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Moldy Hair


Mold & Moss Growing On Headstones

Moldy Hair

Can you really get moldy hair? While it's not common, it's a remote possibility.

What is mold? Mold can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any substance providing moisture is present. So it could even potentially grow on hair, although again, very unlikely except in

The most likely way that hair can get moldy is if mold is already growing indoors in your environment and your hair comes in contact with other moldy substances like a towel, bed linens or similar surfaces.

Although it's remotely possible for mold to develop on a scalp when hair is damp and not allowed to dry properly, it is not common.

However if you leave moist warm hair wrapped up into a cap or hair with a towel around it for several hours, it may mildew or smell like mold.

Also, sometimes hair may take on a mold or mildew aroma when it is not necessarily infected with either.

What Is Mold?

Mold consists of tiny spores. Although spores are not visible to the naked eye, they float through the air - both indoors and outdoors. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on any type of surface which is wet or retains moisture.

There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. Molds can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is consistently present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and potentially the hair and skin.

Wet Bunning Hair


If you're going to wet bun your hair, then make sure you allow it to dry properly and completely. Wet bunning usually means wrapping newly washed and towel blotted hair into a bun or hair twist and pinning it to the scalp to air dry.

If you go to bed with wet hair, make sure that your hair has enough air flow and over ventilation to dry and that you don't sleep in a cold, damp room.

While it's very rare to get moldy hair from sleeping with damp hair, in some rare situations it might potentially happen.

If it does, there are way to remove the moldy smell from your hair.

Preventing Condensation And Moldy Hair

The following actions which will help prevent condensation and prevent moldy hair include:

1. Reduce any obvious humidity in your location 2. Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors andor windows, whenever practical. 3. Use fans as needed. 4. Cover cold surfaces such as cold water pipes with insulation. Keep hair away from cold surfaces or wet surfaces. 5. Avoid sleeping on mold or mildew infected surfaces such as wet hay, grass or similar. 6. Increase air temperature. 7. Avoid wrapping hair or scalp in old moldy or mildew infested towels or other materials.

Sensitivity To Mold

Hair Oils

People may be sensitive to molds. For people who are sensitive to mold, exposure can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation.

Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay.

Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

Essential Oils Which Banish Mold

The following essential oils have been cited in scientific studies as having both antibacterial and fungicidal properties. They may prevent, block or banish mold.

When hair or scalp smell moldy combine water or a carrier oil with one of the essential oils below to spritz onto hair or scalp.

1. Tea tree oil 2. Peppermint 3. Geranium 4. Lavender 5. Lemon 6. Bergamot 7. Cinnamon

When using these essential oils make sure to follow instructions carefully. Some oils can not be applied directly to the skin without first being mixed with appropriate carrier oils. Most essential oils need to be diffused before using.

Another option to kill both mold and mildew is to use apple cider vinegar. If you suspect mold and mildew than be sure to rinse hair and scalp with vinegar.

Mule Team Borax

Although not recommended for use on hair, scalp or the body, 20 Mule Team Borax is considered very gentle and safe. Safe enough to wash baby clothes in it.

Unlike vinegar, borax has no scent or fumes. It will retard mold growth on a variety of items. You simply have to leave it on long enough for it to go with work.

Borax is a mineral compound that removes hard deposits off clothing to help leave them cleaner. Dilute the Borax with water and spray it on the moldy items and allow it to sit and do it's work.

How To Remove Mold From Scalp And Hair

If you suspect that your hair has become moldy, for whatever reason, consider the following steps to remove.

Pre-Wash And Pre-Treat Hair

1. Start by detangling hair with fingers or a wide tooth comb to remove knots, snarls and tangle.

2. If hair is fragile it might be advisable to pre-oil the hair with a light jojoba oil or apply it just to dry or crunchy ends.

3. Make a spray from water or carrier oil and tea tree oil. Tea tree is known to effectively remove mold, mildew and related fungus from the scalp and hair. Spritz tea tree mix onto dry scalp and strands. Use a wide tooth comb to distribute tea tree mixture from the roots to the ends of the strands.

4. Allow tea tree mixture to soak into scalp and hair for up to 30 minutes or longer if desired.

Cleanse Hair

5. Step into a lukewarm shower and rinse hair and scalp with water making sure to get strands very wet to allow the tea tree mixture to be removed.

6. Apply a clarifying, anti-fungal, anti-dandruff or similar style of shampoo to the scalp and hair. If you prefer you can cleanse with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Both will remove the mold and mildew residue and smell.

Or, if you prefer and your hair is damaged, dry or naturally textured, wash hair in lukewarm water with the shampoo product designed for your hair type, texture and condition. If you wish, utilize your unique washing program ranging from full shampoo to Diluted Shampoo (DS), low poo, Conditioner Only Wash (CO Wash), no poo or water only.

Note: If you have chemically colored hair like Sasha's it would be best to use either a highly diluted moisturizing shampoo, do a conditioning only wash (CO Wash) or use a product line specifically designed to preserve this type of hair.

Rinse out shampoo or diluted formula (if used) and then apply a rinse out conditioner from the tops of the ears down to the ends and detangle with a wide tooth comb or fingers.

Rinse Hair

7. Rinse well until water is completely clear.

8. Rinse hair with a mixture of 50 percent apple cider vinegar and 50 percent water (50/50 combo). Get a large clean plastic bowl and as the vinegar drips off hair, catch in the bowl and reapply. Continue to rinse for 5-10 minutes. The acidic nature of vinegar kills mildew.

9. Rinse well and then finish with a cool or cold water rinse.

Style Hair

Towel blot (don't rub) to remove excess moisture. Style as desired but make sure to get hair 100% dry.


Although rare, the scalp and hair might attract mold or mildew. Or it might just develop a moldy or mildewy smell. This might occur when wrapping damp or wet hair in a moldy or mildew towel, bed clothes or similar. Or if you lay your head on a mold or mildew infested area such as dampy hay, grass or similar.

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Thank you for visiting us at The HairBoutique Blog and for leaving your comments. They are very much appreciated. We apologize in advance but must remove any direct advertisements or solicitations.

- Revised Date: 08/15/11

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Please follow us on Twitter at: I look forward to meeting new people from all walks of Twitter and learning from their Tweets.

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