Dryer static, also known as static electricity, occurs when friction between fabrics generates an imbalance of electric charge. This charge buildup can lead to several problems when doing laundry. First, clothes and other laundry items will come out of the dryer stuck together, making it difficult to sort your laundry out and can cause items to become wrinkled. Second, static buildup can cause visible sparks or electric shocks when you pick items up. Finally, dryer static can cause your laundry items to get lint stuck to them, which means your laundry doesn’t come out of the dryer as clean and fresh as it should be.
Dryer static can affect all types of fabrics but is more common when drying synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon because these materials are more prone to creating and holding onto an electric charge. To help prevent dryer static, follow our five tips listed below.
Tip 1: Use dryer sheets or fabric softener
One of the easiest ways to eliminate static in your dryer is by using dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener. These products contain anti-static agents that coat your clothes during the drying cycle, reducing static cling. When using dryer sheets, simply toss one or more sheets into the dryer with your wet laundry before starting the cycle. The heat activates the anti-static properties in the sheets, preventing static buildup. If you prefer liquid fabric softener, add it to the designated dispenser in your washing machine before you start the wash cycle. The softener will be distributed evenly during the rinse cycle, reducing static in the dryer.
Tip 2: Don’t overload your dryer
Another common technique to avoid dryer static is to ensure you don’t overload your dryer with laundry. Overcrowding the dryer can prevent clothes from tumbling freely, leading to static buildup. Leave enough space for your clothes and other laundry items to move around during the drying cycle. This is especially important when drying heavy items like woolen sweaters and large towels. If you are unsure of the recommended laundry weights for your dryer, consult your owner’s manual.
Tip 3: Sort your laundry by fabric type
Grouping your laundry by fabric type can also help minimize static electricity in your dryer. Natural fibers like cotton, linen, and wool tend to generate less static than synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. Try to separate your laundry loads so that natural fibers are dried together, and synthetic fabrics are dried separately. This will help reduce the transfer of static between clothes.
Tip 4: Use woollen dryer balls
Wool dryer balls are an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners. These reusable balls work by physically separating your clothes as they tumble in the dryer, which prevents static. To use wool dryer balls, place two to four balls in the dryer with your laundry. The balls will bounce around and help improve airflow, reducing static and speeding up drying time. You can even add a few drops of essential oils to the dryer balls to give your laundry a pleasant scent without the need for synthetic fragrances.
Tip 5: Empty the lint filter
The next tip to get rid of dryer static is to empty the lint filter regularly. A clean lint filter not only reduces static but also improves dryer efficiency, which will lower your energy bills. Most manufacturers recommend emptying the lint filter after every use. The lint filter only needs to be emptied into the trash and not cleaned, meaning it’s a very simple action to take to reduce static. It’s also advised to clean the entire vent system out a few times a year for the same reasons as emptying the lint filter.
Bonus tips to reduce dryer static
In addition to the five tips above, you can adopt a few other simple actions to further reduce static electricity when doing laundry. Most of them don’t require you to purchase special tools or products, meaning they can be done very easily.
- Don’t over-dry your laundry. Drying your laundry for too long in the dryer can increase static. To prevent this, use the appropriate drying settings and avoid running the dryer longer than necessary. For best results, your laundry should come out of the dryer slightly damp.
- Buy clothing made of natural fibers. Choose clothing and bedding made from natural fibers like wool and cotton, and avoid fibers like polyester whenever possible. This is because natural fibers tend to produce less static than synthetic materials.
- Use anti-static sprays. You can purchase anti-static sprays explicitly designed for clothing. These sprays can be lightly applied on your clothes before wearing them to reduce static cling.
- Ensure your laundry is damp. When putting laundry in the dryer, ensure it is damp. The moisture helps prevent static buildup as the clothes tumble and dry. You can lightly spray your laundry with water if required or place a damp washcloth or towel in the dryer with your laundry for the final 15 minutes of the cycle.
- Use white vinegar. An alternative to using fabric softener is white vinegar. Add ½ a cup of white vinegar into the fabric softener drawer in your washing machine before you wash a load. When it is later put in the dryer, the vinegar will help reduce static from occurring.