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11 No-Fail Ways To Reduce Static In The Dryer Without Fabric Softener

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If walking down the street with underwear stuck to your pants sounds like a nightmare, then keep reading to find out 11 no-fail ways to reduce static in the dryer without resorting to harmful chemicals.

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Are you a ‘Friends’ TV show fan like me?  Then you have probably seen the episode where Monica runs into Richard in the video store and he kindly points out she has a pair of underwear stuck to the outside of her pants! (men, right!)

Well, believe it or not, this sort of thing used to happen a lot in my home.  Why?  Because I decided when I had my kids that I was not going to use fabric softener or dryer sheets in our laundry.

And anyone who has ever forgotten to add fabric softener or dryer sheets to the laundry, inevitably knows what happens…static, static, and more static!

I do a lot of laundry each week as do most families.  According to a study done in 2007 by Whirlpool, the average American does 9 loads a week.  And I am sure that number is higher depending on how many kids you have.

So instead of dealing with all the static, I decided to find out how to reduce static in dryer without using dryer sheets…or fabric softener.  Let’s just refer to both these things as “chemicals” for the rest of this article.

Why does my dryer have so much static?

First let’s talk a little about what static is so you can understand the reason your dryer has so much static.  

When we are talking about static in the dryer, we are actually talking about static electricity, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon in our everyday lives.  Clothes in the dryer acquire static cling by something such as the air or even clothing having an excess of electrical charge.  

And it is created when air is dry and there is friction…in other words, the dryer is the perfect environment to create static!

how to reduced static in the dryer woman holding towels

So how do you stop static in the dryer without dryer sheets?

Well there are a few ways.  Adding more moisture can disperse the static charge.  Coating items with something that stops the electrical charge (this is what fabric softeners and dryer sheets do).  And creating less friction.

Here are some ways you can try to reduce static cling without dryer sheets.

How To Reduce Static In The Dryer:

1. Reduce Drying Time

Static is caused by electrically charged dry air.  So adding some moisture can combat it.  By drying your clothing so they are still the tiniest bit damp when they come out of the dryer, you will be able to avoid static in your dryer.  Because the best static remover for clothes is literally water.

Keep in mind that synthetic clothing will dry faster than cotton clothing, so you may want to split them up if this is your plan of attack.  

dry clothes for less time black clock with white face

2.  Dry synthetic clothes separately

I mentioned this above.  Because synthetic clothes dry faster than natural fibers (like cotton), the synthetics can become super dry early on in the drying process and create a lot of friction.  Therefore creating a lot of static.  So drying them separately is a good idea.  Or you could set a timer and try to remove them earlier in the drying process.

3. Anti-Static Dryer Balls

Another natural way to remove static from the dryer is with dryer balls.  Dryer balls can help you avoid static in the dryer if you keep them charged.  Learn more about wool dryer balls and how to recharge them here.

(FYI – I use wool dryer balls, so I am not sure if plastic dryer balls reduce static the same way that wool dryer balls do.)

dryer balls stop static in the dryer white dryer balls next to basket

4. Add Moisture At The End Of The Cycle

This is a super simple fix if you go to take out your laundry and everything is stuck together.  Throw in something wet (a dryer ball, a wash cloth, a pair of socks) and let the dryer roll around for a few more minutes.  This should disperse any electrical charge that was causing your static.  Because again, water is the best static remover there is.

5. Make a spritzer

If you pull your clothes from the dryer and they just keep sticking to everything, then you can try a spray.  This spray can be just water, or you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to help your laundry smell nice even when you don’t use fabric softeners and other scents. Here is a nice fabric spray you can purchase on Amazon.

6. Hang Dry

I saved this one for close to the end because it is not something I like to do.  It is a little too time consuming for me.  But if you are willing, you can hang dry all your clothes.  If you are not will (as I am not) you can just pull out your synthetics to hang dry and dry your other clothing as you normally would.

line dry clothes to stop static electricity baby clothes on a line and baby in a basket

How To Get Rid Of Static In Clothes WHILE Wearing Them

7. Wear Body Lotion or Oil

Wearing an organic body lotion or oil can help reduce the amount of sticking your clothes do on your body due to static cling.  The lotion or oil will create moisture and also a barrier to help keep clothes from clinging to your skin.

8. Mist with water

Most of the time, static cling occurs because of dry air.  So adding a little spritz of moisture can help.

Other Ways to Naturally Reduce Static In The Dryer

The tips in this section are tips that I personally do not use to reduce static in my dryer but since there are a lot of people out there talking about them, I thought I needed to talk about them a little bit.

9. Aluminum Foil In Dryer To Reduce Static – (source)

I cannot tell you how many times I have read this tip.  They say just wad up some aluminum foil and the static will go away.  Like little aluminum foil static electricity quenchers.  I am here to tell you I have tried it and it did not work for me.  That does not mean it won’t work for you, so try it if you want.  Just be sure to get those aluminum balls nice and tight so the edges don’t ruin any of your clothes.

10. Vinegar in the dryer

Okay, so I always use vinegar in my washing machine as a “fabric softener”, but I had never heard of putting vinegar in the dryer.  So of course I tried it.  Apart from the smell, it seemed to have the same effect as if I had put water in the drier.  Any kind of moisture will help disperse static electricity

vinegar can reduce static

11. Soap nuts

If you have never heard of soap nuts, you are not alone.  I used them a long time ago as a way to decrease the amount of harmful chemicals I use in my home since I have kids and pets.  

‘Soap Nuts’ are actually dried berries that contain a substance called Saponin (a form of soap) that can clean your clothes naturally.  It is also biodegradable.

From my own experience, they did not help avoid static in the dryer but if you are interested in trying them, you can purchase them here.

Related Post: How To Use Mesh Laundry Bags To Stop Damaging Clothes in The Washer

Two Things To NEVER use to avoid static in the dryer

Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets

Fabric Softener contains chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that have been linked to allergies, respiratory conditions, and even in some circumstances cancer.  I have not used fabric softener since I had my babies.  

Instead, I use vinegar in my rinse cycle and Dryer Balls in my dryer.  Between the two, and things I mentioned above, I can pretty much so avoid static without adding any additional chemicals to my laundry.

I have always found ways around using any fabric softener in my laundry, but if you insist on using it for whatever reason, here are some of the least harmful for your family and environment according to EWG.org.

Enjoy Your Static Free Dryer

While I wish there was just an anti-static laundry detergent out there, these tips are not hard to follow.  Now that you know there are plenty of natural ways to avoid static in the dryer, I hope you will explore some other green laundry ideas. 

You can read more about my green laundry adventures in the related posts below.

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Related Posts:

The Best Reasons To Use White Vinegar In Your Laundry

Dryer Sheet Alternatives That Are Safer For Your Family’s Clothes

How To Use Dryer Balls In Your Laundry and Why It’s Good

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