What to Do with Old Wigs?

People throwing things away, illustration

Old wigs can be a tricky item to dispose of. They can’t be recycled and they can’t be donated to most charities. So, what can you do with them? In this article, we’ll explore some creative and practical ways to repurpose your old wigs.

One option is to use them for costume or theatrical purposes. Old wigs can be a great addition to any costume or theatrical production, adding a unique touch to your character. They can be styled and cut to fit any era or style, making them a versatile accessory to have on hand. Additionally, donating them to local theater groups or schools can help support the arts in your community.

Another option is to repurpose them into household items. Old wigs can be transformed into decorative pieces such as wall art or wreaths. They can also be used as stuffing for pillows or pet beds. The possibilities are endless, and repurposing your old wigs can be a fun and creative project.

Understanding Your Wig

Identifying Wig Types

Before diving into wig care, it’s important to understand the different types of wigs available. There are two main categories: synthetic hair wigs and human hair wigs. Synthetic wigs are made with man-made fibers, while human hair wigs are made with real human hair.

Within each category, there are also different types of wigs. For example, synthetic wigs can come in a variety of styles and textures, including curly, straight, and wavy. Human hair wigs can be processed or unprocessed, meaning they may have undergone chemical treatments to achieve a certain texture or color.

Wig Care Basics

No matter what type of wig you have, proper care is essential to keep it looking its best. Here are some basic tips for wig care:

  • Use a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush to detangle your wig, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots.
  • Wash your wig with a gentle shampoo and conditioner designed specifically for wigs. Avoid using regular hair care products, as they can damage the fibers.
  • Allow your wig to air dry on a wig stand or mannequin head. Do not use heat to dry your wig, as this can damage the fibers.
  • Store your wig in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and dust.

Common Wig Problems

Even with proper care, wigs can experience some common issues. Here are a few to be aware of:

  • Tangling: Wigs can become tangled, especially at the nape of the neck. Use a detangling spray or conditioner to help smooth out any knots.
  • Shedding: Some shedding is normal for both synthetic and human hair wigs, but excessive shedding may indicate a problem with the wig’s construction or care.
  • Frizziness: Over time, wigs can become frizzy due to heat styling or exposure to moisture. Use a wig-specific smoothing serum or oil to tame any flyaways.
  • Buildup and residue: Regular washing and conditioning can help prevent buildup and residue from accumulating on your wig, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care to avoid damaging the fibers.

Reviving and Repurposing Old Wigs

Wigs are a great way to switch up your look without making any permanent changes to your hair. However, after some time, wigs can become damaged or outdated. Instead of throwing them away, consider reviving and repurposing them with these tips.

Restoring Damaged Wigs

Old wigs made from acrylic or polyester fibers can become frizzy or tangled over time. To restore them, use a wig conditioning spray to moisturize and detangle the fibers. For real human hair wigs, use a leave-in conditioner to keep them soft and shiny.

If the wig has lost its shine, use a synthetic hair conditioner to bring back its luster. To protect the wig from heat damage, use a heat protectant before using a flat iron or blow dryer. If the wig has curly hair, use a hair oil to define the curls and prevent frizz.

Transforming Old Wigs

If the old wig no longer suits your style, consider revamping it with a new cut or color. Trim the ends to get rid of split ends and create a fresh look. Use a flat iron or curling iron to create waves or curls.

To dye the wig, use a wig dye specifically designed for synthetic or human hair. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the wig. You can also add highlights or lowlights to create dimension.

Recycling and Donating Wigs

If the old wig is beyond repair or you no longer want it, consider recycling or donating it. Wig banks and organizations such as Alopecia UK accept donations of gently used wigs and hairpieces. These organizations provide wigs to people who have lost their hair due to medical conditions such as alopecia or cancer.

In conclusion, there are many ways to revive and repurpose old wigs. With a little bit of care and creativity, you can give your old wig a new life and help others in need.


In conclusion, there are various options available for disposing of old wigs in an environmentally friendly manner. One option is to donate them to organizations that accept wigs for individuals undergoing medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. This not only helps the environment by reducing waste but also helps those in need.

Another option is to recycle the wig by sending it to a facility that specializes in recycling plastic polymers. This helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and can also create new products.

If the wig is in good condition, it can also be sold or given away to someone who may want it. This can be done through online marketplaces or by contacting local wig shops.

If none of these options are feasible, the wig can be disposed of in a landfill. However, it is important to note that this should be a last resort as it contributes to environmental pollution.

When cleaning a wig, it is recommended to use cold water and a fabric softener method to prevent damage to the wig. Heat pro and hot water can cause the wig to lose its shape and texture.

Overall, it is important to consider the impact of wig disposal on the environment and to choose the most responsible option available.

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