People need their hair cleaned, combed/brushed (at least twice a day), cut and set. The condition of one’s hair often tells visitors and the person themselves how well they are doing. Clean and groomed hair is important for good health and feeling good about yourself.
You can wash someone’s hair using ‘dry’ shampoo like a commercial dry shampoo, cornstarch or natural (unscented) talcum powder. This method was all the rage in the late 1960s and early 1970s for teenagersI remember it well!
For someone who needs their hair washed in bed, dry shampoo can sometimes be a quick alternative to a normal wash. Do the following:
Place a towel under the person’s head.
Sprinkle powder on the scalp and massage gently.
Brush the powder out of the hair with slow, even strokes. If it is tangled, hold the hair near the scalp before brushing through to the end.
Wash the hairbrush after each dry shampooing.
If the person needs a normal wash but cannot use the bath or shower you can wash their hair in bed. You will need:
• A plastic sheet to protect the bed.
• A waterproof cape (like in a salon) or a plastic garbage bag with a hole for the head and cut along the sides to make a cape.
• A jug or pitcher of warm-to-hot water (several if the person has long hair).
• A bucket or large basin to collect water, (there are also special shampoo trays available through some drug stores).
• A washcloth or small towel, plus two larger towels for drying.
• Comb or brush.
• A hair dryer (if needed).
To Help the Person Wash Their Hair if They Cannot Do it Themselves
1. You may want to put a towel or plastic sheet on the floor under the bucket to catch any spilled water.
2. Have the person lie on their back with their head over the side of the bed (adjust pillows, covers, etc. so they are comfortable). Put the bucket or basin on a small table under the person’s hair.
3. Cover the area with the plastic sheet and have the person wear their cape with the back side covering their pillow rather than tucked under them.
4. Pour warm water from the jug over their hair so that the water falls in the bucket or basin below.
5. Put the shampoo in and gently massage it in to lather the hair and scalp.
6. Rinse with the remaining water.
7. Dry with a towel and then with the dryer if necessary.
8. Empty the bucket and tidy up the bed. Remove the cape and plastic sheet. Place the other dry towel on the pillow to soak up any moisture still in the hair.
9. Other tasks like setting or colouring can be done in bed using the same common sense approach to comfort and cleaning as described here.
Caring For Loved Ones At Home – Free eBook – click here.
Click here for Harry’s previous article on Helping With Bath or Shower.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or are considering any recommendations, please consult your health practitioner.