How to Wash A Synthetic Wig with Fabric Softener: Best Ways

Do you feel just as creepy as I do wearing human hair wigs, especially on Halloween? Imagine wearing them for regular purposes, yikes!

How to Wash A Synthetic Wig with Fabric Softener

To put on someone else’s hair on your head is something I can never come to accept, no matter how realistic it looks. Hence, synthetic wigs are my go-to buddy to stylize for every occasion.

However, keeping them clean and neat is another exhausting problem. That volume and luster can easily lose charm if I’m careless. So what did I do?

I compiled a complete guide about how to wash a synthetic wig with fabric softener that I’m well familiar with.

If you need some additional tips, they’re all here!

Can You Wash Synthetic Wigs?

Without a second thought, I initially transported my dozens of synthetic wigs of various lengths and colors to my bathroom, still resting on their stands. They practically looked like decapitated heads, ready to move or speak any minute. Chilling, right?

Can You Wash Synthetic Wigs

Anyway, staring at those bleak heads got me to wonder if I was doing the right thing. Are these wigs actually washable?

I took a daring step and chose the least worn wig for a test. There’s already an ingredient in mind to use on it. With every stage of the washing, I was nervous about damaging the fake hair, making it frizzier or curled like that fluff on a purple mutant minion (evil minion).

Yet the gradual washing not only cleared any oil/other deposits transferred from the environment but also made it shinier! It became just how I bought it in the first place.

Can You Use Fabric Softener on Synthetic Wigs?

What was the secret ingredient I used on my colorful wigs? You got it correct – fabric softener.

Honestly, this wasn’t my original idea. I was almost heading in the direction of detergent liquid and liquid dish soap. What a silly brain!

Can You Use Fabric Softener on Synthetic Wigs

Of course, laundry detergents are another cool household item that provided outstanding results; we’ll get there later.

Let’s not drag this anymore. Yes, you can absolutely apply fabric softener on your synthetic wigs. Nevertheless, it’s not the ideal option. The section below will explain why.

Does Fabric Softener Work on Wigs?

The answer is yes or no. Why the confusing statement, you say?

Does Fabric Softener Work on Wigs

A Bit About Synthetic Wigs

  • They’re not human hair, phew!
  • These wigs are made from polymer fibers, usually paired with silicon, vinyl, acrylic, nylon, silk, PVC, etc.
  • They don’t last long unless you revive the fibers with proper products.
  • Synthetic wigs can wear and tear, get frizzy and lose volume sooner than you think.
  • Scrubbing is the worse answer for these wigs, as it can cause breakage.
  • You shouldn’t follow a regular washing routine for synthetic hair. Wash only when necessary.
  • Never apply the heating method until necessary. The fibers will cause an outbreak, melt, and eventually die.
  • You can use fabric softener apart from other proper cleaning products only if the wig looks messed up.

Why Use a Fabric Softener

  • Over time, the synthetic wig takes a toll with age. The fibers act up crazy (frizzy).
  • Fabric softeners can calm the frayed fibers.
  • It can reduce the insane appeal you get upon wearing a worn-out wig.
  • The softener also minimizes static cling, which annoys the heck out of me.
  • It softens the wig so that you can caress it without a tangled disorder.
  • While fabric softeners aren’t the ultimate answer to prolong your wig’s lifespan, they can be a DIY reparation formula to add shine and sleekness.

What is the Best Fabric Softener for Synthetic Wigs?

Okay, I have a favorite, most favored, and the topmost recommended fabric softener for synthetic hair. Which do you want to know first?

Best Fabric Softener for Synthetic Wigs

Let’s get them in order. Who knows, our choices might resemble!

The Favorite

I came across Gain Fabric Softener while hunting for a quality laundry detergent. The original scent is mild and kind of matched my mood at the time. It is also well-suited with my synthetic wigs without any issues.

The Most Favored

Whenever my topmost recommendation seems unavailable at the supermarket, my hands automatically grab one of the blue Downy containers, as I’d like to call it.

Its floral scent is so addictive you’ll be seen sniffing your own hair from time to time. Plus, it tames the frizzy fibers like a pro.

The Topmost Recommendation

The fragrance of any Comfort fabric softener soothes my heart and takes me back to my childhood. I don’t remember my mother ever replacing the brand with anything else.

It’s always close to home and works wonderfully for my cosplay wigs.

How Often Should I Wash My Wig?

The time can extend from 4 to 15 days. If your head sweats too much as you wear the wig habitually, wash it every after 4 to 5 days.

