7 Hair Washing Aids for Dementia, Elderly & Disabled (Tried & Tested!)

Are you having difficulty helping or getting someone to wash their hair? There are many reasons why it may be difficult to wash someone’s hair and that’s why hair washing aids are needed.

This post looks at 7 hair washing aids for dementia, elderly & the disabled and we’ve tried and tested these products for you!

Why would you need hair washing aids? They may have limited mobility, be bedridden, at risk of falls so need to be in a seated position to be able to wash their hair.

There may be issues over the way it feels, is water going on their face, or in their ears etc, are they scared, worried, resist or objecting to washing their hair? You can find some helpful tips here on how to overcome that in 10 Hair Washing Tips for Dementia Caregivers

Let’s get started!

7 Hair Washing Aids for Dementia, Elderly, Disabled and Bedridden

#1 – Tilting Commode

  • This is a commode that can be used for showering and is able to be tilted back safely.
  • The seat and the back recline together and the head is supported with a headrest.
  • It supports your loved one’s posture, hips and back and is secured with a safety belt.
  • These are not a cheap option and could be supplied through your government health care system after an assessment with an Occupational Therapist.
  • It is quite scary to use because it does recline between 30-40 degrees depending on the chair, but it is secure.
  • When I used it with mum, she didn’t get scared or concerned about falling. It allowed me to wash her hair without having to support herself or worry about losing balance. It also supported her neck comfortably which was key.


tilting commode
  1. It supports your loved one with mobility or balance issues, prevents falls and you don’t need to lean back
  2. Allows you to wash hair whilst seated (like a shower stool but has the advantage of being able to tilt back to just wash the hair)
  3. It’s safe and secure
  4. Allows you to wash hair effectively & in comfort with shampoo and water


  1. It’s expensive
  2. You need to wear protective towels to avoid water streaming down your neck when washing the back of your head
  3. The level of tilt can feel a little a scary (for the caregiver!)

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#2 – Inflatable Shampoo Basin

  • This is a simple inflatable shampoo basin with a drainage hole & a stopper in the middle.
  • It’s our preferred method of washing mum’s hair and it’s done when she’s lying in bed -an easy way to wash someone’s hair who is bedridden, as the basin is contoured to fit around the neck so that only the hair gets wet.
  • The best way to wash the hair is to use a jug & pour the water over the hair and add a small amount of shampoo/conditoner product, and then rinse, remove the basin and dry the hair


  1. Cheap
  2. Allows access to the back of the head, washing effectively & in comfort with shampoo and water
  3. It’s safe and secure especially if you have mobility issues, bedridden or concerned about risk of falls
  4. It’s very simple to use, easier if there are two people involved in fitting and then removing it.


  1. it’s hard to inflate
  2. It’s difficult to manoeuvre on your own
  3. Risk of spilling if not fully emptied via the drainage hole

#3 – Shampoo Caps

  • Shampoo Caps are best used when you can’t use water all, they’re great hair washing aids for dementia, elderly or bedridden or those adverse to using water.
  • It’s a simple shower cap filled with shampoo product that is placed on your loved ones head, massaged in and then simply toweled off to remove the product and any dirt.
  • It is effective – we used these after mum’s spinal surgery when it was impossible to wet her head.
  • They do somehow, make your hair smell and feel clean, despite the fact water isn’t use.
  • One tip is never to use these cold, they are absolutely freezing. Most of them advise to warm the packet in the microwave for 20-30 secs, read the packet instructions to know the specifics for the product you have.
  • Always test and be careful after heating before applying to the head for hot spots to avoid injury.


shampoo caps
  • No need for water, and can be done anywhere
  • Cheap to buy, but can get costly if buying regularly
  • Portable & Effective at cleaning hair
  • Great hair washing aids for dementia, elderly in hospital as well!


  • Not as good as washing with water
  • Product build up if not effectively removed
  • Not eco-friendly, single use only- disposing of plastic shower cap

#4 – Towel Off No Rinse Shampoo

  • This is a similar concept to the Shampoo Cap, without the cap!
  • It much easier to use as you apply the liquid directly to the head and work into particular areas.
  • It’s a bit more sustainable as you don’t have plastic shower cap to dispose of
  • You simply add some product and warm with your hands, massage into the hair and scalp and then simply towel off until product is removed, and style as normal.


  • No need for water, and can be done anywhere
  • Cheap to buy
  • You can control the amount of product that’s used.
  • Effective at cleaning hair
  • Sustainable


  • Not as good as washing with water
  • Product build up if not effectively removed

#5 – Weird and wonderful Shampoo Trays and Basins

By now you’ve probably also trawled the internet looking for aids to wash hair, and there are some weird aids, I admit to trying some, so let me tell you about the one I tried – DECMAY Foldable Shampoo Basin for Disabled Elderly, Hair Washing Basin with Draining Tube : Amazon: Health & Personal Care.

  • This goes over the head and straps are used to secure around the body – watch the video link on the product page about for how to use it
  • You don’t need to lean back with this
  • Water drains through the spout
Collapsible shampoo basin


  1. Allows you to wash hair effectively & in comfort with shampoo and water
  2. You don’t need to lean back
  3. Easy to intall and remove


  1. It’s expensive
  2. Despite there being a clasp and belt to hold it againt the body. You still need to pull the straps so its tight aorund the neck and no gap for water to seep down, so strength an important factor and willingness to it
  3. Marked as light but it is quite heavy compared to other hair washing aids for dementia or elderly.

We’ve also tried a shampoo tray where you have someone lean back into a neck hole and the other end is placed inside a wash basin to drain the water away like this Aidapt Shampoo Tray with Strap : Amazon: Health & Personal Care

#6 – Dry Shampoo

  • That old perennial favourite, dry shampoo!
  • When you get to the stage where you loved one won’t even let you wet their hair, then it’s time to try dry shampoo. You can get it in a foam or spray form. Just try and use one that is invisible, you don’t want white chalky roots.
  • Apply it correctly sprayingly to the roots.


  • Quick and easy to use
  • Cheap to buy


  • Not meant for prolonged use only a short term measure
  • Product build up after continued use
  • Some leave chalky /white residue

#7 – Flannel and Water

  • This is a very simple concept, if someone with dementia doesn’t like to get their hair fully wet, then an easy cheap option is to use a flannel and water basin.
  • Here you simply dampen the hair with a wet flannel, apply a small amount of shampoo/conditioner and then wipe off with a wet flannel, rinsing the flannel in water until all the shampoo has been removed.


  • Quick and easy to use
  • Limited water usage and doesn’t wet face/neck etc
  • Can be done anywhere


  • Not useful if any aversion to water

That’s it, these are all the methods we have tried, what about you? Hopefully, it’s given you some ideas on how to help and support your loved ones with these hair washing aids for dementia, elderly and the disabled. Let me know!


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