Mastering Wig Care: How to Wash a Human Hair Wig Like a Pro

Mastering Wig Care: How to Wash a Human Hair Wig Like a Pro


We love being able to share our wig wisdom with our loyal followers, and caring for your alternative human hair is one of the most critical areas that we often get asked about. If you’re reading this, then you likely have already made the decision to purchase a human hair wig, and you naturally want to make sure you protect your investment so it remains in optimal condition for a long time to come.  Whether you wear your wig daily or just occasionally, caring for human hair wigs is essential to ensuring that these beautiful hairpieces maintain their luster and longevity.

One of the most often asked questions we get asked about how to care for your wigs is: “Can you wash wigs?” The answer is a resounding yes! Washing wigs is in fact an important part of protecting your wig investment. There are a couple of options when it comes to how to wash a wig. You can either utilize a professional wig stylist trained in how to wash human hair wigs to wash your wig at a wig salon or showroom, such as the full-service salon showrooms Milano has in key locations throughout the country, or you can learn how to wash human hair wigs yourself in the convenience of your own home.

If you choose to be a DIY'er, washing and caring for your wigs at home, follow these simple steps for the best way to keep your wig in great shape and in turn helping you feel and look your best and most confident self.

Human Hair Wigs Require Special Care:

When it comes to learning how to wash wigs, human hair options need a little extra TLC.

Although your wig may be human hair, you should treat it differently than you would care for your natural hair (also referred to here as bio hair). For example, unlike your natural, or bio hair which you may choose to wash every day, human hair wigs should not be washed daily. We recommend that you wash your human hair wig at most once a week, as washing and conditioning your wig too frequently can lead to product build-up and hair stress.

While salon visits are a viable option, maintaining your wig at home requires professional-grade products designed explicitly for human hair wigs. Milano Collection, with its four showroom locations across Southern California, New York, and Florida, has a team of expert wig stylists trained in the best care and treatment of human hair wigs. They also offer a range of products designed specifically for human hair wig care, such as human hair wig shampoos, wig conditioners, wig detanglers, and other essential wig care products.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to washing your human hair wig.

Learning how to wash a wig at home properly can feel like a chore, but with the right steps and products, it’s a breeze. Here’s how to wash your wig and ensure it looks fresh, clean, and absolutely stunning:

Step 1: Detangle Before Washing

Before starting the washing process, detangle your wig to prevent any damage to the hair fibers. Gently comb through your wig using a wide-tooth comb or a special wig brush, starting from the ends and moving upwards towards the roots. This method helps minimize breakage and makes the washing process smoother. Finish by ensuring the wig is completely free of tangles.

Step 2: Prepare the Shampoo Solution

Creating the perfect washing conditions for your wig starts with the right shampoo solution. We love the Milano Essentials shampoo options in our collection of wig hair care products. You can also check out our blog on the ​​best shampoo for human hair wigs to find your perfect match! Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a dollop of sulfate-free shampoo specifically designed for human hair wigs. Swirl the water gently to mix, avoiding any vigorous stirring that could create bubbles and lead to tangles. This gentle bath will prepare your wig for a thorough cleanse.

Step 3: Shampoo Your Wig

Now, it's time to cleanse. Submerge your wig into the prepared shampoo solution, gently swishing it to ensure it’s soaking wet and the shampoo coats every strand evenly. To properly wash it, avoid any rubbing or twisting actions that can stress the wig's fibers. Let your wig soak for a few minutes, allowing the shampoo to penetrate and cleanse effectively. Learning how to wash wigs properly ensures they get deep cleaned without unnecessary damage.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinsing is key in the wig care process. Hold the wig under lukewarm running water, rinsing until the water runs clear and all shampoo residue is gone. Be sure to use lukewarm water, as hot water can dehydrate the wig, leaving it frizzy and unmanageable. A thorough rinse helps to restore the wig's natural shine.

Step 5: Condition the Wig

After shampooing your freshly washed wig, conditioning is the next essential step to reduce frizz and maintain its softness and health. Apply a conditioner specifically formulated for human hair wigs, such as the Essentials Ultra Hydrating Conditioner or Essentials Ultra Gentle Conditioner from our wig care collection. Then, concentrate on the ends while avoiding the roots to prevent an oily scalp look. Allow the conditioner to sit for a few minutes to deeply hydrate and revitalize the hair fibers, making the wig soft and silky.

Step 6: Rinse Again

Knowing how to clean a wig effectively means being thorough. The final rinse is crucial, as it removes any lingering product. Wash the wig under lukewarm to cool water until the conditioner is completely washed out. This step is crucial to avoid product buildup, which can make the wig look lifeless and heavy. Ensuring all the conditioner is rinsed out helps keep your wig looking light and voluminous.

Additional Tips

Taking care of your wig doesn’t stop with washing it regularly. Knowing how to properly prepare your wig for styling, how to store it, and how to safely bring it on your travels is also crucial. Check out these additional tips to keep your wig looking its best!

