Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hair standing on end? Natural fibres can help cut static

What with central heating and a lot of man-made fibres in clothes and furnishings, lots of people these days suffer from static build-up, often causing painful discharge of sparks either from one person to another or from a person to an object, such as a metal bowl in the kitchen, a doorknob or light switch. If you are very unfortunate you will find you have an almost permanently statically charged cat, which makes for interesting times; it really makes them grumpy. There are various things you can do to prevent this, such as tumble drying with an anti-static sheet in the drum and wearing as much cotton as you can, but one thing that will make a big difference is using natural rugs on your floors. Natural fibred hardly ever hold a static charge and you will be much more comfortable if you use wool rugs or ones made of bamboo or coir as much as possible.

Humidifiers can help as well Although most people worry about their homes being damp, dry air is a real problem if static is causing you discomfort. You can choose to have a device which puffs out small amounts of steam on a timer or you can have other gadgets that spin water in a tank and this humidify the air. If you have a raffia or coir natural rug you can damp them down very slightly in very dry weather – they won't mind this and in fact it will keep them supple. The problem with many man-made fibres is that every time you step on them they rub together under the weight of your foot and each time they do this they build a charge, which then gathers until it is earthed by something – and here we are, back at the poor unfortunate cat. Natural wool rugs don’t do that because the wool, raffia, coconut fibre or what have you don’t have the same properties. Although you will probably have a lot of sources of static in your home, natural rugs will ensure you don’t make things worse just by walking across the floor.

How to be more comfortable in a static environment With so many gadgets around all giving off electrons the modern home can really never be free from the problem, but along with your natural rugs you can make other changes to make things more comfortable. Keeping the air damper is certainly a way of doing this and using a natural bristle brush will help your hair be less static. When you are vacuuming or any other task involving a rhythmic movement, wear cotton if you can, so you don’t accidentally build up static in your clothes as your arm brushes your body. Use fabric softener or, preferably, dry your clothes outside so they discharge to the air. And, whatever you do, if he is looking fluffier than usual and a bit out of sorts – don’t touch the cat!

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