The Best Way to Wash Hair in a Wheelchair [Steps & Tips]

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Being in a wheelchair can make many tasks more complex, and washing your hair is one of them. However, being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

The best way to wash your hair in a wheelchair is to use the sink, a method that you or your caregiver can use to make hair-washing simple and quick. 

Even if you are in bed, a basin can replace the sink.

Of course, it is essential to take your time and ensure you don’t use too much shampoo to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating a washing station with the necessary tools is the best way to wash hair in a wheelchair efficiently.
  • Hair washing tips and tricks, such as using a towel turban and beginning with lukewarm water, can make the process more comfortable.
  • Taking care of scalp health by avoiding over-scrubbing, using a soft brush, and using conditioner every time is key to maintaining healthy hair.

How to Wash Your Hair in a Wheelchair

The best way to wash your hair when in a wheelchair is to use the SINK. It’s easy to roll up to and provides you with enough reach to do it yourself or have a caregiver do it for you.

This is especially useful if you have a day when it’s too DIFFICULT to have a full shower and want your hair to feel nice and clean.

Similarly, these steps can be used if you wash someone’s hair for them. It can help you find a more EFFECTIVE way to clean your patient’s hair without causing strain to either of you.

What You Will Need

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Small towel
  • Shower cap

CHECK: How to Be Confident in a Wheelchair

Steps for Washing Your Hair in a Wheelchair

Before we get into the steps, you might find that a hair-washing tray or an inflatable shampoo basin works more EFFECTIVELY if you have a high sink that is uncomfortable to lean back against.

1. Roll up next to the sink and place your towel over the edge, so it isn’t in the way

2. Leeaning your head into the sink, wet your hair with warm water

3. Apply a small amount of shampoo

4. Rub it into your scalp for best results

5. Rinse with cool water

6. Apply a small amount of conditioner

7. Massage it through your hair for the best results

8. Place hair in a shower cap for a few minutes and rinse with cool water

9. Place the towel around your shoulders and dry your hair as best you can

10. Blow dry hair if possible to speed up the process

Pro Tip: If your wheelchair has an adjustable backrest, you can recline towards the sink just as you would at the hairdresser.

Tips for Washing Your Hair in a Wheelchair

Trying to make things as EASY as possible for yourself when washing your hair is advised. Here are some tips for easing the pressure and making hair-washing a more enjoyable task:

  • Make sure you take your time and don’t rush the process
  • Have someone help with the washing if possible, especially those who are physically challenged (Don’t struggle. Ask for help.)
  • Take breaks as needed so that you don’t over-exert yourself
  • Focus on one thing at a time to make it easier
  • Use lukewarm water for the best results [1]
  • Don’t use too much shampoo, as this can be hard to rinse out
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly after washing and conditioning
  • Work in small sections if possible, so it is easier to move around
  • Make sure you have a towel ready to protect yourself from water splashes
  • Follow up with a leave-in conditioner if needed

Maintaining Healthy Hair in a Wheelchair

Taking care of your hair doesn’t stop at washing it. It is IMPORTANT to ensure you are keeping it healthy and nourished even when confined to a wheelchair.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Trim your hair regularly to get rid of split ends and promote healthy growth
  • Use deep conditioning masks or oils that can help nourish and protect the strands
  • Avoid styling tools like straighteners, curlers, and blow dryers, as they can damage your hair
  • Invest in good quality hair products that are designed to protect and nourish the strands
  • Moisturize your scalp regularly with oils or cream-based products
  • Keep a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals, as this will help keep your hair healthy [2]

How to Wash Your Hair From Your Bed

If you cannot get to the sink, there is an easier way. You can use a BASIN filled with warm water and place it on your lap or by your side. 

We all have bed days sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel UNCOMFORTABLE with greasy hair.

In this case, you will need:

  • A large basin
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Towel

Steps for Washing Your Hair From Your Bed

A portable shampoo bowl can come in the form of a kitchen sink basin if you want to SAVE money. 

You might also want to consider investing in a shampoo hair funnel to protect the surrounding bedding.

1. Fill the basin with warm water

2. Place the basin on your lap or by your side

3. Wet your hair with warm water from the basin

4. Apply shampoo in small amounts and rub it into your scalp

5. Rinse with cool water

6. Apply a small amount of conditioner and massage it through your hair

7. Leave it in a shampoo cap for a few minutes and rinse with cool water

8. Place the towel around your shoulders and dry your hair as best you can

9. Use a blow-dryer if possible to make things faster

Pro Tip: Make sure you place a few extra towels around your head and the basin to avoid getting your sheets and mattress soaked.

CHECK: How to Determine if You Need a Wheelchair Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dry Shampoo a Good Option for Wheelchair Users?

Yes, dry shampoo is an excellent option for someone in a wheelchair. It is best to use a water-based version as it will help absorb any oil and leave you feeling clean and refreshed.

What If I Don’t Have Anyone to Help Me Wash My Hair?

It can be difficult if you don’t have anyone to help you wash your hair, but it is still possible. 
Investing in a shower chair or basin attached to the side of the wheelchair can make things easier and allow you to do it independently.

How Long Can You Go Without Washing Your Hair?

It is best to wash your hair every two to three days. However, it can be beneficial to do an “oil” cleanse in between washes if you can. 
This involves using a small amount of oil on the scalp and combing it through before rinsing out.

Conclusion

Washing hair can be a CHALLENGE if you are confined to a wheelchair, but achieving beautiful and healthy hair is still possible with the right tools, tips, and tricks.

Take your time, invest in good quality products, and ensure you care for your scalp. Doing so will help you MAINTAIN healthy-looking hair even when in a wheelchair.

We hope this guide has been able to help you find an easy and efficient way to wash your hair from your wheelchair. 

Dirty hair has never felt cleaner, and your next hair wash will feel much more manageable.

black woman wearing a white robe

Resources:

  1. Better Not Younger. What Is the Best Water Temperature for Washing My Hair? Better Not Younger. Published January 26, 2022. Accessed December 23, 2022. https://better-notyounger.com/blogs/the-better-blog/what-is-the-best-water-temperature-for-washing-my-hair
  2. Raman R. The 13 Best Foods for Hair Growth. Healthline. Published May 18, 2022. Accessed December 23, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-for-hair-growth#

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