Prep Your Wig for Styling

Thoroughly but gently towel dry your clean wig to remove excess water. Beyond using a human hair wig shampoo and wig conditioner, another important aspect of your wig hair care routine is making sure you detangle your wig after washing it. A good wig detangler is one of the most important human hair wig care products you should shop for. We recommend Milano Essentials Ultra Hydrating Detangler, or Milano Essentials Detangling Leave-In Mist, but whatever you use, search for one that is designed for human hair wigs. Then, apply your wig detangler to wet hair from mid-lengths to ends in order to prevent knots in your hair and avoid damage to your wig hair. Comb through using a detangling brush, such as Milano’s Gentle Brush, or a wide-toothed comb. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you use a small amount of product so you avoid product buildup.

Style Your Wig

Place the clean wig on a wig stand and allow it to air dry approximately 80% of the way. Style it as desired using a hot air brush, such as Milano’s Volumizing & Smoothing Hot Air Brush, to create a great finishing touch in minutes. If you’re looking for inspiration on wig hair styles, check out our blog on Wig hairstyles.

Additional Tips for Using the Hot Air Brush:

  • Use heat-protectant styling products.
  • Take advantage of the three power settings - cool, low or high heat, depending on your needs.
  • For volume at the roots, use the Hot Air Brush horizontally at the crown.
  • If you have extra-thick or long hair, consider rough-drying with a regular blow dryer before using the Hot Air Brush.
  • To add volume at the hairline, blow dry hair up and back, creating a face-framing effect. Finish with a light spritz of texturizing spray.

Store Your Wig

When not wearing your wig, always store it on a mannequin or foam head to help keep its optimal shape and style, or for a more decorative touch, try Milano’s Deluxe Wall Mounted Wig Holder. Find an area to leave your wig in when you’re not wearing it, that is not in direct sunlight to prevent the color from fading faster.

Traveling with Your Wig

When traveling make sure you bring your essential wig tools for keeping your wig in tip-top shape.

  • Use a round travel case, such as Milano Collection’s, when traveling with a human hair wig, as the roundness keeps the shape of the wig cap. It also allows the hair to lay in a circular motion which prevents kinks in the hair.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, when not wearing your wig, place it on a round stand, such as Milano Collection’s Collapsible Wig Stand. This helps keep the shape of the cap intact and allows the wig hair to breathe.
  • Bring a gentle, detangling brush with you, such as Milano’s Gentle Brush or the Mini Gentle Brush and Comb Set, to gently brush and style your wig while on the go.
  • A teasing comb is another really useful tool for keeping the front of your human hair wig looking its best. The teasing comb can also add height by the hairline which is important to ensuring your wig looks its best.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to bring your favorite wig accessories from the Milano GripLine Collection, such as a WiGrip, Lace WiGrip™, TopGrip™, or GripCap with you to ensure your wig fits comfortably and securely on your head.


By following these steps and using high-quality products specifically designed for human hair wigs, you can master the art of caring for your wig at home and protecting your investment. Remember to be gentle during the process, allowing your wig to maintain its natural beauty and ensuring it remains stunning for years to come. Regular care, using products like Milano Essentials, will keep your wig looking fresh and fabulous.

Discovering how to wash human hair wigs is not only about cleanliness but also about preserving the exquisite quality of your wig. How to wash a human hair wig can be a simple yet crucial aspect of your beauty routine, and with the right steps and products, it becomes a rewarding and enjoyable task. Whether you're a seasoned wig enthusiast with a deep understanding of wigs, or a newbie to the world of wig care, this comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge to keep your human hair wig looking flawless, ensuring your investment is well preserved and a source and sign of confidence for years to come.


Q: How to wash a human hair wig without wig shampoo?

A: While we recommend a wig shampoo as the best way to keep your human hair wig clean, some people have been known to use baking soda, or cornstarch, to absorb the dirt, oil, or odors that can arise from frequent wig-wearing. If you’re wondering how to wash a wig using this method, make sure to use warm water with baking soda (or cornstarch) - we recommend about half a cup of baking soda to 8 cups of water. Then dip your wig in the water once the powder is dissolved, and repeat 3 - 4 times. Afterwards, rinse out your wig gently, to get rid of excess water, and then follow with the additional steps below.

Q: Do I have to wash my lace front human hair wig any differently than a wig that has a silk top or silk front?

A: Regardless of the cap and front construction of your human hair wig, the same steps for washing, conditioning, styling and generally caring for your human hair wig still apply.

Q: How do I take care of my topper?

A: To take care of your human hair topper follow the same instructions listed here for your human hair wig care. When we discuss how to wash a wig, we're referring to your human alternative hair, regardless of whether it is a wig or a topper.

Q: Do the same care instructions apply to synthetic wigs as to human hair wigs?

A: No. Synthetic wigs are made from man-made fibers, and require different care instructions. They are less durable than human hair wigs, and require different care. For more information, read our Human hair wig vs synthetic blog

Q: Should I do anything differently if I have a short wig versus a longer-length wig?

A: When it comes to how to wash a wig, the same care routine should be followed regardless of the length of your wig or topper.

Q: How long will my human hair wig last if I take good care of it?

A: That depends on many factors, such as how frequently you wear your wig, and the quality of the wig you purchase. Read here to find out more about this topic.

Q: How often should human hair wigs be cleaned?

A: Wash your human hair wig every 7-14 days of wear. Frequency depends on factors like how often you wear it, your climate, and the styling products you use. Washing a wig too often will damage it, while infrequent washing can lead to buildup and unpleasant odors.