Life Style

Creative Saturday: DIY Anti-Static Spray

Fall is my favorite time of year—the trees are changing, the air is brisk, and I can finally use my oven all the time again. The only thing I don’t like is constantly getting zapped by static electricity. It’s bad enough at home (where I accidentally zap my cats on their noses every time I pet them, poor things), but at work I have to take my lab coat on and off all day and hang it up with a lot of other static-y lab coats. Sometimes the electric charge is so bad, it runs up my headphone wire and zaps me in the ear.

So why is static electricity such a menace in the fall and winter? In a word, humidity, or lack of it. The less moisture in the air, the more electricity that doesn’t have anywhere to go and builds up on a given surface. Static charges also build up more on synthetic fibers, like my lab coat. (I could probably go more into the science of it, but I am just a biologist and my knowledge of electricity is mostly “don’t stick metal things into sockets.”)

Once, I bought some anti-static spray but it didn’t smell that great and it was expensive. Looking at the ingredients, it was easy enough to just reverse-engineer a similar formulation (so I could make it cheaper and also customize the scent). This spray can be used on clothes and hair, not electronics.

One warning: be careful where you spray, because if you do it over a smooth floor (e.g. tiles or wood), the spray will build up on the floor and make it slippery.

Some of you might be asking, why not just use fabric softener in the wash? Or anti-static sheets in the dryer? First of all, it’s not recommended to use fabric softener on towels or microfiber cloth (which are both in my laundry) because the softener can make the towels less absorbent and the coating can ruin the microfiber. Also, we try to avoid scented products in my house (artificial scents are a migraine trigger in my family). Plus, the spray can be used on hair (and I don’t feel like rubbing fabric softener sheets on everything in the house).

Basic Recipe for Unscented Anti-Static Spray

Note: I like to use distilled water (available at the grocery store). For the glycerin, you can usually find that at the pharmacy in the first aid section or at craft stores in the soap-making aisle. If you want to add a scent, you can probably use an essential oil but then you’ll need to shake it up before you use it to disperse the oil.

Materials:

  • 4 cups (or 950 mL) water (I use distilled, which you can find at the grocery store)
  • 3.5 Tablespoons (or 50 mL) glycerin
  • 1 spray bottle

Method:

Mix the water and glycerin together, add to the spray bottle. Spray on clothes/hair (I find that the spray will stay on my lab coat for at least 2 weeks but it will wash out of clothes/hair so reapply as needed).

 

Alternate Anti-Static Spray Recipe

Note: I prefer unscented products, but this recipe is nice because many of the materials you may already have in your house. You can probably use this in your hair but personally the smell is too much for me.

Materials:

  • 4 cups (or 950 mL) water (I use distilled, which you can find at the grocery store)
  • 1 Tablespoon (or 15 mL) fabric softener
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 spray bottle

Method:

Mix everything together until dissolved, add to the spray bottle. Spray on clothes/hair as needed. If static is still building up, add either more fabric softener or salt!

 

Image Source: Airarcs is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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