As clothes tumble in the dryer, the pieces of fabric rub together transferring electrons from one surface to another. This results in the build-up of a low-level electrical charge known as static. Fabric softeners remove static from clothes by coating fabrics in a light layer of wax, effectively reducing the friction between different materials. Over time, this residue can accumulate on the surface of the fabric, leaving clothes looking dingy and worn. As an alternative, toss balls of aluminum foil into the dryer to remove static without chemicals. The metal attracts the electrons, pulling them from the fabrics, preventing the build-up of an electric charge.
Things You'll Need
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Tear off a 2-foot sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Crumple the foil into a tight ball.
Wrap the ball in additional sheets of foil to create a sphere that is approximately 3 inches in diameter. Repeat the process to create three foil balls.
Toss the foil balls into the dryer with damp clothes and dry as usual. As they tumble, the foil will prevent the build-up of static electricity. In addition, the balls will fluff garments, reducing the need for ironing.
Cover the balls with new sheets of foil at least once a week. Over time, the additional sheets of foil will cause the balls to increase in size. When they reach 4 inches in diameter, replace them with new 3-inch foil balls.
- AARP; Ways to Reuse Aluminum Foil; Jeff Yeager
- Museum of Science, Boston: Static Electricity: Background Information for Teachers
- "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things"; Marilyn Boder, et al; 2005
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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