How to Cure a Bad Case of Static Cling

Illustration for article titled How to Cure a Bad Case of Static Cling

The good news: it's March and we've made it tantalizingly close to the end of winter. The bad news: we're not out of the woods yet; even if spring has most definitely sprung, we're still weeks away from going-without-tights weather. And tights plus skirts plus walking plus dry air equals static cling more intense than an acid trip in the Sesame Street workshop. So how can you banish the unsightly cling once and for all? Or, at least until you can get to a place where it's socially acceptable to remove your pants? MacGyverdom.


Even though it's like 65 degrees in the Middle West today and there's nary a snowflake in sight, recycled office building air can often cause unseasonable problems with unsightly cling, especially if you're in tights. Why is this? Turns out that mixing fabrics is not only a biblical abomination, it can lead to some nasty fit problems with clothing. To prevent a buildup of static on your clothes, keep your natural and synthetic fabrics separate as you tumble dry them. Use fabric softener. And avoid wearing an outfit that puts a natural skirt against synthetic, stretchy tights, unless you want to accidentally shock your dog on the face when you get home from work.

If you must don clingy clothing, fight static buildup by running a wire hanger over your clothes either right before or shortly after you put them on. Wire hangers, while completely useless in almost everything that isn't a Mommie Dearest-themed Halloween costume, actually grab some of the extra charge that causes your clothing to stick together and banish it to, let's say — Mordor. Either way, it's no longer bogarting your presence, and that's all that matters.

You can also minimize cling by wearing leather soled shoes instead of rubber soled ones; the leather will ground you and allow the electricity to freely flow through your body rather than be stymied by the soles of your shoes.

One tried-and-true desperate but MacGyvery move that used to be an office mainstay of mine is to sneak off to the bathroom with a bottle of lotion and just rub it on the part of your tights that are clinging to your skirt (or the part of your skin that's sticking to your pants, or the part of your Spanks that are sticking to your kilt, or whatever). Let it dry for a bit and then continue on your merry way. Other women prefer using dryer sheets, but I always forgot to carry those around. I guess if you're the type of resourceful lady (possible former Girl Scout) who keeps a small ziplock bag containing a couple of dryer sheets in her purse at all times, go right ahead and use it, and then take a moment to feel satisfied that you have it more together than I do. Dryer sheets also work well on flyaway hair.

If you've got the time to plan ahead, fill a spray bottle with water and a tablespoon full fabric softener and spritz it on when your clothes give you trouble. Hair spray, applied topically, will also work in a pinch.

You can also try throwing a particularly stubborn item of clothing in the dryer for 10 minutes with a wet washcloth.


And, if all else fails, just say fuck it and stay home and watch the first two seasons of 30 Rock on Netflix.

But if you succeed in removing your static cling, pat yourself on the back, Sparky. You've defeated nature.


Photo illustration by Jim Cooke, source images via Argus and Vereshchagin Dmitry/Shutterstock



Or you could just wear a slip, because that is really what they are made for, and they are $1 at pretty much every thrift store in the US, and about $7 everywhere else.