Winter: The season of static cling
Wx and the City
* Cold and dry most of the week, then snow? Full Forecast *
While in a clothing store during a past winter, I overheard a young girl exclaim, "I don't like this sweater, it's too stackity!" as her sister was helping her try on a new sweater ... I'm pretty sure she was referring to 'static cling.'
What is the mystery behind the static electricity in our wardrobes, sheets, towels, hats and hair? And why is it worse in winter?
It all comes down to, well, the smallest thing it can come down to: atoms. Atoms make up everything we see, and some carry more electrons than they know what to do with, making them negatively charged.
Keep reading to learn more about static electricity and tips for your winter wardrobe ...
All atoms carry charged particles: protons (positive) and electrons (negative). Normally, these charges are balanced and thus the atoms are neutral. An imbalance occurs when an atom gains electrons, thus becoming negatively charged, or loses electrons, becoming positively charged. Opposites attract: when a positively charged atom meets a negatively charged one, electrons are shared, a bond is formed and the atoms become neutral again. This is happening constantly all around us, even though we may not notice.
Imagine that your boss gives you an extra workload today, and you are teeming with anger. You want to run, scream or punch something (or heaven forbid, someone) to get that energy out. Now imagine that a colleague walks by who is sulking, dragging his feet and overall down in the dumps. You reach out and touch your friend's shoulders, about to yell at him, and ... BAM! All of a sudden, you both feel refreshed, relaxed and normal again. In an anthropocentric sort of way, this is what happens to negatively charged atoms on dry, cold winter days.
Electrons, in the form of electricity, move very well through conductive materials such as water. When humidity is high -- such as during a typical D.C. summer -- electrons move more freely in the air and between objects. However, dry winter air is a poor conductor of electricity. Thus, electrons are more likely 'jump' from one charged object (or person) to another. Static electricity is not really static -- when we walk across a carpet in our stockinged feet, a charge transfers from the floor to our bodies, builds up in our bodies and jumps to the doorknob as we enter a room.
We've all had issues with static electricity through hat-hair, clingy skirts or pants, or clothes that have just come out of the dryer. What can we do about it? Here are a few tips:
-- Use a humidifier to increase the humidity of indoor air.
-- Wear clothes made of natural, rather than synthetic, fiber.
-- Add 1/4 cup vinegar or borax to the wash cycle when doing laundry.
-- More tips.
Best of luck to you and your "stackity" clothes this winter!
Posted by: ennepe68 | January 4, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: B2O2 | January 4, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: heatherdc1980 | January 4, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: --sg | January 4, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.