How to Wash Your Senior’s Hair in Bed [Video]

When seniors need to wash hair in bed

Some older adults can’t bathe normally because they have limited mobility or have Alzheimer’s or dementia and stubbornly resist bathing.

When they’re not able to get into the shower or bath, it can seem impossible to keep their hair and scalp clean. No-rinse shampoos, dry shampoo, or wiping with wet cloths are helpful, but just aren’t as good as a thorough hair washing.

A real wash with water and regular shampoo will make your senior feel more comfortable and keeps their scalp healthier. We found a video tutorial and an inexpensive product to help you wash someone’s hair in bed without getting everything wet.


How to wash your senior’s hair in bed

We found a helpful 3 minute video that takes you step by step through the process of washing your senior’s hair in bed.

Watching how it’s done in the video makes it easier to know how to do it yourself without getting water everywhere. Here, we’ve summarized the supplies you’ll need and the steps to take.

What you’ll need:

  • Inflatable basin for hair washing (product suggestions below)
  • Garbage bags and/or a few towels to line the bed and keep it dry
  • Washcloths
  • Towels
  • Mild shampoo
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Cup for scooping water
  • Empty bucket to drain dirty water


12 steps to washing your senior’s hair:

  1. Lay out all your supplies so you know you have everything you’ll need
  2. Line the bed to keep it from getting wet
  3. Fill one bucket with warm water
  4. Gently place your senior’s head into the inflatable basin
  5. Make sure the basin is set up to drain into the empty bucket
  6. Scoop warm water from the full bucket to wet their hair
  7. Use a small amount of shampoo to wash their hair – using too much will make it difficult to rinse out
  8. Scoop warm water to rinse hair completely
  9. If hair is very dirty, shampoo and rinse again
  10. When hair is clean, gently remove your senior’s head from the basin
  11. Wrap their head in a dry towel to keep them warm and comfortable
  12. Make sure the basin is fully drained – you might need to tip it over into the bathtub


For extra comfort, consider:

  • Plugging ears with cotton balls to keep water from getting in
  • Lining the neck opening with a small towel to protect from scratchy plastic seams
  • Giving them a washcloth to hold on their face if they’re concerned that you might get water in their eyes
  • Using a soothing lavender-scented shampoo for a relaxing experience


3 inflatable hair washing tub options


Next Step  Watch this video for a step-by-step demonstration of how to wash hair in bed (3 min)


You might also like:
7 Tips to Get Someone with Alzheimer’s to Take a Bath
Senior Bathing: What’s Really Necessary?
Incontinence Pads for Beds: Layers Keep Things Dry


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Co-operative Independent Living

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