If you’ve ever rubbed a balloon on your head and stuck it to a wall, you know that just a little bit of friction can cause a lot of static cling. And this is why a load of laundry can emerge from the dryer sticking together like a solid mass—you had better believe that the 45 minutes or so of tossing around in there has generated a ton of static electricity. But there are some really simple ways to eliminate static cling, and all without using a single dryer sheet!
You’ve heard me go on and on about dryer balls, but that’s because they’re just so great. You buy them once, there’s nothing to throw out, there are no chemicals, and there are no waxes or coatings deposited on your clothing. Just the action of these balls bouncing around in there is enough to dispel some of the charge and fluff everything up. I generally use the plastic variety but have been using wool ones recently because you can add your own essential oils directly to them. Win!
Hang to Dry
That’s right: If you hang your laundry to dry, you’ll never generate that electricity in the first place, because there’s no friction. However, for lots of people, this trade-off is not worth it; it’s hard to part with an electric clothes dryer if you’re used to it. Here’s a compromise: just hang your synthetics to dry. These generate way more electricity, and removing these pieces will reduce the charge for the whole load. Bonus: Synthetics tend to air-dry pretty quickly, so you won’t have a jungle of clothes hanging around for days on end.
DIY Fabric Softener
To give your dryer balls some extra oomph in softening your load and reducing static cling, skip the commercial fabric softener, and instead try a DIY fabric softener. Just pour some white vinegar into the fabric softener chamber of your dryer. It produces the same result as a fabric softener, but without any scent or waxy residue—not to mention I prefer not to add more chemicals to my laundry routine, and I eliminate another thing I have to throw away!
Dryer Ball Hack
Let’s say you don’t have any dryer balls but you want to do a load without static cling. Well, as a quick hack, you can always use a crumpled up piece of tinfoil as a makeshift dryer ball. If there’s no tinfoil handy try fastening a safety pin to one of the (non-delicate) items in your load, like a sock or towel, and toss it all in the dryer. The pin will act as a lightning rod and absorb all of that electro-static energy. Pretty cool!