How to Wash Someone’s Hair in a Wheelchair

how to wash someone's hair in a wheelchair

It is paramount to pay extra attention to your hair care, as it is one of the easiest things that can slip your mind due to your disability.

Your hair appearance contributes greatly to your health, beauty, and confidence.

If you don’t take care of your hair or even attempt to wash it, it will clog your hair follicles, resulting in a scalp build-up, hair damage, growth impediment, and make you appear scruffy.

You should wash your hair at least every three weeks or monthly, given your condition.

When it comes to washing the hair of someone in a wheelchair, the cases are unique. As such, you can’t treat them all the same way.

Your caregiver or hairstylist should be aware of other medical conditions you may have besides your disability.

As a caregiver or hairdresser, ask a professional healthcare practitioner like the disabled’s doctor, occupational therapist, or physical therapist to aid you with some useful medical advice or tips on how to position your disabled client before washing their hair.

The professionals will be sure to give you a response based on the diagnosis of the disabled. 

Table of Contents

Washing a Disabled Individual’s Hair on a Chair without a Basin

how to shampoo someone in a wheelchair
Image credit:

Get a bowl, three towels – two medium and one small-sized, and shampoo. Place them on a table.

Put water (preferably warm) into the basin about halfway or slightly over. Place a medium-sized dry towel to cover the neck and back of the disabled. Express just sufficient shampoo on your hands and gently massage the disabled individual’s hair with it for 1-2 minutes.

Rinse your hands, take the small-sized towel and dip it into the water in the bowl. Begin to wipe the disabled’s head, replacing the water at required intervals. Continue to do this until you have taken off all the shampoo.

Wrap the other medium-sized towel around the disabled’s head to prevent chills while you clear up. You can then blow-dry and condition the hair.

Related: How to Choose a Reliable Transport Wheelchair (Complete Guide)

Washing a Disabled Individual’s Hair on a Chair in Front of a Basin

how to wash someone's hair in a wheelchair

Wheel the disabled to the front of the basin. Gently adjust their chair and head if the basin seems too low or higher than the chair – depending on the kind of wheelchair the individual uses.

If the basin has a warm and cold water option, use the warm option. But remember not to leave it running as it may become hot and scald the scalp of the disabled. Place a towel on the neck of the disabled and use water sparingly.

Dampen the hair and apply shampoo. Scrub the hair gently until you are satisfied you have removed the dirt in the hair. Give the hair a satisfactorily good rinse and dry it with a towel.

Wheel the disabled away from the basin so that you can clear up. Afterward, you can decide to blow dry, condition, or help style the disabled’s hair.

Using Specially Designed Products for Ease

These are products formulated specially to help give a disabled individual, caregiver, or stylist an easy hair wash. Some of these products include a portable shampoo bowl, hair washing tray, inflatable shampoo basin, ‘shamp-ease’ comfort cape, hair funnel, and shampoo caps.

You can use any of these products to wash the disabled’s hair depending on what they can afford or what you have to offer.

Below is how to use these products to wash disabled individuals’ hair.

Related: How to Bathe a Disabled Person Easily

Portable Shampoo Bowl

It is also known as a mobile sink and can be seen in almost every salon you visit. It is so functional because it is portable and adjustable, unlike the fixed basin. If you haven’t assembled your shampoo bowl, then do so and place it at your desired spot.

Wheel the disabled to the bowl, place a towel on their neck (to prevent them from getting soaked up), and adjust the bowl to fit the head and neck of the disabled comfortably. Next, attach the hose to the portable shampoo bowl.

Get a bucket and place the hose inside to drain the water used in washing the hair. Unlike when you place the hose in the sink, this method allows the free flow of water rather than gathering up.

Get another bucket and pour some warm water into it to wash the hair. You would also need a cup to scoop the water. Use water sparingly so that the bucket collecting the drain does not get filled up quickly.

Dampen the hair and apply shampoo. Then, scrub gently and rinse the shampoo out after scrubbing. Finally, dry and condition the hair.

Related: Getting a Disabled Person into a Boat: The Complete Guide

Hair Funnel

This product is like an open shower cap with a Velcro at the opening and a funnel attached at the bottom. It functions as an attachment from the head of the disabled to the washbasin. So you need not bother about the basin height or adjusting the wheelchair.

Begin by un-strapping the Velcro and hooking the cap beneath the hair, right across the disabled forehead. Strap the Velcro back lightly and wheel them to the sink. Place a towel on their neck while being economical with water to avoid getting the floor messy.

Place the cap end, looking like a funnel, into the basin and start washing the hair with shampoo. Rinse clean, remove the cap and dry the hair with a clean towel.

Inflatable Shampoo Basin

This product is a balloon-like material that can be inflated and deflated after use. When inflated, it looks like a basin, and it has a hose connector.

Blow up the tub till it looks like a basin. Then connect the hose. Put it on a table, get a bucket (to collect the drain), and drop the hose inside. Wheel the disabled to the table and place a towel on their neck, but be careful not to let water get into the ear when washing.

Adjust the basin to fit the neck and start washing the hair with warm water and shampoo. Rinse the hair and dry with a towel. Wheel the disabled away and clear up before the floor gets messy with water. Deflate the basin after cleaning it for future use.   

How to Wash Someone’s Hair in a Wheelchair (Video)

How to Wash Someone’s Hair in a Wheelchair


My love for the disabled community started when I helped a blind man cross the road at around age 6. Fast forward to decades later, I became the caregiver of my grandma, who lost her ability to speak in her 90s. This blog helps me to produce helpful content that aligns with my passion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top