Ah, scrunchies! The best accessory from the 1980s has returned. And while our moms are busy telling us stories of what life was like back then, they’re happy to sport the look too. After all, scrunchies aren’t just cool to look at with their variety of fabrics, textures, colors, and patterns, but they are kind to hair.
Whether you wear hair bands or scrunchies though, you are aware you have to clean them… right? Yes, love, you totally do. Go take a sniff of your favorite scrunchie or the hair band you always rely on (we ALL have a favorite in our stash). How’s it smell? Yeah, I thought so!
No worries though because, despite that they can take on unsavory smells, you can fix it by washing them. But how do you clean your hair bands and scrunchies?
I’m going to talk all about that in this post so that your favorite scrunchies stay intact and clean. Think about all the things you do with that scrunchie in your hair. Maybe you go to the gym with it. Perhaps you use it to pineapple-up your hair when you sleep. Or you could wear this thing day in and day out.
Your hair, even when it’s clean, has natural oils in it. Those transfer to your hair bands and scrunchies. They not only lead to odor at some point, but they can also add buildup that makes your hair accessories look dull and dingy.
On top of that, if you’re wondering why you’re breaking out more or your scalp seems oilier than usual, it could be your hair accessories that are to blame. They come into contact with your hair oils, styling products, the oils from your hands when you touch them, and everything else you encounter in the outside world like pollution, dirt, and more.
Grossed out yet? I was too, so let’s get down to the business of how to wash your hair bands and scrunchies to keep them fresh and clean, and to keep you from carting around dirt, oil, germs, and everything else on your head!
How to wash your scrunchies and hair bands
Dermatologists recommend cleaning your scrunchies and headbands, to wash off hair product residue and oil buildup, as well as sweat to avoid breakouts. To err on the safe side, you should hand wash them with a detergent made for delicate fabrics and then dry them on top of a towel.
Whether or not you can wash your scrunchies and hair bands in the washing machine really depends on the fabrics they’re made from. You probably have several different kinds, perhaps silk, cotton, corduroy, or even linen. Knowing how to clean them the right way will prolong their lifespan so you can enjoy fresh, clean scrunchies to match with your favorite looks.
While some fabrics can be washed in the washing machine, others would be destroyed. You’ll need to handwash some of them for sure. The following is a rundown of the fabrics you’ll likely encounter that need to be hand-washed.
What kind of scrunchie and hair band fabric should be hand washed?
In brief, I recommend that you only handwash the following materials for your hair bands and scrunchies:
Here are some more details on why you should be extra cautious with these materials.
Made from flax fibers, linen has a cool and fresh feel, ideal for summer. You can handwash linens though if you own any linen clothing, you likely take it for dry cleaning. It seems silly to dry clean a scrunchie though unless you are taking in other items for dry cleaning. Still, for something as small as a scrunchie, you can handwash it. You can also press it on very low head from your iron to give it a crisper look but that should be done with caution to prevent scorching.
Most people don’t realize that rayon is semi-synthetic. It contains purified cellulose fibers to make a silk-like feel, but rayon doesn’t hold onto dyes very well. Thus, you should never wash it in the washing machine or handwash it with anything else as the dye could bleed out and stain other things. You can dry clean it, but again, for something as small as a scrunchie, it is best to hand wash it at home, each one separately.
I was surprised to discover that silk is used in parachutes! I had no idea! But it is a durable material. Sadly, it can’t completely absorb dyes that are applied to it. So, if you want to keep the colors intact for your silk scrunchies, the best chance you have is dry cleaning, though if that’s not possible, handwash it with appropriate silk care detergent.
Wool is incredibly sturdy but it shouldn’t be submerged in water. This changes the wool fibers and why you’ve likely shrunk a wool sweater before sometime in your lifetime (I am guilty as charged over here!). Again, it seems silly to dry clean one scrunchie, but if you have wool, that’s your option or to handwash in cold water.
For all of these, using cold water and a detergent that is designed for these kinds of fabrics will be the best way to handwash your items. I get it that you might not want to go to a dry cleaner just for a scrunchie, but if you don’t, do yourself a favor and at least hand wash your scrunchies of these materials.
Scrunchie and hair band fabrics that can be safely washed in the washing machine
If you have scrunchies made from any of the following materials, you can wash them in the washing machine:
Don’t just throw them into your washing machine though! I have tips further down on how to do that. Plus, you don’t want them vanishing away like your socks, do you? Why does that even happen anyway?
In short though, most things that are made from cotton or synthetics are able to handle immersion in water and the movements of your washing machine. Cold water washing is best to keep things from shrinking though, especially with cotton. The synthetics won’t shrink but if you have a mixed bag of scrunchies and hair bands to wash, it’s ideal to go with cold.
When it comes to drying them, always use a low or gentle cycle. And never forgo a dryer sheet because those little things will zap you silly with all that static! You can also hang them to dry in a well-ventilated place. More tips on that from me below so keep reading!
