Have you ever styled your hair with a beautiful wig, only to be embarrassed by an unexpected and unpleasant odor emanating from it? Whether it's a faint musty scent or a stronger smell reminiscent of chemicals, dealing with a smelly wig can be a mood dampener. Imagine the discomfort of catching whiffs of something less than pleasant from your wig during a social event or an important meeting. Worse still, what if you're unaware of the smell until someone awkwardly brings it to your attention?


In this blog, we delve into an important aspect of wig maintenance-combating bad odors. Our guide is here to offer practical advice on how to keep your wig smelling fresh and clean. We'll start by exploring the root causes of these odors and then provide you with effective strategies to eliminate them. Stay tuned to transform your wig-wearing experience and ensure you always step out in confidence, free from the worry of unpleasant smells.

Breathable The image of Left C Cap French Wave Glueless 5x5 Closure Wig

Wigs can emit unpleasant odors due to several reasons

  • Material Issues:
Some wigs are made from synthetic materials, like artificial fibers or low-quality plastics, which can retain chemical residues from their manufacturing or dyeing process, emitting an unpleasant odor.
  • Processing Agents and Dyes:
Various chemicals might be used to process and dye wigs during their production. These chemicals, especially when not adequately cleansed, can leave a strong odor.
  • Storage and Packaging:

If wigs are stored or packaged in environments with poor ventilation or exposed to materials with strong odors, they can absorb these smells.

  • Lack of Ventilation:

Wigs that aren't adequately aired out can develop a musty or stale smell, especially if they're stored in closed spaces for extended periods.

  • Environmental Pollutants:

Wigs can absorb odors from various environmental pollutants. If worn in areas with strong odors like smoke from cigarettes or cooking, heavy pollution, or strong industrial chemicals, the fibers can trap these odors.

  • Hair Products and Perfumes:

The use of hair products such as sprays, gels, or oils on wigs can lead to a build-up over time, which might emit a strong or stale smell. Similarly, perfumes or other fragranced products sprayed directly onto the wig can leave a lingering scent.

  • Sweat and Body Oils:

If a wig is worn directly on the scalp without proper cleaning, sweat and natural oils from the skin can transfer to the wig, potentially causing an odor, especially if not cleaned regularly.

  • Exposure to Food Odors:

Wearing a wig in a kitchen or an environment where strong-smelling foods are cooked can result in the wig absorbing these odors.


How to make your wig smell great? Before we dive into the detailed steps, let's take a moment to watch this short video for an overview. Following the video, we'll explore more specific and detailed strategies to keep your wig smelling fresh and clean.

Airing Out:

  • Hanging the wig on a wig stand and place the wig in a well-ventilated indoor or outdoor area. Ensure the area is not damp or humid to avoid mold or mildew growth.
  • Avoid direct sunlight exposure to prevent damage to the wig.
  • Air it out for several hours, allowing fresh air to help dissipate the odor.
  • The image of a wig stand

    ( If you don’t have a wig stand, you can improvise with other items like a tall bottle, a Styrofoam head, or any similar object that can hold the wig up without causing damage. The key is to ensure good air circulation and maintain the wig's shape and cleanliness.)


    Gentle Washing:

        • Use a mild shampoo specifically designed for wigs.
        • Gently wash the wig in warm water, avoid hot water and harsh rubbing, as this can damage the wig fibers.
        • After washing,  do not wring out the wig, gently pat the wig with a clean towel to remove excess water, then let it air dry.

    If you don’t know how to clean a wig, please read "How to Clean and Maintain Your Wig" for more knowledge.


    Baking Soda:

        • Evenly sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the wig. Ensure an even and light distribution of baking soda to avoid clumping.
        • If the wig is colored or dyed, test a small area first to ensure the baking soda doesn't affect the color.
        • Leave the wig overnight, allowing the baking soda to absorb the odors.
        • The next day, gently shake off the excess baking soda and wash lightly if necessary.


    Fabric Softener:

        • Prepare a container with warm water and add a small amount of fabric softener.
        • Soak the wig in this solution for about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not soak the wig for too long to prevent fiber loosening.
        • Rinse thoroughly the wig to remove residual softener, then air dry.


    Vinegar Solution:

        • Mix warm water and white vinegar, approximately a 4:1 ratio of water to vinegar.
        • Soak the wig in this solution for about 15 minutes.
        • Rinse the wig thoroughly with clean water to remove the vinegar smell, then air dry.

    (White vinegar has a mild acidity, which is effective in neutralizing alkaline odors without damaging wig fibers. But you can consider alternatives if white vinegar is not available. You might use apple cider vinegar as an alternative. It's also mild and can help neutralize odors. However, it's important to note that apple cider vinegar has a stronger scent and may slightly alter the wig's color, especially if it's very light or bleached. Lemon juice is another possible substitute. It's natural and has a fresh scent, making it a good deodorizer. However, like with apple cider vinegar, test it on a small area first, especially on colored or bleached wigs, to ensure it doesn't affect the color.)


    Specialized Products:

        • Purchase deodorizing sprays or cleaning products designed specifically for wigs.
        • Test the product on a small section of the wig first to check for any adverse reactions.
        • Follow the instructions to spray the product onto the wig carefully to avoid overuse, which can lead to build-up.
        • Allow the product to dry naturally or follow the directions provided.


    Routine washing and care can also effectively prevent the wig from producing unpleasant odors

    Regular Cleaning of Wig Tools and Accessories:

    Tools like wig brushes, combs, wig stands, or heads used for styling and maintaining your wig should be kept clean. Residue from styling products, dust, and oils from your skin can accumulate on these tools and transfer back to the wig, contributing to odor development.


    Using a Wig Cap:

    The image of wig cap

    Wearing a wig cap under your wig can help absorb sweat and oil from your scalp. This creates a barrier that keeps these substances from transferring to the wig, thereby reducing odor buildup. Wig caps should be washed regularly.


    Proper Storage:

    When not in use, store your wig in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and away from sources of strong odors like cooking areas or smoking zones. Using a breathable wig bag or a silk or satin bag can help keep it clean and odor-free.

    Click here to learn more about how to store your wig.

    Avoiding High Humidity and Wet Conditions:

    Try not to wear your wig in rainy weather or high humidity conditions if possible. If the wig gets wet, dry it completely before storing it to prevent mold and mildew growth, which can cause odors.


    Regular Brushing:

    Gently brush the wig before and after each use to remove tangles and smooth the fibers. Use a wide-tooth comb or a brush specifically designed for wigs to prevent damaging the fibers.


    Cleaning Frequency:

    The frequency of washing your wig depends on how often you wear it. As a general rule, wash your wig after about 10 to 15 wears. If you use styling products or are in environments with a lot of dust or odors, you might need to wash it more frequently.


    Maintaining a fresh and odor-free wig is all about regular care and attention to detail. From proper cleaning and storage to using the right products, these steps ensure your wig remains a pleasant and stylish part of your ensemble. Embrace these simple yet effective practices, and step out confidently, knowing your wig is as fresh and vibrant as your persona.

    December 22, 2023 — Luvme Contributor

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