Dry towel keeps shampoo out of kids’ eyes

Todd's secret for "no more tears" in the bath:

My daughter used to really hate getting her long hair washed and now she thinks it's somewhat fun.  We used to use "tearless" shampoo but even that would sting her eyes if even a little bit of suds water got near them.

What my wife and I came up with: we put a dry towel over our daughter's face and then dump a large plastic bowl full of shampoo and water on her head. We then rinse with fresh water in the same bowl until all of the suds are gone.  No more fighting and it only takes a couple of minutes.  Our daughter just turned 4 and for her it's fun to feel a surprise of warm water hitting her head and body but not her face.

We do something similar (thanks to my mother in-law) — my daughter holds a dry washcloth over her own eyes while we rinse her hair. Having a hand shower helps, too.

Related: Swim goggles keeps bathwater out of kids' eyes

Also: Kid-friendly bathroom remodeling


  1. Heather says

    We found one of these pitchers for a few bucks at Walmart: http://www.onestepahead.com/jump.jsp?lGen=crossSell&itemID=442788&itemType=PRODUCT&iProductID=442788&wSubCat=86185&change=117

    It’s got a flexible rubber edge that fits snugly against the child’s forehead. That way, when you dump the water out to rinse her hair, it doesn’t get into the eyes. Don’t know if I explained that right, but it actually really works and my 3-yo son hardly makes a peep at rinsing time anymore.

  2. rednexmama says

    Best thing I ever did to avoid this (and yes I know that for some kids it’s just unavoidable) was to bring my daughter swimming from a very early age. To be honest she’s more annoyed by her hair being in her eyes than anything else and we’ve never had to have the “fear of water” battles. It’s almost like, if you catch them young enough, they never develop the fear in the first place.

  3. Josh says

    We’ve gone back and forth on loving/hating the hair washing. Right now we love it (or at least have a lot of fun) because Daddy lets his daughter trade back and forth: we each have a cup for pouring water on each other’s hair, and it’s “One for Daddy; One for Maddie.”

  4. says

    Yep, we’ve done this for some time and it works like a charm. My son showers WITH daddy … and wow, this certainly has remedied the screaming … “But it’ll get in my EEEEEYES! My EEEEEYES!”

  5. says

    Thank you RednexMama! As a swimming lesson instructor, getting children to put their faces into the water is my biggest challange. Putting your whole face up to your eyebrows into the water aligns your spine so that your feet can come to the surface allowing you to swim forward. Until children are comfortable with thier eyes in the water they will be trying to swim as though they are riding a unicycle. They don’t have to open their eyes under water. At rinsing time in our house we say, “close your eyes, 1,2,3″ and rinse on three, “Blink your eyes like windshield wipers!” Wash cloths, towels and goggles all give kids a false of security in the water, making the pool an even more dangerous place.

  6. says

    My almost-three-year-old son has no problem with putting his face in the water, but he hates having his hair rinsed. The water falling over one’s face when poured from above is a different sensation entirely from placing your face into the water–and when he’s putting his face in the water himself, it’s an action that he controls, whereas when I’m rinsing his hair, I’m driving.

    Occasionally, he’ll rinse his own hair using the same plastic cup we use, and he seems to be less annoyed when some time passes between the wetting/shampooing and the rinsing. Getting to ‘rinse’ my hair is also a good distraction for him.

  7. says

    Paul Mitchell’s Baby Don’t Cry shampoo actually lives up to its name. I just use that and a regular pitcher. Both my 4 and 2 year-olds usually do fine, though it took a while to get the now 4 year-old to this point–I used to let her have a dry washcloth to dab her eyes, but it was more of a comfort placebo. She refuses any form of spray water–no handheld shower, and neither of them would wear a visor. But thankfully I started the pitcher method really young with the now 2 year-old and haven’t had any problems with her, though she also is afraid of the shower. Maybe that’s why some people recommend showering with babies? I never wanted to disturb my peaceful hot water experience with that kind of work though ;)

  8. says

    My trick with only work with young children who are breastfed. I generally climb into the tub with my twin girls to get some one-on-one time, and nurse them in my lap while rinsing their hair. They absolutely hate water in either their eyes or ears, and this works great for us! They are too young for the “holding towels” techniques still. I would think this could be modified to work with a bottle as well.

    I’ll have to look into that pitcher that fits against the head!

  9. Shane says

    With my oldest 2 kids, this was a problem, but with my youngest, I used to have fun getting her face wet when she was just a few months old on. It seems cruel, but besides a little sputter and lots of blinking, she didn’t have a big problem with it.

    Now, her sister pours water over her head in the tub and she shakes it right off. She’s about 16 months now and a total water baby. I don’t know if I just got lucky or what, but it’s MUCH better than the old way.

  10. says

    Heh. I like the goggle method, but I’m also a big fan of just doing it and doing it loudly and having such a good time doing it that my confused and terrified child thinks that she just better go along with mommy. Usually she gives me that water soaked “see? I’m smiling. This is fun. Don’t hurt me” smile at the end of the torture, we dry off her face and continue on.

    It also might help that she’s been in the pool with me since she was an infant.