Written by: Prerna Sharma

How to wash synthetic wig without wig shampoo?- 5 alternatives

At BeautyCaters, our expert team independently curates every recommended product. Purchases through our links may earn us a commission. Explore our transparent selection process.

Need to clean your synthetic wig but no wig shampoo at hand? Breathe new life into your synthetic wig with a DIY wash at home. Here’s how to wash synthetic wig without wig shampoo?

How to wash synthetic wig without wig shampoo?
How to wash synthetic wig without wig shampoo?

Why take care of synthetic wigs?

Regular maintenance is essential for preserving the longevity and natural appearance of your synthetic wig. Without proper care, the fibers can become matted, frizzy, and lose their vibrancy. By following a simple care routine, you can ensure your wig continues to look its best for extended wear.

Characteristics of synthetic wigs

  • Fiber composition: Synthetic wigs are constructed from man-made fibers designed to mimic human hair.
  • Styling versatility: Due to their heat limitations, synthetic wigs typically come pre-styled and offer limited heat styling options.
  • Maintenance requirements: Synthetic wigs generally require less maintenance due to their ability to hold their style. Washing is needed less frequently.
  • Cost: Synthetic wigs are typically a more budget-friendly option.

Related: Are shampoo bars better than liquid shampoo?

Factors affect synthetic wig

The key to a happy synthetic wig lies in understanding its needs! Besides cleaning, factors like humidity, styling habits, and products influence your wig’s health. Therefore, to ensure your wig stays looking fabulous and lasts a long time, consider them.

  • Frequency of wear: The more often you wear your wig, the more frequently it will need to be cleaned and maintained.
  • Exposure to heat: Excessive heat, such as from styling tools or direct sunlight, can cause synthetic fibers to frizz or become damaged.
  • Storage methods: Improper storage, such as folding or cramming the wig into a small space, can lead to tangling, matting, or deformities.
  • Environmental conditions: High humidity, strong winds, or exposure to harsh chemicals can all impact the lifespan of your wig.

Preparing to wash your synthetic wig

Gather the tools

Before washing the synthetic wig, ensure you have the right tools on hand.

  • A sink or basin large enough to submerge the wig
  • Mild shampoo or baby shampoo
  • A wide-toothed comb
  • A wig conditioner or fabric softener
  • A clean towel
  • A wig stand or mannequin head.

These supplies streamline the washing process and help maintain your wig’s quality.

Detangling synthetic wig
Detangling syntheti wig

Brush and detangle

Gently brush your wig with a wide-toothed comb or a wig brush and remove the tangles or knots. Start at the hair’s ends and work in sections up to the roots for a smooth and even detangling process.

Pre-treat stains or buildup

For stubborn stains or product buildup, pre-treat with a mild water and gentle shampoo mix. Dab affected areas, avoiding saturation. This primes your wig for a thorough, damage-free wash.

Wash it

Wash the wig using proper techniques. Follow these tips:

  • Prep: Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a touch of mild shampoo or baby shampoo.
  • Cleanse: Gently submerge the wig, avoiding rubbing or twisting. Swish for a few minutes, until strands are thoroughly soaked.
  • Rinse: Repeat with clean lukewarm water until all shampoo is removed.
  • Condition: Apply a light amount of wig conditioner or fabric softener, then comb through soften and detangle the strands.
  • Rinse & Dry: Rinse again and pat with a towel to remove excess water. Let air dry on a wig stand.

Post-washing wig care tips

Drying wig on wig stand
Drying wig on wig stand

After washing your synthetic wig, it’s important to follow these care tips to ensure its longevity:

  • Allow the wig to air dry on a wig stand or a clean, dry towel. Avoid using a hairdryer or exposing the wig to direct heat, as this can cause damage.
  • Once the wig is completely dry, you can gently comb or brush through the fibers to style it as desired. Remember to use a wide-toothed comb or a wig brush specially designed for synthetic wigs.
  • If your wig becomes tangled during wear, use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to gently detangle it. Avoid using excessive force or pulling on the strands to prevent damage.
  • The use of heat styling tools, such as straighteners or curling irons, is not recommended for synthetic wigs, as they can melt or warp the fibers. If you wish to style your wig, consider using low-heat alternatives like foam or fabric rollers.

Remember, proper care and maintenance play a crucial role in extending the lifespan of your synthetic wig. By following these steps, you can ensure that your wig stays clean and fresh, maintaining its natural look and feel.

How to wash a wig without wig shampoo?

