Can You Wash A Wig With Regular Shampoo

Can You Wash a Wig with Regular Shampoo? Plus, 4 Awesome Alternative to Shampoo To Keep Your Wig Clean

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Have you ever wondered how to wash a wig, especially if you’re new to wearing one? Like, how often should you wash it? What kind of products should you use? And is regular shampoo okay?

A question always gets asked is, “Can I wash my wig with regular shampoo?”

Below you’ll find the answer and a whole bunch of tips for keeping your wig clean and spectacular!

Can You Wash A Wig With Regular Shampoo?

Short answer: nope. Regular shampoo isn’t right for wigs, whether synthetic or human hair. You might think human hair wigs need the same products as natural hair, but that’s not true.

Keep your regular hair care products away from your wigs. The harsh chemicals in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products can ruin both synthetic and human hair wigs.

Using natural hair products on your wigs can make them look frizzy, tangled, and way too shiny.

But why is this?

Why is Shampoo Bad for Your Wigs?

Here’s the deal: regular shampoos have these things called surfactants (like sulfates) that are meant to get rid of oils from natural hair. While they’re great at doing that, they’re not good for your wig.

Wigs aren’t attached to your scalp, so they don’t get oily like our hair does. They just get dirty over time, kind of like your favorite sweater.

Since it’s not oily hair we’re dealing with, wigs need different products. Washing them with regular shampoo can make them dry, lifeless, and more likely to shed.

Natural shampoos with heavy oils and deep moisturizers can make your wig look super shiny, cause frizz, and even lead to tangling. Plus, they can create a build-up that makes styling a nightmare and can damage the hair.

So, the bottom line, use wig shampoo for synthetic and human hair wigs to keep them looking fabulous!

Next, let’s dig a little deeper to see what happens when you use regular shampoo on your wigs. It’s not a pretty sight! Here are some of the problems you’ll face if you go down that road:

The Effects of Regular Shampoo on Wigs

No more essential oils

Regular shampoos are made to get rid of extra oil from natural hair, but wigs need different care. Regular shampoo removes the essential oils from the wig, making it dry and brittle. This leads to a dull, tangled wig that’s more likely to break.

Residue build-up

Regular shampoo can also leave a residue on your wig that builds up over time, making it look lifeless. This is especially bad for synthetic wigs, which can get damaged if the residue isn’t properly removed.

Weak hair fibers

The harsh chemicals in regular shampoos can damage your wig’s fibers, making them weak and brittle. This can cause breakage and shedding that’s hard to fix.

Shorter wig life

Using regular shampoo on your wig can really cut down its life. The wig might get damaged and lose its shape, making it hard to style and wear. This means you’ll need to replace your wig more often, which can be pricey and time-consuming.

To avoid these issues, use a shampoo made just for wigs. These shampoos gently clean the wig without taking away essential oils or damaging the fibers. By using the right products and caring for your wig the right way, you’ll keep it looking gorgeous for years.

Why Wig-Specific Shampoo is a Must

Wigs are a fantastic way to change your look or cover up hair loss. But they need the proper care to stay fabulous and last a long time. Picking the right shampoo is super important, and here’s why:

First, regular shampoos have harsh chemicals that can ruin your wig’s fibers and make it lose its shape and feel. On the other hand, wig shampoos have gentle ingredients that clean and protect the wig without causing damage.

Next, wig shampoos have a pH balance that matches the wig fibers. Using a regular shampoo can mess up the wig’s pH balance, making it dry, frizzy, and hard to manage.

Lastly, wig shampoos are made to get rid of build-up from styling products and oils that can collect on the wig. Regular shampoos might not do the trick, leaving you with a dull, lifeless wig.

When it comes to wig shampoos, there are a few key features you need to look for. Let me break it down for you:

Key Features to Look for in a Wig Shampoo

Gentle and sulfate-free

Find a wig shampoo that’s gentle and sulfate-free. Sulfates are harsh chemicals that can make hair dry and brittle. A gentle, sulfate-free shampoo keeps the hair fibers healthy and your wig looking shiny.

Also, they’re usually free of harsh chemicals and have gentle ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile to nourish the hair.


Wigs, especially synthetic ones, can get dry and frizzy. To fight this, find a shampoo that’s full of moisture and hydration. Look for ingredients like glycerin or panthenol that help lock in moisture and stop the hair from getting dry and brittle. And remember, don’t wash your wig too often—once every two weeks or as the manufacturer recommends is enough.

Suitable for synthetic or human hair wigs

When picking a wig shampoo, consider whether it’s for synthetic or human hair wigs. They need different shampoos because the hair fibers are made from different materials. Find a shampoo for your wig type, whether synthetic or human hair. Some shampoos work for both, but always check the label to make sure.

