Help! Being shocked to death by static

I am having a very Pavlovian experience. In my office I am constantly getting shocked. My clothes are are so full of static they’re sticking to me like they’re wet. After weeks of this I’m now afraid to touch door knobs and filing cabinets. Coworkers brush past me and get shocked. What’s going on here? I wear rubber-soled shoes and everything. I’ve tried licking my fingers before touching metal and that didn’t make a difference. Any advice?

Get a new pair of shoes with a different sole material. “Rubber” soles can be made out of a variety of different materials, and some of those materials are very good at accumulating charge via friction.

Yes I will do that as well, before the static kills me. Every winter in my office is the same, dry dry dry and very electric.

Join the club.
I asked this question way back, and got all kinds of suggestions ranging from different shoe soles, to the old “hold a key and touch metal first”. None of them work for me, though I have noticed it happens more when it is dry and hot in rooms during cold spells outside.

Living in Las Vegas, it is no fun to go into casinos and have blue flames shoot through your fingers when you go near a machine. Even at home, I get zapped all the time unless I am barefoot.

Good luck - (whoever invents the first non-shockable gizmo for people like us will make millions).

Same here. Get chocks every winters, in everything I touch. The ones from my car are the worse. Also knobs and when I turn on lights as well. I actually stalled my car once touching the ignition as I was entering the key in…
I hate it, it hurts.
I make sparks you can see at night tho!
I can have anything on, any type of shoes, it always happens (although some special cloths make it worse).

Jeez. So much disinformation.

  1. Rubber soles CAUSE static. Rubber is an insulator and a potent accumulator of static charge. That’s why rubber rods are used in classroom demonstrations of static electricity. Wear leather soles instead.

  2. Touching metal dissipates static RAPIDLY. When you approach a good conductor (metal, another person), the charge inside that conductor is rapidly redistributed, setting up perfect conditions for a spark. Instead, touch a poor conductor (i.e., a wooden door, a plastic chair, drywall). These materials will slowly equalize their potential with you, bringing you back to ground potential so that you may touch metal with impunity.

  3. Nothing you are carrying will do any good. Anything that is already in contact with you is already equipotent with you.

You could make yourself a little piece of wire to tape to your leg and let it drag behind you so you are always bleeding that charge to the ground. Might even work just running it from your shoelaces to your sole.

“ESD remediation” companies sell little thingies which wrap around your ankle and connect to a conductor plate on your shoe sole.

However, these require a fairly conductive floor. (In factories they use carpets filled with carbon fibers and wired to a ground connection.)

Here’s a bunch of suggestions:

ZAPPED (doorknobs, car doors, etc.)

One other thing to check is whether you shuffle your feet when you walk. The scuffing of rubber soles on carpet really builds up a big charge, which will give you a hefty shock. If this is the case, stop dragging your feet and take proper steps!

Trust me, it really does make a difference… I was forever doing this deliberately, in order to build up a charge with which I could zap my cow-orkers when they were least expecting it :D.

During the winter months I always touch my knuckle to the metal object first (instead of my finger tips) then open the drawer/door/whatever - the shock doesn’t seem to hurt as much on my knuckle.

Nametag might be on to something. In four out of four experiments touching drywall before touching metal, I haven’t been shocked.

bbeaty, great web site, thank you!

I am constantly shocking people when I shake their hands when they come into my office. It’s always worse in the winter when it’s so dry–and it’s usually REALLY dry here in the winter.

I have a humidifier at home which helps a lot and I have at least two dozen plants here in the office. Something about that has helped a lot too, probably from all the moisture in the soil around the plants. I usually try to discharge the static electricity on my file cabinet or something as I get up, and usually can hear it discharge through the wheels on my office chair into the floor mat.

It’s awful to meet someone for the first time and–Ka-Pow–shock the heck out of them.:rolleyes:

I hear you Montana.
When back home (France) I kiss my friends on the cheeks to say hi, the spark in your lip is painfull… I usually do the same and try to discharge into something before I touch somebody in the winter!

When my old man was working at the arsenal, he had a rather extensive collection of (reasonably) fashionable non-conductive shoes. Don’t want to be sparking near the nitrocotton, don’t you know.

Wolverine has a line of presentable men’s shoes and boots.

Those fabric sprays to eliminates static on your clothing can be very helpful, as well.

It’s really bad in our car-every time I get out I cover my finger tips with my sleeve if I can!

I get the effin shock EVERY time I get out of the car and try to close the door. I noticed after a while it was only when I wore my rubber soled basketall shoes.

Surprised nobody else has mentioned this:


Every year, a few thousand people get blackened like a Porter House because the got a simple shock while pumping gas. Esp. with getting in & out of your car; your clothes can build up a good charge against the upholstry.

For me it is petting/touching my cats. I wonder if I could get them to wear leather booties…

If I have a cat on my lap, and I am petting it, I can feel the shocks coming out the bottoms of their paws.