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig with Fabric Softener: Step-by-Step

Now that I’ve shared enough information regarding the fabric softener and synthetic wig relationship for you to digest, time to line up your wigs for a good wash. Just make sure you haven’t cleaned them recently.

How to Wash Synthetic Wigs with Fabric Softener

You’ll Need:

Try putting together the things you’ll need to avoid pausing midway to run around the house to retrieve an item or two.

Gather these items by the sink or basin (whichever you find comfortable):

  • A fabric softener
  • Wig stand
  • Cold or lukewarm water (depends on the technique)
  • Clean towel
  • Wig brush or a wide-toothed comb
  • A blow dryer
  • A spray bottle

There are two ways you can go about this. I’ll explain them to you right away.

Method 1: Soaking

  • Use a suitable brush or a comb to brush the wig gently. This is to detangle any knot caused by wind, your hand, etc.
  • The wig must be dry as you comb through it. Work your way from the lower end to the base (upward).
  • Fill your basin/sink with cold water.
  • Pour fabric softener. Don’t overindulge, as it could make the wig downtrodden with an under-the-weather appeal.
  • Submerge the wig and create a one-directional stirring motion. Be gentle about it.
  • Let it soak for a few hours, perhaps overnight, in case it’s too stiff/frayed.
  • Then rinse the wig clean under cool water to remove the fabric softener.
  • Squeeze it to get rid of excess water. Don’t wring it at any cost.
  • Wrap the wig in a towel (you might have to apply the rinsing method twice to remove softener residues fully).
  • Now place it on another clean towel.
  • Let it dry naturally, or use a low-set blow dryer.

Method 2: Spraying

  • Set the wig on its stand.
  • Take a mild fabric softener and fill the spray bottle with it.
  • Spray on the wig gently and evenly without missing any spot (the base area gets tricky).
  • Wrap a towel overhead.
  • Wait for half an hour to allow the softener to soak the fibers
  • Next, remove the towel and wash the wig with cold water slowly.
  • Apply the gentle squeeze method to wring out excess water without damaging the wig.
  • Place it back on its stand to dry. You can use a blow dryer with a low heat setting.
  • Once dried, comb your precious wig with love and care.

Next Read: How to dye synthetic wig with fabric dye at home

Can You Wash Synthetic Wigs with Laundry Detergent?

One of my cosplay friends once asked whether laundry detergent is good for washing her synthetic wigs. Since it’s a cleaning agent, unlike fabric softener, you’re bound to avert it if possible.

Can You Wash Synthetic Wigs with Laundry Detergent

However, the truth is you can definitely use laundry detergent without spending your budget on expensive conditioning products. Of course, wigs will require a lesser amount than your dirty load.

How to Wash Synthetic Wigs with Laundry Detergent

So, the steps to reviving your beloved synthetic wigs with laundry detergent are given below:

How to Wash Synthetic Wigs with Laundry Detergent
  • A point to keep in mind – use this method only when the wig is extremely dull-looking and in terrible shape.
  • Fill your sink/basin or bucket with water.
  • Add mild laundry detergent.
  • Mix it well.
  • Soak the wig in the mixture for several minutes while completely submerged.
  • Use your fingers or a small soft brush to gently remove any oil build-up/dirt. Never scrub the wig. Slowly work toward the wig cap as well.
  • Get it out of the mixture and run cool water over it for rinsing.
  • Make sure no detergent/softener residue is left.
  • For conditioning, you can use the fabric softener method. Gently soak the wig in softener mixed with cool water.
  • Rinse it again.
  • Use a towel to squeeze out water.
  • Place the wig on its stand and let dry.

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig with Wig Shampoo

If you already have a wig shampoo in your bathroom cabinet – the task gets easier! This is what you should do:

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig with Wig Shampoo
  • Fill the sink/basin with cool water.
  • Meanwhile, comb the wig to remove potential tangles or knots. Use something with a wide tooth.
  • Pour a cap or two of the wig shampoo (depending on the wig length).
  • I used Brandywine Wig Shampoo for this method.
  • Submerge the wig and leave it there for five to ten minutes.
  • Swish it around before taking it out.
  • Refill the sink/basin with clean water.
  • Immerse the hair again and remove the shampoo residue by swishing it a few more times.
  • Now remove the excess water with a towel-squeeze process. Never comb or brush a wet wig.
  • Apply a wig conditioner, if needed, then let it dry completely.

Can You Wash a Synthetic Wig with Regular Shampoo?

Almost every wig owner, at one point, has speculated on this matter. It’s hair, after all, perhaps man-made, but the gist is about the same.

