Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Louise Carter
You’ll feel apprehensive if blankets cause sparks when you touch them. These sparks are due to static electricity. According to Scientific American, static charges are called “triboelectric charges.”
The shock arises when two items come into friction and are separated quickly. This leads to an atomic imbalance, creating an electrical charge that reaches the skin.
Avoiding static in blankets involves preventing friction. Dry, cold conditions increase the likelihood of static building on blankets, especially when made from wool, which is an efficient conductor.
Adjusting your clothing, home layout, and laundry cycles can reduce the impact of static shocks. The most effective solution is to increase humidity in a room and reduce dryness in the air.
Why Are My Blankets Static?
Everything is made up of atoms, including the blankets in your home. Atoms, in turn, comprise three separate components:
- Protons: Positive electrical charge.
- Electrons: Negative electric charge.
- Neutrons: No electrical charge.
If the protons and electrons in an atom are balanced, the item will hold no static charge.
Unfortunately, electrons jump around, leaping from one entity to another. This leads to imbalance, with an object or individual carrying more electrons than protons.
This becomes more likely when two items are rubbed against each other.
In the case of fleece blankets, imagine that your pajamas carry an even number of protons, electrons, and neutrons. Sit on the blanket, and the friction can imbalance the atoms within as electrons jump from the clothing to the sheet.
When an imbalance arises, the fleece blanket becomes an electrical conductor. Rather than a live voltage that travels through a wire, it lies in wait, anticipating a new conductor, hence why it’s called ‘static’ electricity.
Is Static in Bed Sheets Dangerous?
The shock from touching an object charged with static electricity is uncomfortable but not dangerous. Static electricity won’t burn the skin, damage electrical appliances, or rewire the brain chemistry.
An exception is industrial locations, like a warehouse that could see dust ignited by a static shock. When static electricity builds, a manufacturing plant or factory that houses chemicals or gases risks an explosion.
Unless you’re conducting experiments in the bedroom or your cleaning is lax, you don’t need to fear for your safety when static electricity builds.
All the same, you may want to reduce the pain and surprise provoked by a static shock.
How To Eliminate Static Electricity in Blankets
Eliminating electrical static from blankets involves minimizing friction and avoiding contact with conductors. Unfortunately, this isn’t always realistic.
Changes can be made to reduce the risk of static electricity shocks. While it’s impossible to eradicate static, some basic adjustments will drastically decrease the likelihood of getting a shock.
As static electricity lingers in blankets waiting for a conductor, you can use an external tool to absorb the static charge. Unfold a wire coat hanger and brush it along the blanket.
Metal is an excellent conductor, so you can use it periodically to discharge static from the body. Carry a nickel or dime in your pocket, touching it occasionally.
This will immediately and painlessly transfer any static in your body to the coin.
If you’re still unsure about touching sheets and blankets loaded with static, you can reduce exposure from a safe distance by creating an anti-static spray from everyday items in the home.
Take a spray bottle and apply two tablespoons of fabric softener diluted with 2 cups of tap water. Shake the bottle and spray the contents on anything that holds static.
This spray will only reduce static for so long, so you must apply it at least once a day. To be safe, use the bottle before touching your bedsheets, like before bed or when preparing laundry.
You may build up static within the body whenever you spend time outdoors. If you have a static mat, wipe your feet on it, and you’ll discharge this static before interacting with sheets or blankets.
Static shocks are more frequent in winter than summer because the air is dry and lacks moisture. Greater humidity encourages the electrons held in the body to move, resulting in less friction.
Purchasing a humidifier and utilizing it in the winter makes static shocks less likely. According to the European Respiratory Journal, humidifiers can improve breathing and lead to better sleep.
Washing and Drying
Softening blankets with fabric softener means they’re less likely to carry static charge once dried.
White vinegar will have the same effect if you dislike fabric softeners. Mixing white vinegar with baking soda will make it even more effective.
In addition, resist the urge to tumble dry bedsheets and blankets.
Air drying will allow static to build on the sheets as they won’t be so arid. If you need to use a dryer, add a damp blanket for the last 20 minutes of the cycle.
As static shocks are caused by friction, you must be careful about what nightwear touches your blankets and sheets. Some materials, especially silk, polyester, and wool, are likelier to react this way.
Consider changing to different pajamas or even sleeping naked.
Remember that leaving your clothes on your blankets will allow the static to build. Expect a sharp pop and shock when you pick up any clothing constructed from manmade fibers.
Slippers must also be chosen carefully. Avoid footwear with rubber soles because this material is a superconductor. It absorbs static and spreads it around the body.
If the skin is dry and lacking moisture, shocks become much likelier.
Taking a shower before touching your bedsheets can help with this to an extent, but lotion is the most impactful solution. Applying a moisturizing hand cream will stop an immediate shock.
Of course, if you prefer to sleep naked, applying lotion all over your body is recommended.
The Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences stated that shea butter has relaxing and destressing qualities that may aid sleep. Assuming you have no allergies, add an essential oil like lavender.
New Bedsheets And Blankets
Consider changing your bedsheets and blankets to a different material that isn’t a natural conductor.
Pure cotton is ideal, as it won’t generate static. Wool and polyester are the main culprits. If the opportunity arises, make the material shock-free for interaction with blankets and sheets.
Static electricity on a fleece blanket won’t kill you, but it’ll be an unwelcome shock.