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Can Wigs Get Lice? A Guide to Wig Hygiene

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Wigs are a great way to change your appearance, but when it comes to wigs and lice, understanding the basics is crucial. We’ll take a closer look at lice, what makes wigs susceptible to infestation, and how to prevent it.

Lice: The Unwanted Guests

Lice are tiny, wingless insects that can infest the scalp and hair. They feed on human blood and lay their eggs, or nits, close to the hair shaft. Lice infestations are common among humans, especially in close-contact settings, such as schools and households.

There are three types of lice:

  1. Head Lice: These are the most common type and are found on the scalp and hair.
  2. Body Lice: They live on clothing and only move to the body to feed.
  3. Pubic Lice (Crabs): These infest the hair in the pubic area and, occasionally, other coarse body hair.

Can Wigs Get Lice?

Yes, wigs can get lice, particularly head lice. Lice are opportunistic creatures, and they don’t discriminate between natural hair and wig hair. Here’s what makes wigs vulnerable to lice infestation:

Factors That Make Wigs Susceptible to Lice:

  1. Contact with Infested Individuals: If you come into close contact with someone who has lice, the insects can transfer to your wig. Hugs, sharing personal items, or even borrowing a wig can facilitate lice transmission.
  2. Sharing Wigs: Sharing wigs, especially without proper cleaning and hygiene, increases the risk of lice infestation.
  3. Improper Storage: How and where you store your wig matters. Storing it in an area where it can come into contact with infested clothing, bedding, or personal items raises the chances of lice making their way to your wig.
  4. Wig Material: The material your wig is made of plays a role. Human hair wigs tend to be more susceptible to lice because lice can easily attach themselves to the hair strands. Synthetic wigs are less prone to lice infestations, but it’s still important to be cautious.

Understanding lice and how wigs can get infested is the first step in maintaining a clean and lice-free wig. While the risk exists, there are measures you can take to prevent infestations and protect your investment. Next, we’ll delve into effective methods for preventing lice infestations in wigs and maintaining overall wig hygiene.

Preventing Lice Infestations in Wigs

  1. Proper Storage: One of the first lines of defense against lice infestations is proper storage. When you’re not wearing your wig, keep it in a sealed container or a plastic bag. This prevents lice from hitching a ride on your wig if they happen to be on other items in the vicinity.
  2. Regular Cleaning: How often you clean your wig can make a significant difference. Aim to clean it every 6 to 8 wears, or more frequently if needed. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner designed specifically for wigs. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the wig fibers.
  3. Brushing: Regularly brushing your wig is essential. Not only does it help maintain the wig’s appearance, but it also removes loose hairs that lice could latch onto. Use a wig brush or a wide-toothed comb to prevent damage to the wig.

Regular Wig Hygiene

Maintaining overall wig hygiene goes beyond preventing lice infestations. It ensures that your wig stays in great condition and looks its best.

  1. Shampoo and Conditioner: Use wig-specific shampoo and conditioner for cleaning. Fill a basin with cold water and add a small amount of wig shampoo. Gently lather the wig, avoiding any excessive rubbing or twisting. Rinse it thoroughly and apply conditioner, focusing on the ends of the wig. Rinse again until all product is removed.
  2. Drying: After washing your wig, let it air dry. Place it on a wig stand or a mannequin head to maintain its shape. Avoid using a hairdryer, as the heat can damage the wig fibers. Also, never expose your wig to direct sunlight, as it can cause the color to fade.
  3. Avoid Heat: If you have a synthetic wig, avoid using curling irons, straighteners, or hot rollers. The heat can melt or deform the synthetic fibers. For human hair wigs, you can use heated styling tools, but it’s essential to use them at a low heat setting to prevent damage.
  4. Mold Prevention: Keeping your wig in a cool, dry place is essential to prevent mold growth. Mold not only damages the wig but can also pose health risks. Make sure your wig is completely dry before storing it.

Detecting and Treating Lice in Wigs

If you suspect lice infestation in your wig, here’s what to do:

  1. Check Carefully: Examine your wig carefully, particularly at the base of the hair strands, for lice or nits. Nits look like tiny, oval, white or yellowish specks attached to the hair shaft.
  2. Treatment: If you find lice or nits in your wig, don’t panic. You can treat the infestation by sealing the wig in a plastic bag and placing it in the freezer. Lice cannot survive freezing temperatures, so this method is effective in killing them.
  3. Wig Disposal: In severe cases where the infestation is extensive, and treatment is not successful, you might need to dispose of the wig to prevent reinfestation. It’s a last resort, but it ensures your safety and peace of mind.

Other Wig Hygiene Concerns

Maintaining the hygiene of your wigs involves more than just preventing lice. Here are some additional concerns and tips to keep your wigs in excellent condition:

  1. Odor: Over time, wigs can develop a musty or unpleasant smell due to factors like sweat, environmental exposure, or storing them in a damp place. To prevent odor, follow these steps:
    • Regularly clean and condition your wig to remove dirt and sweat buildup.
    • Use wig-friendly deodorizing sprays to keep your wig smelling fresh.
    • Store your wig in a dry, cool place, and consider using odor-absorbing products like silica gel packets.
  2. Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew can form on wigs when they’re exposed to damp or humid conditions. To prevent mold growth:
    • Ensure your wig is completely dry before storing it.
    • Keep your wigs in a well-ventilated area and avoid storing them in a humid environment.
    • Use mold-resistant storage solutions or containers.
  3. Color Fading: Exposure to direct sunlight can cause the color of your wig to fade over time, leading to a less vibrant appearance. To prevent color fading:
    • Store your wigs in a cool, dark place when they’re not in use.
    • If you need to display your wigs, consider using UV-protective wig stands or containers to shield them from sunlight.

Sharing Wigs and Hygiene

If you share your wigs with others or if you’re considering it, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure hygiene and safety for everyone involved.

  1. Regular Cleaning: After each use, clean and disinfect the wig. Using a wig-specific shampoo and conditioner, wash the wig and rinse thoroughly to remove any lice or other contaminants. Let it air dry completely.
  2. Use a Wig Cap: Encourage anyone who borrows your wig to wear a wig cap. A wig cap not only helps to protect the wig but also provides a barrier against potential lice or other unwanted elements.
  3. Educate Others: Make sure anyone who shares your wig understands the importance of maintaining good hygiene. Explain the risk of lice and other hygiene concerns, so they are aware of how to handle and care for the wig properly.
  4. Regular Inspections: Perform regular inspections of your wigs, especially if you share them. Check for signs of lice, wear and tear, or any other issues that might compromise hygiene and comfort.


Maintaining proper wig hygiene is crucial to ensuring that your wigs stay clean, fresh, and comfortable to wear. While the risk of lice infestation is one concern, taking preventive measures and following good hygiene practices can help you enjoy your wigs with confidence.

Remember that regular cleaning, storage in a dry place, and proper care are your best allies in keeping your wigs in top condition. If you share your wigs with others, sharing this knowledge and practicing good hygiene can make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved.

Now that you have a better understanding of wig hygiene, you can make the most of your fabulous hairpieces without any worries.


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