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It may be a little shocking, but National Static Electricity Day is January 9. The observance explores static electricity and even how we may cause it. 

Static electricity is different from the electrical current carried by wires through a building or transmitted by the electric companies. Static electricity is produced when the positive and negative charges of an atom are out of balance.

The atoms of some materials hold their electrons tightly. These materials, such as plastic, cloth, or glass, are insulators. While electrons of these substances do not move very freely, the electrons of other materials, such as metal, move more freely and are called conductors.

By rubbing two insulators together, we transfer electrons, causing positive and negative charges. Opposites do attract. Atoms with a positive charge become attracted to atoms with a negative charge. We can see the evidence if we rub a balloon head.  When we pull the balloon away, the hair clings to the balloon.

Remove the balloon, and the hair may stand on end. In this circumstance, the hair has the same charge (either positive or negative). Items with the same charge repel each other.

At some point, these charges need to be put back in balance, and the static electricity is discharged. The release or the resulting shock occurs when an insulator comes in contact with a conductor, such as a piece of metal.

How to Avoid the Shock of Static Electricity
  • The drier air of winter months is a better insulator than the more humid air of summer.  To help prevent static electricity, use a humidifier to put moister back into the air in your home during the winter months.
  • Our skin is drier in the winter months, too. Putting on moisturizer before getting dressed is recommended.
  • Synthetic fabrics are better insulators than natural fibers. Wearing materials made from natural fibers such as cotton will help reduce the amount of static electricity that’s stirred up.
  • While walking around the house, at work, or shopping, holding a key or a metal pen in your hand will help discharge the build-up of static electricity painlessly.
  • Switching to leather-soled shoes versus rubber-soled shoes will help reduce the amount of static that is built up.

HOW TO OBSERVE #StaticElectricityDay

Learn how static electricity affects us. Explore the ways you come into contact with static electricity and how you create it, too. Run an experiment and share your results.

Use #StaticElectricityDay to post on social media.

Educators, visit the National Day Calendar® Classroom for useful information you can use in your classroom.


National Day Calendar staff is shocked that we’ve not discovered the origins of this day! But we’ll keep searching.

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