Showers are pretty straightforward, no? Minus a few new additions to our routine, like inversion method massages or overnight masks, hair gets just about what it needs from a basic lather, rinse, repeat. But! Believe us when we say learning how to wash your scalp should be a staple in your routine no matter how lazy you are.

Your hair grows from your scalp. Duh. But, when excess sebum, leftover dry shampoo, and other dirt and residue are not properly cleared away, you can begin blocking hair follicles leading to hair loss, decreased growth, and just not great looking hair.

Now, knowing how to wash your scalp is a little different than washing the rest of your hair so read on for all the should-dos, tips, and clean scalp home remedies already at your disposal.

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How to Wash Your Scalp

The “how” is quite simple, but there’s some must-mention tools, tips, and clean scalp home remedies that make this crucial step in your routine that much more effective. Here’s how to implement each of them.

Also Read: How To Treat Sebum Overproduction at Home

Scalp Massage Brush

For those just learning how to wash your scalp, get this tool first! These little wonders are inexpensive and significantly help with getting a clean scalp. They physically lift hair at the root while you wash, giving dirt and scalp buildup the boot while providing your hair with increased blood flow. Which is a huge reason why scalp care is important for those of us with thin hair: better blood flow stimulates healthy hair growth!

We suggest using one every time you shower as it’s a gentle way to clean your scalp. You can also massage your favourite oil-based scalp treatment in with this as well (castor oil benefits hair growth the most, BTW!)

DIY Salt Scrub

A clarifying and nutrient-rich physical exfoliator like a DIY salt scrub is pretty much a perfect, do-it-all step in how to wash your scalp. You can make these at home with just a few ingredients and jam pack them with any oil or ingredient to fit your scalp needs. The salt acts as a physical exfoliant to your scalp, gently lifting dirt, sebum, product buildup, and dead skin cells.

To use this home remedy, find a recipe you like (we’ve got a great one below!) and work into wet or dry hair depending on where you place this step in your ‘tine. This is best used in the shower between shampoo and conditioner, but can be used before your wash as a pre-wash scalp treatment.

Yes, this recipe is for dandruff mostly, but we're giving tweaks to make it your own when you're not sure if it's product build-up, sebum overproduction, or something between a dry scalp and dandruff.

DIY Salt Scrub Recipe:

1/4 cup of jojoba or avocado oil (for moisture)
3/4 cup baking soda (for fine exfoliation)
5-10 drops of tea tree oil (for anti-fungal properties)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (for PH balancing, anti-bacterial goodness)
1 tablespoon Manuka honey (for moisture)

Read Next: How to Protect Hair From Hard Water

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like everything else this liquid does, you can get a clean scalp with apple cider vinegar too! Antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, using apple cider as a rinse will deeply wash your scalp. We suggest using it as a rinse, mixing it into a pre-wash treatment, or adding to your shampoo while you scrub with a scalp massaging brush.

Read Next: How to Clean Your Hair Brushes Because Yes, They're Harming Your Hair

Baking Soda

If you have sensitive skin but want the exfoliating benefits in a scalp wash, baking soda is an excellent trade in for harsher exfoliators. While we love a salt scrub, you can tag in baking soda where salt is required. With a smaller granular texture, you’ll get a finer exfoliation PLUS some clarifying properties of baking soda that can help fight off microbial. Another reason why we love this little clean scalp baking soda trick.

Read Next: All The Benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil For Hair


A beloved ingredient in skincare, AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acid is just as amazing when used on your scalp. As an “active” ingredient, this serum exfoliates dry skin and dandruff, removes dirt, oil, scalp sebum overproduction, and product buildup.

To use in tandem with your other clean scalp home remedies, we suggest using The Ordinary’s Glycolic Treatment (about a quarter size) and massage it into your scalp. After, apply an oil like castor oil or jojoba oil and let this sit for 10-15 minutes before your shower.

We suggest this as a pre-wash scalp treatment and should not be left on overnight or for hours at a time. For a gentler version, look for products that contain AHAs in your haircare and use as directed in your wash routine.

Read Next: 7 Best Shampoos for Fine Hair

How Often Should You Wash Your Scalp?

“How often” of anything is always going to be dependent on your body’s needs and your goals. Especially depending on how often you wash your hair, which we *hope* isn’t everyday!

If you wash your hair twice a week, you could wash your scalp both times for sure, but you likely wouldn’t need to implement all of the steps above–i.e. You won’t need to do a scalp scrub, apple cider vinegar rinse AND a deep massage brush wash. Choose one depending on how dirty you feel your scalp is.

This also goes for those who are unsure how dirty their scalp really is. If you use a lot of hair products or dry shampoo, you may need to wash your scalp more often. The best rule of thumb is to start one to two times a week and see the results from there.

If you over wash your scalp, it may lead to other issues such as dry scalp or dandruff or it can be a cause for oily hair.

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