First of all, we have to remind you that wig shampoo cannot be used on a human hair wig. And even though there are some available alternatives to wig shampoo, we still recommend you use them too often because the condition is very essential to keep your wigs healthy and long-lasting condition.

Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo for synthetic wig wash
Baby shampoo for synthetic wig wash

Baby shampoo can be a substitute for wig shampoo. It may not be the optimal choice, but it is milder than regular shampoos and less likely to damage the synthetic fibers. However, baby shampoo can leave synthetic wigs feeling dry and stiff, leaving your wig feeling a bit dry. To maintain your wig’s vibrancy and texture, opt for gentler alternatives.

Fill a sink with cool water and add a minimal amount of baby shampoo. Gently swish your detangled wig in the soapy water to remove dirt and oils. Rinse thoroughly with cool water until all traces of shampoo are gone. You may need to repeat the rinse to ensure complete removal.

Baking Soda

If you don’t have wig shampoo, use baking soda to remove odors. The harshness of baking soda can damage the delicate fibers, leading to frizzing, dullness, or even a shortened lifespan for your wig.

To clean your wig with baking soda, fill your sink with 3 quarts of warm water and add ½ to ¾ cups of baking soda. Make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved before soaking your wig for at least 4 hours. Rinse well and let it dry. This method deodorizes odors and refreshes your wig.

Dish Soap

Dish soap for wig wash
Dish soap for wig wash

For a professional-grade clean, consider using a small amount of diluted dish soap. Mild dish soap can be a surprising hero for cleaning your synthetic wig in a pinch! This will effectively cleanse your wig without compromising its quality. Remember to rinse the wig with cool water to remove any soap residue.

Fill your sink with cool water and add a tiny squirt of dish soap. Remember, a little goes a long way – too much soap will leave you rinsing forever! After detangling your wig, gently swish it in the soapy water to remove makeup and oil build-up. Avoid rough scrubbing, as this can tangle the fibers. Once clean, rinse thoroughly with cool water until all traces of soap disappear. Repeat rinsing if necessary to ensure a squeaky-clean wig.

Fabric Softener

Fabric softner for wig wash
Fabric softner for wig wash

Fabric softener can be a great addition to your wig-washing routine! It helps prevent stiffness and adds a touch of softness. Look for a mild, fragrance-free formula specifically designed for delicate fabrics.

Simply fill a basin with cool water and add a small amount of fabric softener. Gently swish your wig for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cool water to remove all the softener. Squeeze out excess water and place the wig on a towel to absorb moisture. You can roll the towel to remove even more water. Finally, hang your wig to air dry on a stand or mannequin head to maintain its shape.


Cornstarch for wig wash
Cornstarch for wig wash

Cornstarch offers a water-free approach to freshening your synthetic wig. It is harmless and effective deodorizer. This method is particularly useful when you lack access to water or wig shampoo.

Simply ensure your wig is completely dry, then liberally sprinkle it with cornstarch. Let it sit for about five minutes to absorb any lingering odors. Finally, shake out the cornstarch and brush your wig as usual. This quick technique is a great way to revive your wig between washes.

Tips for washing different wig types

Different wigs need different kinds of washing and caring technique. Here are the 3 caring tips of three primary types of wigs:

  • Straight Wigs: Ensure your straight wig retains its smooth, sleek appearance, prioritize gentle handling during the washing process. Minimize friction by avoiding rough scrubbing or twisting. When detangling and drying, use a wide-toothed comb and avoid excessive manipulation to maintain a frizz-free finish.
  • Curly Wigs:  For wigs with defined curls, prioritize preserving curl pattern. Utilize a wide-tooth comb or even your fingers to gently detangle curls. Avoid harsh rubbing or pulling motions that could disrupt curl definition.
  • Textured Wigs (Waves, Twists): Maintain the unique texture of your wig (waves, twists) by incorporating products specifically designed for that texture.  These specialized products will help the wig retain its desired style throughout the washing and drying process.

10 to-dos for synthetic wig care

  • Lukewarm love: Use lukewarm water only! Hot water damages synthetic fibers.
  • Gentle flow: Allow water to flow down to avoid tangles.
  • Squeaky clean rinse: Rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo and conditioner residue that can alter texture.
  • Pat, don’t queeze: Gently pat with a towel to remove excess water. Wringing damages the wig.
  • Towel tenderness: Be gentle when blotting with a towel to avoid harming the fibers.
  • Air it out: Let your wig air dry naturally for the gentlest approach.
  • Stand up straight: Place the wig on a stand or head to maintain shape and promote even drying.
  • Skip the heat: Avoid using hot styling tools like irons or straighteners.
  • Cool alternatives: Style your wig with cold rollers, steam, or wig-friendly products.
  • Heat-free beauty: Maintain your wig’s style without damaging the synthetic fibers.

