Despite being somewhat dangerous and your worst enemy in winter, static electricity can be quite fun. Big hair, surprise shocks, biggest shock contests and skirts that cling to your thighs (okay, it's mostly fun). When you've reached your quota for static electricity excitement, there are several simple ways to live a shock-free life. (Well, electrically speaking anyway.)
- Skill level:
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Dig out the old humidifier! Most people use humidifiers for infants or asthma-prone kids, but these quiet machines can be incredibly helpful in the dry winter months. Static comes when there is a lot of dry air--use the humidifier to pump much needed moisture into the rooms of your house or business.
Moisturize your body. The air is not the only thing that's dry! Hand or body lotion after the shower will keep your dry skin from picking up shocks.
Touch metal to metal. Sick and tired of being shocked by the doorknob, the kitchen faucet or the towel rack? Sacrifice another metal element to the charge rather than your body. For example, if you open a door, stick your key in the lock before turning the knob. The metal on metal will take on the shock, leaving you alone.
Be anti-static. This step is better utilized at work, but applies to any environment. Buy anti-static mats and rugs and keep anti-static spray handy for an shock-free office.
Go on a shopping spree. Well, not exactly. The truth is, static is much more attracted to synthetics. If your closet has a serious lack of natural fiber clothing, it looks like you will get that shopping spree after all! The same can be said of PJs and bed sheets. If you're tossing and turning like a mosquito in a light zapper, try wearing cotton PJs to bed or...dare it be said...nothing!
Rub it out. Dryer sheets are rumored to be wonderful eliminators of static electricity. Got some shocking panty hose? Give them a few swipes with a dryer sheet. Sneak a fresh dryer sheet into your winter coat to avoid sparks from handshakes. This may also help when you're getting in and out of a car. And the best use for a dryer sheet? Rub a USED dryer sheet over your television screen to reduce static electricity and keep dust away!
Tips and warnings
- Work at a business that has a particularly bad static problem? Shop online for special "conductive" shoes.
- Cancel the potential shock by touching metal before you work on a computer. It's not likely that static electricity will harm a computer, but it's wise to take this precaution in the winter before you sit down to type. This same rule can be applied to anything that has a memory card. Ipods, digital cameras, etc. Touch metal before using your gadgets to prevent serious damage. Especially if you're on an airplane.
- Touch metal before filling up your gas can! As with computers, there is a small opportunity for static electricity at the gas pump. Don't take any chances.