Tips on how to hand wash your hair bands and scrunchies
When it comes to handwashing your hair bands and scrunchies, there are a few ways you can go about it. In short:
- Handwash in the sink
- Handwash in a large plastic bowl
- Use a plastic container
Regardless of which way you’ll handwash, you can use just a few drops of shampoo to do it, but to be honest, you don’t want to waste your expensive shampoo, and some formulations might not bode well with your scrunchie or hair band materials.
What I’d recommend is using a detergent designed for fabrics that are to be hand-washed, the one I’ve been using on all delicate fabrics from cashmere to alpaca, wool, silk you name it, for years now is Forever New’s Biodegradable Laundry Detergent (Amazon link) and what can I say, IT’S. JUST. AWESOME! I just can’t recommend it enough; I even use it on my expensive bras and they still look as good as new. As far as colors go, I haven’t noticed any stripping and all my garments come out as soft as ever after every wash, don’t get me started on the discrete fresh smell, which is just divine.
Whether it’s in the sink or you’re using a large plastic bowl, swirl them around in the water. Then, gently rub each one with your fingers. Rinse them with cold water and lay them to dry on top of a towel.
You can also simply life by tossing them into one of those plastic storage containers. You know, the kind you’d store pasta or snacks in. You want it to be big enough to have room for the scrunchies, water, and shaking the container for mixing. Add your cleaning solution and cold water with the scrunchies and shake it up. Put on a groovin’ song and shake to the rhythm. It makes it way more fun, trust me.
After all that shaking, strain out the soapy water and add more cold water. Shake it again for a minute. This clears out excess soap and detergent. You can then lay the scrunchies on a dry towel.
A tip for drying on the towel: I like rolling my scrunchies up in the towel and then gently squeezing them. The key here is not to twist it. After that, I open the towel and allow them to dry. Setting them near a window in some sunlight is fine too but don’t leave them there for more than an hour or they could fade in color.
Tips on how to clean your hair bands and scrunchies in the washing machine
Got scrunchies and hair bands that can go in the washing machine? Great! But don’t just dump them in with your load. You will never find those hair bands again, or worse, they could get wound around the parts of your machine. You don’t want that, do you? Of course not! Especially if you use a communal laundry room!
You have a few options for washing your hair bands and scrunchies in the washing machine:
- Tie them into a sock
- Use a lingerie bag
- Try a net bag
It’s really not complicated to keep your hair stuff clean. You should aim to wash them about once a month. When it’s time, take them and put them into a sock. You may need more than one sock to accomplish this. When the sock (or socks) contain your hair accessories, tie off the top with a knot and wash.
A lingerie bag is one of the best ways to do it. You hopefully already have one but if not, they’re easy to get. Another option that can work is any net bag. They have them at beauty stores, dollar stores, and even dive shops. You can easily find them online though which makes your hunt for the right container to wash your hair bands and scrunchies so much easier. I love online shopping!
Again, I just want to remind you that you should never just throw your scrunchies and hair bands into the washer or dryer without being contained. Doing so likely will result in one or more of the following:
- They will be gone, never to be seen again
- They get destroyed when they get snagged on a zipper
- They find their way into the hoses and vents, leading to damage to your washing machine
Unless you want to spend a fortune in repairs on your washing machine or dryer, make sure you bag them up, or take the time to hand wash them in the sink or a container.
How often should you clean your hairbands and scrunchies?
Regarding the frequency of washing your hair bands and scrunchies, you might be wondering when you should make the effort. It all depends on how often you’re wearing them. About once a month should do it for most though if you’re wearing your favorite one every day and going running with it in the hot sun, you might be better off washing it a little more often.
And if you don’t want it to lose elasticity from washing it so often, consider rotating your hair accessories to prolong their lives. This will solve the problem and keep you from having to clean them sooner than one month’s duration.
If you want to cut back on the gunk these guys can pick up, then keep reading for my handy storage tips that will help you!
How to store your hair bands and scrunchies to keep them clean
If you want to keep your hair bands and scrunchies cleaner for longer, you should keep them well. That only makes sense, but we often forget about dust and environmental pollutants because we don’t usually see them, even when we live in a relatively clean environment and keep our homes clean.
However, if you want to keep wearing that scrunchie for a while, I recommend you consider how you store it, so it stays in mint condition. Here are some ideas:
- Don’t hang them using the elastic! When you hang them on doorknobs or in other ways, it can drag the elastic. Instead, if you can clip the material to hang them, this might be better, particularly when drying. If not, do not hang them!
- Move them from water and heat! Extreme temperatures and humidity can wear down the fabrics and the elasticity of the bands within. If you want them to last, keep them in a cool, dry place.
- Keep them together! A nice drawer in your dresser or even a vertical paper towel holder on top of your dresser that you can stack the scrunchies on would be best.
There are even scrunchie and hair band holders out there. You can pick one that fits your style and keep your scrunchies in perfect condition!
Scrunchies and hair bands are great for keeping your updo’ hairstyles even more stylish. But they need to be cleaned every now and again, so they don’t transfer oils, dirt, old product, and other gunk to your hair. Take the time to clean your hair accessories and you’ll always have the freshest style everywhere you go!