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How to Diffuse Static Electricity

Updated April 17, 2017

Static electricity is an electric charge stored on the surface of certain objects. Static electricity builds up when electrons from one surface move to another during contact, like when you rub a balloon against your head. This leaves a charge on the materials. The shock of static electricity comes when the built-up charge is neutralised when the charged material is brought into contact with a material of opposite charge and a brief electrical current flows through the charged material. Diffusing static electricity is a matter of removing a material's ability to hold an electric charge.

Fill a small spray bottle about three-quarters full with water.

Add a full cap of fabric softener liquid to the spray bottle. Shake until well mixed.

Spray the mixture onto affected areas of clothing and onto carpets to diffuse present static electricity and prevent more from storing up. Repeat, as necessary.

Use hair conditioner, in addition to your normal shampoo, to add moisture to your hair, reducing the amount of static.

Use hats made from cotton or other non-wool headwear as wool generates static electricity through friction.

Spray hairspray into your brush before combing to help neutralise any static charges in your hair.

Touch a metal car door handle with your keys before opening the door.

Touch a metal door handle inside your car before sliding across the seat to ground yourself and discharge any built-up static electricity.

Wear non-synthetic fibres like cotton instead of polyester or nylon as synthetic material generates far more static charge than natural fabrics.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 small spray bottle (optional)
  • 1 cap filled with fabric softener liquid (optional)
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About the Author

Luc Braybury began writing professionally in 2010. He specializes in science and technology writing and has published on various websites. He received his Bachelor of Science in applied physics from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.