How To Shampoo The Hair Of A Person In Bed

Why is it important to keep hair clean?

Clean hair may help a person feel and look better. Old oils and dirt are removed when the hair is cleaned with shampoo. This helps prevent skin irritation and also helps stop germs from growing.

How often should hair be shampooed?

Caregivers will tell you how often you should shampoo a person's hair. Hair can usually be washed as often as when the person was healthy.

Using a shampoo tray or trough:

Using a shampoo tray or shampoo trough (trof) can make shampooing easier. The person you are shampooing the hair of may have head, neck, or face injuries. Ask a caregiver to show you how their hair should be shampooed.

  • A shampoo tray is usually made of hard plastic with a U-shaped opening for the neck to rest on. The tray has a tube or a certain shape that allows water to drain into a bucket or wastebasket. You can buy this tray at a medical supply store.

  • A shampoo trough is a homemade device. Do the following to make a shampoo trough.

    • Roll a towel into a long log.

    • Shape the log into a "U".

    • Put the U-shaped log into a large plastic trash bag.

    • Place the bottom of the "U" under the person's neck and head. The person's head and hair should rest inside the trough made by the arms of the "U".

    • Make sure the end of the plastic bag is hanging off of the bed.

    • Direct the edges of the plastic bag to form a trough so that the water is carried into a bucket or wastebasket.

Shampooing the hair:

  • Gather the following items and put them within easy reach.

    • Shampoo tray or trough.

    • Towels.

    • Washcloths.

    • Comb and brush.

    • Shampoo.

    • Plastic wastebasket, bucket or trash can.

    • Basin with warm water.

    • Plastic pitcher.

    • Cotton.

  • Get the person and the bed ready.

    • Move the covers to the foot of the bed. Remove the person's shirt to keep it from getting wet. Cover the person with one or more large towels for privacy and warmth.

    • Put the wastebasket on the floor or on a footstool at the head of the bed.

    • If allowed, lower the head of the bed to a flat position, and remove the pillow from under the person's head.

    • Cover the head of the bed with a waterproof pad to keep the bed from getting wet.

    • When using a shampoo tray, put a towel under the person's neck for padding. Put the ends loosely over his shoulders to keep them warm.

    • Gently lift the person's head and place the shampoo tray under his head with the U opening under his neck. If you are using a shampoo trough, place it under his neck as described above.

  • Wash the person's hair.

    • Fill a pitcher with warm water from the basin. Carefully wet the person's hair and make sure the water drains into the bucket or wastebasket.

    • Do not get water in the person's ears or eyes. You may want to put cotton in his ears.

    • Put a small amount of shampoo on the person's head and gently rub his hair and scalp.

    • Rinse the person's hair with warm water until the shampoo is gone.

    • Apply conditioner to the hair, if desired, and rinse well.

  • Dry and style the person's hair.

    • Remove the tray or trough and replace it with a towel.

    • Gently dry the person's hair with the towel.

    • Comb, brush and style the person's hair. If you are using an electric hair dryer, be sure to use the coolest setting to prevent a burn.

  • When you are done, be sure that the person's clothes and bed linens are dry. Do not allow the person to lay in wet clothes or linens. Wash the shampoo tray and the brushes and combs.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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