How to: Wash a doll wig

People need to wash their hair because it is alive and needs to be taken care of. While dolls may not get greasy hair or dandruff, they still need the occasional hair wash, or wig wash to be precise.

So why wash a doll wig? Well although the fibre is synthetic, it can still collect dust and dirt like anything else in the house can. Having a doll with dusty hair doesn’t look very nice and it can cause the wig to tangle and knot easier too.

[As a quick note, I would like to say that I have never owned or had any experience washing curled or wavy wigs. I do not know if this method will be suitable for curly or wavy wigs. ]

An example of a dusty unwashed wig. I think we can all agree it needs a wash.

An example of a dusty unwashed wig. I think we can all agree it needs a wash.

Washing synthetic doll wigs is cheap and easy to do, so here’s how.


Step 1:

First take the wig and thoroughly wet the hair from top to bottom, inside and out. I used a shower because its more convenient, however soaking the wig in water would work just as well.

Step 2:

Get some hair conditioner. I use conditioner instead of shampoo, because lathering up shampoo into doll hair could damage the synthetic fibres. I use a cheep and simple child’s conditioner. It was 97pence but it works a treat (its nice on my hair too!) I use children’s conditioners, because they don’t have all the fancy chemicals  in it like adult products do. After all, dolls don’t need solutions for dry and damaged hair, coloured and dyed hair or heat styling perfection.

Step 3:

Take your conditioner and squirt a nice dollop into your hands, then carefully but thoroughly work the conditioner through the hair. Start at the top and then smooth your hand and the conditioner down to the bottom of the hair. Make sure all the hair is covered inside and out, it should have a slimey feel to it all over. Once all the hair is covered, leave the conditioner in for a bout 5-10 minutes. If you have other doll wigs to wash, then go do theirs now, if not, go and make yourself a cuppa and read the paper for a bit.

Step 4:

Once you have left the conditioner some time to work it’s magic, you need to go back and then thoroughly rinse out all of the conditioner. Having a high powered shower is a godsend for this. If you don’t have a shower, then you will have to rinse it by pouring clean water onto the hair and soaking it in a basin of water.

Make sure all the conditioner is gone, if not it will leave a yucky residue later. When its all gone the wig should feel wet, but not slimey and also the wig shouldn’t bubble and foam up any more when rinsing. The water should just run of the wig, clean and still, no colour or bubbles.

Step 5:

Now we need to lightly towel dry the wig. The wig retain a lot of water and will drip like an open tap if you hang it up to dry right away. Also by towel drying the wig first, it will take much less time to dry overall. First lay the wig out on a towel like so.

Then take the other end of the towel and place it over the wig. Now starting at the top of the wig, press down on the towel and gently but firmly pat the towel onto the hair. Then move down a bit and do it again. Repeat this until all the wig is done. The wig should not be dripping wet any more, it will be damp, but not wet.

Step 6:

Next we need to brush the hair out before hanging it to dry. If you don’t brush the hair before leaving it to dry, then any tangles will dry into the wig and be a pain to detangle later. I usually use a toothbrush to brush my doll wigs, however because the hair is still very dam and tangly, a toothbrush would be really hard work. So for these cases I have a small hairbrush I use. You can find these really easily in the UK, they are used by women to put in their pockets or handbags so they can fix their hair on the go.

We now brush the wig in the opposite way we dried it. This time, start about an inch away from the bottom of the wig and brush the hair down. Do this as many times as it takes, once you are no longer snagging or tugging on tangles, you can move on.

Next, move your brush about an inch above where you started before, then repeat the process until there are no tangles. It’s best to do it this way because if you started right from the top and then brushed out the tangles, you would be brushing the tangles through the whole length of the hair and this will just make more tangles and could damage the wig. By doing it this way, it is much quicker and easier to do. Keep doing this process until all of the wig is brushed and tangle free.

Step 7:

Now we need to let the wigs dry off, because they are still very damp. I use a coat hangar to hold the wigs, then I hang it over the shower rail of the bath. This way if there’s any drips, its going into the bath and not dripping on the floor or the bath mat. I leave the wigs overnight before putting them back on the doll. The wig fibres may be dry, but the roots and the wig cap stay very damp for ages.  I left these ones for about 17 hours to dry. I washed them in the afternoon and put them back on the doll the morning after.

Step 8:

Now you can sit back, admire, laugh or cringe at you beautiful bald dolls.

So whats the finished result?

Tah dah!

Tah dah!

Wig after washing, all that nasty dust and fluff is gone and the hair is laying nicely and tangle free now.


13 thoughts on “How to: Wash a doll wig

    • it shouldn’t be to much of a problem. Though, you might have already tried seeing how you commented 6 months back.

      But, unless it’s a natural hair wig which was styled to be curled or waved. It should go back to it’s normal self.

  1. As I said, I have no experience washing wavy and curly wig, so I have no idea if this method would damage the wig.

    Use the method at your own risk.

  2. iwant to wash a little boy blue wig. it is straight. i want it to curl like a pageboy. should i set in curlers when it is wet?

  3. ^^ I just tried this on Ellie’s long wavy wig I cant say for super curly but wavy does just fine with this method.

  4. I have experience washing my wigs that I use for cosplay and it’s the same ordeal.
    Synthetic wigs sometimes are “baked” into their styles so they will bounce back after drying
    I have a curly wig and it’s about the same process (watering it first, ect) but instead I put a small amount of conditioner in the actual wig and some in a sink with water, Then slowly from the bottom of the wig to the top/bangs I place it in and run my finger through or a wig brush, for my specific wig I use an afro pic because of the wide tooth-ness. I assume the process would be the same with synthetic bjd wigs.

    If your bjd wig is not as curly in your eyes after you could curl it with a small strips of fabric after.
    There are tutorials online how to do it with your own hair. I did this with my cosplay wig and some of the curls stayed even after I washed it recently.

  5. Hi! :)
    I was wondering about washing the inside of the wig. (The cloth part that goes on top of the doll’s head, keeps the wig in place) Will I have to do any special treatment for that part? Or should I just wash that part to? :)

    Many thanks-

    • I’m not sure why the wig cap would really need washing, but if you are set on doing it, I would just rinse it with water. Maybe use a little fabric conditioner if you really felt the need to as it won’t harm the fibres.

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