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Some days, it feels like everything I touch gives me a shock. Car door, metal sink, even the dishwasher.

What can I do to reduce static shocks?

  • 5
    As a schoolchild, the trick we used to do was charge our selves up, jump up in the air as you lightly touch a victim on the back of the neck. Childish I know. – Simon Featherstone Dec 10 '14 at 21:36
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Even when minding clothing and footwear, an insulated wooden floor can still give me static shocks.

For me there are two definitive methods:

  1. Make sure the area you touch is as large as possible the moment you touch it (before stepping out of the car, I put my calf to the bottompost of the door. It helps with discharging even through my pants); so don't put your finger on it first...
  2. Carry something with you which can help with easy discharging. Come winter, I am always carrying a key in my pocket, with which I touch metal door handles before opening the door. You can even see a spark igniting between the tip of the key and the handle, which makes it extra fun to do as well =)
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    I habitually slap my palm gently on the roof of the car every time I get out, discharging any static without a shock. – fredley Dec 11 '14 at 11:38
  • Never use a finger unless you want to experience pain (fingers are sensitive because they contain a lot of nerves). Somewhere in the middle of the upper/lower arm should be a good idea. You can use clothing between your skin and object. Use a determined and fast movement to reduce pain by expectation (psychological). – Yeti Feb 12 '17 at 18:33
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I've been using a tip I found in a comment on Lifehacker.com.

Before touching metal with my fingers, I now tap it with the back of my hand, so that the electricity discharges through the back of my hand. I feel it much less that way, because there are a lot fewer nerve endings.

6

Avoid wearing insulating clothing such as rubber soled footwear and woollen clothes. Instead, opt for leather footwear, cotton socks and cotton fabrics which will help discharge the electricity and prevent static shocks.

2

You have a humidity problem, inside. If you have a hot air furnace supplying heat through your house, ask an HVAC company to quote you on adding a humidifier (several hundred dollars). If it's a boiler with baseboard...buy individual room humidifiers. Higher humidity makes the air more conductive and will allow the objects in the room to equalize their electrons on their own before you do! As far as being outside, yeah the other answers are the best.

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There actually are gadgets for this. You can apply an anti-static car strip to your (duh) car, but there also are keychains that can discharge you.

Best tips to prevent it are to add a safety pin on the inside of your clothing, use moisturizer before you put your clothes on, use a silicon-based styling product for your hair (hope you're not bald) and hairspray, be it on your hair or on your sweater. Do keep a distance when spraying. Hair spray is to style and fix your ... static ... hair, but it can also remove the static from your clothes.

  • Antistatic strips for cars don't work. The car already has a path to ground (through the tires, which are conductive enough for this purpose). The car isn't statically charged, you are. Specifically, when you get out of the car, the friction between your clothing and the car seat builds a static charge. The remedy is to touch part of the car frame and keep touching it while you get out. – Hobbes May 5 '15 at 9:17
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Why static zaps happen often during winter or cold weather:

During winter, static charges tends to build up because of low (relative) humidity in air. This is because when outside air is heated, it's (relative) humidity drops. The more the air is heated, the larger the humidity drop, so static zaps occur more often during colder outside temperatures.

How static charge builds up on a person:

If most of your static zaps occur after walking, they are probably caused by your plastic shoe soles rubbing against plastic floor material (carpet, linoleum, and some wood polishes). If your static charge buildup is after you have been sitting, it is probably caused by the rubbing of your (plastic) outer clothing against (plastic) seats.

The ways to avoid static zaps:

1) During cold weather, increase the humidity of inside air. You can use a humidifier in some buildings, but this usually not possible in cars or in other people's buildings. In those cases, you can use a spray bottle with water and apply a light mist to yourself. When drying clothes, stop your dryer before the clothes are completely dry; slightly damp/humid clothing won't have a static charge.

2) Wear non-plastic clothing and shoe soles, and use non-plastic chair covers. Leather shoe soles stop carpet/walking static charges, and cotton or leather external layer clothing and/or seat covers stops static buildup from sitting (in buildings or cars)

3) Use anti-static chemicals on your outer layer of clothing, shoe soles, carpet, and seat covers. You can use either anti-static sprays or rub anti-static dryer sheets on things to coat them with the chemicals that reduce static buildup. You can also home-make anti-static spray by mixing a small amount of liquid fabric softener and rubbing alcohol in water and then applying it from a sprayer.

4) Discharge static buildup before it zaps you. When static charges build up on you it will always attempt to jump from your body to any large or grounded metal object. The zap you feel is the spark jumping the gap. If you are in firm contact with a metal object such as a key or ring and that metal object touches the metal before your skin does, the spark jump happens from metal to metal, and you don't feel the zap during the discharge.

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