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3 Best Ways to Wash Your Hair When No Shower Is Available

When my mother was up in years, getting in the shower was no longer an option. With it being difficult for her to get around, sometimes I had to get creative when helping her wash her hair. This is what I learned through trial and error.

The best ways to wash your hair without getting in the shower include using an inflatable shampoo bowl or an in-bed head wash system. You can use these two methods when you are bedridden or immobile. You can also use a shampoo cap to wash your hair.

For most folks, this inflatable shampoo basin will take care of any hair-washing needs you have nicely, without ever setting foot in a shower.

What if washing your hair in the shower isn’t an option? The obvious choice is a sink, but what if that isn’t an option either? In this article, I’ll explore the best ways to wash your hair without getting in the shower and answer some frequently asked questions on the subject – keep reading to learn more. 

1. Wash Your Hair Using an Inflatable Shampoo Bowl 

If you are bedridden or immobile, one of the best ways to wash your hair without getting in the shower is using an inflatable shampoo bowl and buckets. Get someone to assist you if you want to use this method. 

Below are the items you’ll require to wash hair using an inflatable shampoo bowl: 

An Inflatable Shampoo Bowl

As the name suggests, an inflatable shampoo bowl is inflatable, making it a comfortable way to wash your hair.

I recommended an inflatable shampoo basin, like this one from Amazon. It is ideal for washing hair conveniently and quickly while lying in bed. 

The features that make the inflatable shampoo bowl ideal for washing hair without getting in the shower include the following:

  • It’s inflatable. The shampoo bowl has a pump that allows you to inflate it when you want to use it. You can deflate and store it when not in use. 
  • It’s portable. You can deflate the shampoo bowl and carry it around conveniently, as it’s compact and lightweight. 
  • It’s not messy. It’s easy to drain as it has a drainage hole, plug, and an attached drainage pipe. Therefore, it’s not messy when washing your hair in bed. 
  • It’s comfortable to use. Washing your hair over a normal basin is quite painful. However, this inflatable shampoo bowl has secure, form-fitting support that makes it comfortable as it cushions your shoulders and head. This quality makes it great for people with limited mobility or those who are bedridden. 

Two Plastic Buckets

You’ll need two large plastic buckets when washing your hair using an inflatable shampoo bowl. Here’s why you’ll need two buckets:

  • Bucket one: This bucket will hold warm water for cleaning the hair. You use this water for both the shampooing and rinsing processes.
  • Bucket two: You place this bucket under the inflatable shampoo bowl and put the drainage pipe of the shampoo bowl inside the bucket. All the drainage water goes into the bucket, preventing wetting and messing up the floor. 

Other Items You’ll Need When Using a Shampoo Bowl

In addition to the shampoo bowl and buckets, you’ll need other items to wash your hair. These items include: 

  • Warm water: The first bucket will hold warm water. You use the water to shampoo and rinse the hair. 
  • A plastic cup: You’ll use the cup to scoop the warm water from the bucket and pour it on the hair when shampooing and rinsing. You could also use a small plastic jug instead of a plastic cup.
  • Absorbent plastic sheet: Some water could pour over the bowl or jug if you wash your hair in bed or sit on a chair. The absorbent plastic sheet protects the mattress and other surfaces from getting wet. 
  • Shampoo: It cleanses your hair, leaving it fresh and smelling good. 
  • Towels: The towels are for wrapping around you to prevent water from getting on your clothes as you wash your hair. They are also for drying your hair.

Check out this useful YouTube video for other tips on washing your hair without getting into the shower: 

2. Wash Your Hair Using an In-Bed Head Wash System

If you’re bedridden, using the SP Ableware In-Bed Head Wash System  (available on is one of the best ways to wash your hair. It’s a double-walled wash basin that makes cleaning your hair in bed easy and convenient. 

The features that make this system ideal for washing hair in bed include the following:

  • It’s comfortable. The in-bed head wash system is comfortable because it has an agreeable, contoured neck support. 
  • It’s portable. The basin is plastic, lightweight, and easy to carry around.
  • It’s double-walled. The basin has two walls – the top part is for putting clean water for washing your hair. The second wall holds the used water, and you can quickly dispose of the water after use.  
  • It’s convenient to use. Since it simultaneously holds clean and dirty water, it’s convenient. You don’t need buckets to put the clean or used water.
  • It has a drain plug. The system has a drain plug that you can tighten when carrying the basin away for emptying. Therefore, there’s no fuss and no mess. 
  • It’s easy to clean. Cleaning this system after use is relatively easy. You clean it with a mild detergent or soap, rinse and dry it before storage. 

Other Items You’ll Need When Using In-Bed Head Wash System

When washing your hair using the In-Bed Head Wash System, you require all the other items that you usually use when washing your hair. These items include: 

  • Warm water for cleaning the hair.
  • Hair shampoo to cleanse the hair.
  • Clean towels to protect your clothes from getting wet and for drying hair. 
  • Combs for combing and styling the hair. 
  • Plastic sheets to protect the mattress from getting wet. 

3. Wash Your Hair Using a Shampoo Cap

Another great way to wash your hair without getting in the shower is by using a shampoo cap. A shampoo cap looks like a shower cap. However, the difference is that the shampoo cap allows you to clean your hair without using water. The cap has a unique cleansing and nourishing liquid that cleans your hair. 