How To Wash A Synthetic And Human Hair Wig

  • First, gently comb your wig before getting it wet. For curly wigs, use your fingers to detangle instead of a comb.
  • Fill a sink or bowl with cold water—hot water can damage wig fibers. Add just one tablespoon of wig shampoo.
  • Put your hands inside the cap, turn the wig inside out, and submerge it in the water. Swirl it around gently, then let it soak for five minutes.
  • After five minutes, remove the wig from the soapy water, empty the sink or bowl, and rinse the wig under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Add about one tablespoon of wig conditioner to your wig, spreading it with your fingers. Let it sit for two minutes in the now-clean sink or bowl.
  • Slowly rinse the wig with cold water until the water is clear.
  • Wrap your wig in a towel and gently squeeze or pat to remove extra water.
  • Spray the wig with a conditioning spray, then let it dry on a wig stand.
  • Let the wig dry completely before combing, brushing, or styling.

3 Wig Shampoos To Check Out

Jon Renau Cleanse Fiber Love Shampoo
This gentle formula gets rid of dirt and oil without hurting the wig fibers.

Awesome Synthetic Wig Shampoo – Just Soak
The Just Soak formula is perfect for dissolving build-up and making it easy to remove.

Estetica Designs Cleanse & Clarify Wig Shampoo
With this shampoo, you won’t even need a conditioner afterward.

4 Wig Cleaning Alternatives

If you want to keep your wig clean, shampoo isn’t the only game in town. Here are 4 other options:

Dry Shampoo Method

Looking for a quick and easy way to freshen up your wig without using wig shampoo? The dry shampoo method might be your answer. This method uses a dry shampoo spray to absorb excess oil and dirt from your wig, leaving it clean and refreshed.

Here’s how to use the dry shampoo method:

  • Shake the dry shampoo can to distribute the product evenly.
  • Hold the can about 6 inches from your wig and spray a light mist of dry shampoo onto the hair.
  • Gently work the dry shampoo into the hair with your fingers or a wig brush, focusing on the oiliest or dirtiest areas.
  • Let the dry shampoo sit for a few minutes to absorb excess oil and dirt.
  • Gently comb or shake out any excess dry shampoo with a wig brush or your fingers.

Keep in mind that while the dry shampoo method is a handy alternative to traditional wig shampoo, it shouldn’t replace regular washing. The build-up of dry shampoo can make your wig look dull and lifeless over time. Use the dry shampoo method between washings to keep your wig fresh.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

Another wig-cleaning alternative is the vinegar and baking soda method. This method effectively removes build-up and restores the wig’s natural shine. However, it may not suit all wig types, especially human hair wigs. Test a small area of the wig before applying the paste to the entire wig to ensure no damage or discoloration occurs.

Fabric Softener Method

For a gentle and effective wig-cleaning option, try the fabric softener method. This method restores the shine and softness of your wig without damaging the fibers.

Mix equal parts water and unscented fabric softener in a spray bottle. Shake well to mix the solution. Place the wig on a wig stand and spray the fabric softener evenly over the entire wig. After saturating the wig, wrap it in a towel and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the wig with cool water until all fabric softener is removed, then gently blot it with a towel and let it air dry on a wig stand.

Note that this method should only be used on synthetic wigs, as human hair wigs require special care. Also, avoid using this method too often, as it can cause build-up on wig fibers over time.

Professional wig cleaning services

Washing your wig at home is convenient and cost-effective. But using a professional wig cleaning service offers a lot of benefits.

Because they specialize in wig care, they ensure your wig is cleaned and conditioned without damaging the hair fibers.

Professional wig cleaners have experience with various wig types and have the tools, techniques, and products for effective wig care. This expertise can help extend your wig’s lifespan, making it a valuable investment.

In addition to thorough cleaning, professional wig cleaning services often will detangle, style and even repair damaged wigs. These services maintain your wig’s appearance and ensure it always looks its best.

Professional wig cleaning services also save you time and effort. By leaving your wig in expert hands, you avoid the risk of accidental damage and the hassle of washing, rinsing, and drying your wig yourself. Many wig cleaning services offer pick-up and delivery options for added convenience.

The Bottom Line

So, can you wash a wig with regular shampoo? We’d say no. Better to use a shampoo specifically made for wigs. Or, use one of the alternative methods above.

To sum it all up, treat your wig with love and care by using a gentle, sulfate-free, and moisture-rich shampoo designed specifically for wigs.

Just follow the tips here, and you’ll be strutting your stuff with a gorgeous, healthy wig that’ll have everyone’s heads turning! Now, go on and rock that stunning wig like the queen you are!