While vinyl flooring is anti-static, laminate floors can give you quite a shock. Carpeting is often the biggest culprit when it comes to static electricity, but laminate is problematic, too. In a kitchen, static is a mere annoyance. In other areas, the high charges can have detrimental effects, potentially ruining computer equipment, speakers, and other electronics. Scuffing your feet along a floor lets your feet pick up free electrons, and it can create charges as high as 25 kV. Charges even as low as 4kV can be painful when you touch a grounded object. Static electricity on laminate floors can be reduced by adding humidity to the air and keeping on top of dust.
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Identifying the Culprit
Static electricity builds up when the air is dry. For those who live in climates that are humid in the summer and dry in the winter, you might notice an increase in static electricity shocks during those dry, chilly months. People who live in dry climates in the desert might experience the shocks year-round.
The best way to reduce static electricity from building up on your laminate floors is to increase the humidity in your home. Do this by setting up a humidifier and turning off the furnace when it's not needed. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, resist the urge to build a flame — it can zap all the humidity out of the room.
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Reducing the Shock
Although static electricity isn't caused by dust, it is made worse when there's a build-up of dust. Although no one can keep their home dust-free all the time, it's worth your while to put in a little extra cleaning time if you have laminate floors.
Use an electrostatic cloth when you're cleaning the floors, as the dust is attracted to the charge of the rag rather than being attracted to the static electricity on the flooring. You can also purchase anti-static spray and anti-static cleaner to use regularly, as it eliminates static charges instantly.
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Keeping Yourself Comfortable
Certain materials used for clothing increases the risk of getting a shock. Synthetic fibers and wool are conductive materials, which means you're more likely going to feel the effect when you touch a metal item after shuffling over the laminate floor.
You don't have to go out and buy a brand-new wardrobe; however, wearing cotton socks around the house to minimize the static buildup. Special anti-static shoes are also available for purchase, though it might not be the most comfortable option in your own home.
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Choosing Anti-Static Flooring
If the static buildup is just too much to bear and you're ready to take drastic measures, look into replacing the floor. Vinyl flooring is naturally anti-static, but there are anti-static laminate flooring options, too. They're made by adding small carbon particles into the laminate while it's being manufactured. Because the particles are non-conductive, the static electricity doesn't build up.
Before you pick out new flooring, ask if it's anti-static — not all options will be if you decide to stick with laminate.