is almost done with the cycle; the moisture will prevent friction in the dryer.
Dryness Is Not Your Friend
The thing about static electricity is: it takes two to make a charge. We explained earlier that static electricity occurs when two surfaces, charged by friction, come in contact. We also mentioned that every surface could carry a charge, including our skin.
The shock you feel or the hair raising is because your skin has gotten electric charges from another surface. This is why we recommended a humidifier earlier. It is easier to transfer static charges to our skin when it is dry.
Aside from the humidifier, you can try a simpler and more effective method: moisturize your skin. You can use several products to keep your skin layers oily and moist, such as lotions, moisturizers, etc.
Aside from your skin, your hair can also attract charges. You can use hair products to prevent static charge from your comb.
Choose Good Material
Static electricity is greatly dependent on the type of material. Some materials have a high affinity for electric charges, while others are neutral. You can easily skip dealing with static electricity by getting neutral materials.
Beddings made with cotton, polyester, and carbon fibers are resistant to static electricity. Avoid materials like wool, silk, fur, and rayon if you don’t want to bother with a static charge.
Treat Your Bed
Treating your bed means taking measures to dispel any static build-up. There are two quick ways to dispel static build-up; a metal hanger, or moist cloth.
Running a metal hanger over the surface of your bed or beddings draws the static charges out. You won’t have to worry about shocks or static cling when you get into bed.
It should also be noted that running a moist cloth over your bed removes any electric charge and also gives your bed a cool, comfortable sensation.
Adopt Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are a special fabric type containing softeners, lubricants, and scents. These sheets are usually polyester or cellulose fibers.
Dryer sheets are designed to be added to your laundry when washing and releasing their components into the machine. These sheets add softeners to your laundry and also lubricants. The main function of dryer sheets is to prevent static cling when drying your clothes.
The softener softens your laundry, the lubricant prevents static build-up from friction, and the scents are just a bonus for freshness. Using dryer sheets can cut expenses from the separate purchase of softeners and lubricants.
Baking soda is another reliable hack you can use instead of packaged softeners. Applying baking soda to your wash cycle will soften your fabric and prevent friction when drying.
Baking soda is way cheaper and also more available. Furthermore, you can use baking powder for several other things around the house.
All these are steps you can use to prevent or remove static electricity. Let’s answer some FAQs:
Can I Use Baking Soda and White Vinegar In The Same Cycle?
Baking soda contains a component (bicarbonate) that is liberated by the acid group in vinegar, which gives off gas. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar is very reactive, and it can result in an eruption. For safety, never mix baking soda and vinegar inside or outside your washing machine.
Mixing both in your machine can cause an eruption and damage the washer.
What Happens To Static Electricity?
Even if you do nothing, the static charge will eventually run out, except if you recharge them by friction. You can try a small experiment with your comb and a piece of paper. Run your comb through your hair and place it over a piece of paper.
You’ll notice the paper is strongly attracted to the comb at first, but that attraction quickly fades.
Static electricity is derived from the charging of two surfaces by friction. It occurs on surfaces with an affinity for charges such as skin, plastic, wool, silk, glass, and other common materials.
Blanket static electricity is not dangerous; at most, you will feel a slight shock from it. However, it can be inconvenient, especially static cling. We’ve looked at some easy methods to remove static charges from your materials. Learn more here.