Can You Wash a Synthetic Wig with Regular Shampoo

Although regular shampoo is a green light for synthetic wigs, I advise not using it too often. The fiber may be damaged before its expiration time.

You know the chemicals and all that regular shampoos and conditioners contain may not be suitable for the synthetic properties of the wigs.

So, can you apply regular shampoo here? Yes, but to a limit.

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig with Regular Shampoo

Now check how you should work with it for your precious wigs. The best shampoo to apply here is baby shampoo.

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig with Regular Shampoo
  • Fill your sink/basin with cold water.
  • Mix some baby shampoo or a very mild adult shampoo in it.
  • Place the wig into the mixture; let it immerse entirely.
  • Let it sit for about five minutes.
  • Then swirl the wig into the mixture before taking it out.
  • Empty the sink/basin.
  • Rinse the wig with running water or submerge it in fresh water.
  • Now apply a tiny amount of conditioner. If it’s unavailable, try the fabric softener method mentioned above. However, don’t leave the wig in the water for more than a few minutes.
  • Once you rinse and clean the wig completely, use a towel to blot away surplus water.
  • Place the wig on its stand, and let it dry naturally or with a hairdryer.
  • Finally, you can use a comb or wig brush to style the hair, as you prefer.

Remember that regular shampoos remove dirt or deposits of the wig, but it also roughens the synthetic fibers. As a result, it’s an unstable remedy for lustrous wig hair.

How to Revive a Synthetic Wig without Fabric Softener?

There are several ways you may avoid using fabric softener altogether for synthetic wigs. Let me categorize them into two simple groups: using market products and heat techniques.

How to Revive a Synthetic Wig without Fabric Softener

Using Market Products

You better be ready to spend a few bucks on one or two wig-reviving products. Since they’re for specific purposes, you’ll require no careful measure.

  • Comb the wig to untangle any mess.
  • Wash it as you do with your real hair.
  • Use a wig conditioning spray (a lot of it) from a foot distance—for example, Henry Margu Wig Revitalize Conditioning Spray.
  • Avoid the wig base (cap area).
  • Disperse the mist and remaining knot by combing through the hair. Be gentle.
  • You can repeat it if necessary.
  • Next, you have to use a mousse product to contain the moisture within the hair—for example, Brandywine Wig Styling Mousse.
  • Apply it to the hair ends and strands. It will restore the shininess by smoothening out the frizzy fibers.
  • Perhaps snip away the split ends that are irreparable as you restyle the wig.

Heat Technique

While heat treatment is a big no for synthetic wigs, it’s the means of last resort to save what’s left. You can utilize the heat in three ways.

Boiling Water:

Add a small amount of wig conditioner to a boiling pot of water. Simmer the liquid (keep the temp. hot, not boiling) as you dip the synthetic hair in it for several seconds; swirl it before taking it out.

Let it dry like you normally do.


This is only if you have a fabric/hair steamer at home. Spray your wig with a heat protector first, for example, RenauHeat Treat Thermal Spray. Comb the wig gently while applying the steamer. Never let the device rest in one area for a long.

Hot Air Brush:

Spray the heat protector on the wig after placing it on its stand. Use a hot air brush like a comb and see the outcome.

How to Soften a Synthetic Wig without Fabric Softener

The best option is to use a wig cleanser (essentially a wig shampoo and a conditioner set). However, mix it with lukewarm water this time and soak the wig for ten minutes or more.

How to Soften a Synthetic Wig without Fabric Softener

Then you can rinse it clean under cool water to apply wig conditioner, which should also be mixed in fresh lukewarm water. Soak the wig again, then wash it off as usual.

Blot excess water with a towel before letting it dry on the stand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does fabric softener soften synthetic wigs?

Yes, it’s quite effective though not to be used too often. Opt for synthetic-safe products.

How long should you soak your wig in fabric softener?

It should take about a couple of hours to overnight, based on the condition of the synthetic fibers.

Can you use fabric softener on human hair wigs?

No, human hair wigs will require regular shampoos and conditioners as the strands are real hair.

Can you wash a synthetic wig with dish soap?

Technically, yes, you can, but only to remove makeup or oil residues. The dish soap must be mild and mixed with cold water in a sink.

How long does it take for a synthetic wig to dry?

The natural process takes around twelve or more hours. A hairdryer can reduce that time to twenty to thirty minutes if you’re in a hurry.


Hopefully, the article on washing synthetic wigs with fabric softener taught you something you weren’t aware of before.

To finish, wash those pretty wigs once every 5 to 15 days. The interval depends on the sweat level and how frequently you wear them. Cheers!

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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