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Heloise for a Day: Tips for Static Cling & Salt Stains

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
I read the Advice Smackdown religiously to pretend that I’m the kind of girl who ever wears anything on her face other than mascara and gloss at a super-formal event. Because of you I have worn eyeliner and eyeshadow (neutrals, but still) to a couple of major events this fall. This is an Accomplishment. Thank you.
My question, however, is practical and totally non-glamorous, but I figured you would know the answer, as you live on the East Coast, where in the winter, behold, the summer humidity, it packeth for the Yucatan and leaves us dying of the dryness and the steam heat and the static.
Have you ever used anti-static spray on your clothes? Does it work? Does it smell? Does it leave nasty residues or stain things? Because (after six years in New York) I have given up on wool for deepest, darkest, teens-or-lower winter, but my new, pretty, non-puffy down coat is like a giant electrical conductor and if I walk around in it, all of my hair will either stand on end or be ripped out of my head by the force of the charge. I also do not want to destroy said coat with weird non-working spray. Bad.
(Also, what do you know about protecting leather boots from evil, evil salt stains?)
(See! I slipped in another, semi-related, but Very Urgent [help!] question, thus evincing my faith in your generosity!)
(Also, your son is completely adorable, and you are pretty and nice.)
Thank you.
–Static-y and Salt-Stained

My mama ALWAYS used Static Guard on all our clothes when we were growing up. She sprayed my stockings so my dresses wouldn’t cling; she sprayed the inside of my sweaters so they wouldn’t crackle and pop; she even sprayed my hairbrush to tame the crazy static hair I’d get after getting dressed.
I dutifully bought a can when I moved out on my own, and while I don’t use it with the same religious frequency, I can say: it works well enough (static may return later), and I’ve never had a problem with staining. I’d put it in the same category as Febreze — if you can safely Febreze something, you can probably Static Guard it.
Another simple weapon in the cling war: the almighty dryer sheet. A quick rubdown of with a dryer sheet also helps eliminate static — on nylons, the inside of sweaters and skirts, your hairbrush, the outside of your pet-hair-magnet wool coat. Same goes for those home-dry-cleaning kits, but dryer sheets are 1) a lot faster, 2) a bazillion times cheaper. And bonus! You’ll smell like a Winter Mountain Alpine Lilac Sun Fresh Breeze, or, you know, whatever your laundry scent of choice.
So. Moving on to your next winter woe: salt stains on leather shoes. While I’m sure there are tons of commercial protectant sprays and polishes, I’ve never used any of them. I’m more of an after-the-fact girl when it comes to my shoes, which means occasional cleaning with an appropriate leather cleaner. (I use my Coach stuff, but most shoe or leatherware stores will help you pick out the right cleaner for your particular boots.) For the thrifty DIY types, try mixing equal parts white or distilled vinegar in some water and buffing the salt stains with that. (You’ll probably need to touch up the polish afterwards, though.)
The same solution will also work on fabric shoes, although a lot of times plain old salt can really just be dissolved away with plain old water. Depends on how much dirt and other wintery muck got mixed up with the salt. For suede, dip a rag in the water/vinegar solution and THEN buff out the stains. Ta-daaaa! Eff you, winter!

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Hand lotion also works in a pinch to keep pants or skirts from static. Just put it directly on your legs if you are wearing pants or onto your hosiery if you are wearing a skirt.


I had to sign up for an account, just so I could comment on this very pressing issue. It is TOTALLY worth it to protect your shoes. I live in Chicago, where nasty, salty slush will destroy your shoes in less than one winter if you do not protect them. It is much easier to spray some leather protectant on your shoes before you wear them than it is to clean them off, particularly leather. I wasn’t always so sure, even when I worked for a shoe store, and sold the stuff. The only shoes I ever water-proofed were the… Read more »