These steps help keep your synthetic wig clean and looking good for a long time.

How to care for your synthetic hair properly?

Synthetic hair offers a budget-friendly and versatile alternative to natural hair for wigs, extensions, and hairpieces. But just like natural hair, it thrives with proper care.

  • Brushing: Regularly detangle your synthetic hair with a wide-tooth comb or wig brush. Start at the ends, working your way up gently to prevent tangles, especially with curly or wavy styles.
  • Washing: Maintain cleanliness and softness with regular washes. Use lukewarm water and a mild shampoo designed for synthetic hair. Avoid hot water and harsh shampoos, and remember to rinse thoroughly and gently remove excess water.
  • Heat Styling: Be cautious with heat! If your wig isn’t heat-resistant, skip hot tools like straighteners or curling irons. Opt for cool styling tools or products specifically designed for synthetic hair.

Factors influencing wig appearance and texture

Perceiving exceptional appearance and maintaining the desired texture of your synthetic wig relies on understanding the following factors:

  • Cleansing products: Using the wrong cleaning solutions, such as regular shampoo or harsh chemicals, can strip away the wig’s natural shine and cause damage.
  • Styling techniques: The way you style your wig, including brushing, combing, or using heated tools, can impact its appearance and overall texture.
  • Conditioning methods: Proper conditioning helps restore moisture and manageability to the wig, ensuring a soft and natural feel.

Therefore, it is essential to choose appropriate cleaning solutions and adopt gentle styling and conditioning techniques to maintain the optimal look and feel of your synthetic wig.

Choosing the right cleanser

When it comes to cleaning your synthetic wig without wig shampoo, it is important to exercise caution and select suitable alternatives:

Resorting to regular shampoo or unknown cleaning products can do more harm than good. Instead, opt for specialized wig cleansers or gentle, sulfate-free shampoos specifically formulated for synthetic wigs. These solutions ensure effective cleansing without compromising the integrity of the fibers.

By keeping these factors in mind and adopting proper cleaning techniques, you can extend the lifespan, enhance appearance, and maintain the desired texture of your synthetic wig effectively.

FAQ about washing wig

What can you use instead of synthetic wig shampoo?

Mild dish soap can be a surprisingly effective and budget-conscious substitute for specialized wig shampoo. Its gentle cleansing properties effectively remove dirt and buildup from synthetic wig fibers without causing harm.

Can you wash a synthetic wig with regular shampoo?

Yes, you can wash synthetic wigs with regular shampoo, but it must be a mild one, free of harsh chemicals, sulfates and parabens. These chemicals lead to tangle and frizz.

How to wash a synthetic wig with regular shampoo?

While regular shampoo can be used in a pinch, dilute it heavily in cool water. Gently swish the wig, avoiding harsh scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out excess water. Air dry on a stand and avoid heat styling. Remember, gentler methods are ideal for long-lasting wig health.

How often should you wash your wig?

Wash your wig based on wear and product use! Every 2-3 weeks for frequent wear or heavy styling, and less often for light use. Listen to your wig – wash it when it feels dull, smells, or gets heavy.

Can you wash synthetic wigs with laundry detergent?

No, never use laundry detergent to wash your synthetic wig.
Laundry detergents contain powerful cleaning agents designed for natural fibers. These chemicals can be highly detrimental to the delicate structure of synthetic hair, causing significant damage and compromising the lifespan of your wig.

Final Word: How to wash synthetic wig without wig shampoo?

This guide empowers you to maintain your synthetic wig’s vibrancy, transforming wig care into an act of self-love. We’ve explored everything from understanding your wig’s unique needs to proper washing and styling techniques.

Remember, gentle handling and appropriate products are key to a happy wig! Whether your style is sleek and straight, bouncily curly, or boasts a textured twist, we’ve provided tricks to keep it looking its best.

By following these steps, you’re not just caring for a wig – you’re nurturing a confidence booster that empowers you to radiate fabulousness. So, whether you’re a wig newbie or a seasoned pro, these tips ensure your wig stays happy, healthy, and stylish. Embrace the fun of wig care and keep dazzling the world with your stunning looks!

Prerna Sharma
Prerna Sharma
Articles: 6