A shampoo cap is ideal to use if you are immobile, bedridden, or when you can’t stand in the shower or use a sink for whatever reason. The features that make a shampoo cap ideal for washing your hair include the following: 

  • The shampoo cap is easy to use. As I mentioned, it looks like a shower cap, making it easy to use. You wear the shampoo cap on your head and massage it on your hair for the recommended number of minutes.  
  • You don’t have to use water. Another great feature of the shampoo cap is that you don’t have to use water to wash or rinse your hair. Once you have finished, remove the cap, dry your hair, and then comb and style it. 
  • It cleans hair fast. Most shampoo caps recommend massaging it on the hair for about 3 to 5 minutes. The shampoo in the cap removes dead skin and odor from your hair, leaving it clean and fresh. 
  • It massages the head. There is nothing more relaxing than a head massage. The shampoo cap allows you to get a head massage, reducing tension and relieving stress. 
  • The cap can shampoo and condition hair. Some shampoo caps, such as the Nurture Valley Shampoo Cap (available on Amazon), shampoo and condition your hair, leaving it clean, smooth, shiny, and soft. 
  • Some shampoo caps are microwaveable. You can warm some shampoo caps in the microwave if necessary. This is a great feature, especially during winter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do it. 
  • It’s easy to dispose of. After using the shampoo cap, you can dispose of it in the trash.

Related Can I Use a Beard Trimmer to Cut My Hair? | It Depends.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve discussed the best ways to wash your hair without getting in the shower. Now, let’s look at some FAQs on this subject. 

What’s The Best Way to Wash Hair Sitting in a Chair?

A woman with dark hair getting her hair washed in a basin

The best way to wash hair sitting in a chair is using a hair funnel. This product allows you to comfortably wash your hair while sitting upright in a chair. A hair funnel is an excellent option for those with neck issues or problems standing in the shower or bending over a sink. 

A shampoo funnel has excellent features that make it ideal for washing your hair while sitting in a chair. These features include: 

  • It’s comfortable to use. If you’re unwell, have neck or back issues, and can’t use the shower, sink, or shampoo bowl, you can comfortably use a hair funnel. For instance, the ZAY323 Hair Funnel (available on Amazon) is a comfortable product, perfect for immobile users. 
  • The shampoo funnel stays in place. The hair funnel stays in place as you wash your hair because it has a touch-and-close fastener. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about getting wet while washing your hair. 
  • It’s not messy. The design of the hair funnel enables the dirty water to divert to a bucket, bowl, or tub. Therefore, there is no mess as you wash your hair. 
  • It has a forehead visor. The hair funnel has a forehead visor that protects your face from water splashes and drips.
  • The funnel is long. Since the funnel is long (most are about 12 inches), it’s ideal for washing any hair length. 
  • The funnel has adjustable velcro. The adjustable velcro on this product fits all head sizes. 

Can I Wash My Hair With a Washcloth?

You can wash your hair with a washcloth if you have no access to water or can’t use traditional methods such as the shower or sink. All you need is a washcloth, a cup of water, and mild shampoo. Washing your hair with a washcloth is effective and gentle on your scalp and hair. 

Below are some advantages of washing your hair with a washcloth:

Washing Your Hair With a Wash Cloth Saves Time

Washing your hair with a washcloth saves more time than using other methods such as the shower, sink, or shampoo bowl. Here’s how easy it is to wash your hair with a washcloth:

  1. Wet the washcloth thoroughly and wring it out.
  2. Pour a little shampoo on the washcloth.
  3. Create a lather by rubbing the cloth together.
  4. Use circular motions to massage your scalp with the cloth – the shampoo gets into your scalp and cleanses it.
  5. Rub the cloth on your hair to remove dirt and grease.
  6. Rinse the washcloth, wring it, and rinse your hair – run the fabric through your scalp and hair until all the shampoo is out. 
  7. Dry your hair with a towel.
  8. Comb and style your hair.

Washing Your Hair With a Wash Cloth Is Good for a Sensitive Scalp

If your scalp is sensitive, washing your hair with a washcloth is an excellent idea, as its fibers are gentle. The fibers of the cloth slough away the dead skin cells and exfoliate the scalp’s surface without irritating it. The result is a clean and fresh scalp and hair. 

How Often Should I Wash My Hair if I Am Immobile or Bedridden?

You should wash your hair at least once a week if you are immobile or bedridden. Having a clean scalp and hair prevents your hair from becoming greasy and uncomfortable. You can also use a dry shampoo between washes to freshen your hair. 

Click here to read what WebMD says about dry shampoo

An elderly woman getting her hair washed in bed in a plastic tub or basin

You might wonder if it’s necessary to regularly wash your hair if you are immobile or bedridden. According to Nursing Times, taking care of one’s hair is a crucial part of personal hygiene and influences a person’s self-esteem and quality of life. Therefore, as a minimum, hair should be washed at least once a week. 

However, how often you wash your hair when you’re immobile or bedridden also depends on your hair type and hair condition: 

  • Oily hair: It’s normal and expected for hair to have some oil. However, if your hair is naturally oily, you may need to wash it more frequently (at least twice a week). The reason is that oily hair can make you uncomfortable and appear matted and dirty. 
  • Sweaty hair: If you wear headwear for an extended period when you are bedridden, your head will become sweaty. The sweat gets into your hair, and you might feel like your hair is dirty or has a foul smell. In this case, you may have to clean your hair more than once per week. 

For more, check out Can I Use Soap as Shampoo? (With 5 Alternatives).