Washing Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks make a great hairstyle and it is an easy way to look trendy. Many people have a misconception that dreads might be difficult to wash and keep clean. But they are not. However, washing dreadlocks is a very essential activity for dread-wearers, in order to keep their locks clean and healthy. In fact, when you plan to wear dreadlocks, you must first know about washing dreadlocks. Let’s look at some points here.

Residue-free Shampoo or Soap

It is very important to choose a shampoo or soap which is residue-free for washing dreadlocks. You need not go searching for a dread-specific shampoo. Good news for you is you can wash your locks with any residue-free shampoo or soap. First wash the scalp with the shampoo and then rinse it through the dreads.

Baking Soda for Washing Dreadlocks

A word of caution should be given here – learn and know about this method appropriately before trying it and also make sure that you rinse very neatly.

Actually, this is the best cleaning method and also the safest one on your new and thereby delicate dreads, because it involves no scrubbing. Mix 1/3 to ¾ cup of baking soda with a gallon of water. You can use less if you have short dreads. There are other things too, which you can add to this mixture as per your choice (but are not essential), like:

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp sea salt

20-30 drops thyme or lavender or rosemary oil (pure essential oils)

10-20 drops tea tree oil

Now pour the mixture on head and allow to stay for 10 to 30 minutes to soak. Rinse well.

Wash Cap

A wash cap is a nice alternative while washing dreadlocks when they are new. This can be made by cutting the leg portions of a pair of tights and tie one end in a knot. Wear this before washing dreadlocks. Idea behind this is the shampoo permeates through the fabric and does its job of washing, but at the same time, the dreads are protected from being snagged. The cap of the other leg can be put on at night so that it will protect your pillow from the products you use on dreads, particularly moisturizers or dreadwax.


For using dreadwax, the hair should be dry. It keeps the dreads in place when they are newly locking up. It also moisturizes scratchy dry dreads when they are getting mature.

Tip: Remember never to use styling wax though, because it catches moisture and dirt and develop mold and leads to loss of dreads.

Left In Loose/Broken Elastic Bands

If you use elastic bands to tighten the tips or roots of your dreads, they may be left loose or broken inside. In that case your hair may get locked around them. Check your hair for such elastics while washing dreadlocks.

Washing Dreadlocks with Oily Hair

If your hair is oily, don’t wash dreads often. This may sound strange. However frequent washing strips oil which is more troublesome. In general, washing dreadlocks once or twice a week is perfect for most people. To reduce oil production, you can spray your scalp with thyme tea.

Some More Tips

Take care not to wear a hat till your dreads become dry, because it will catch mildew.

Take care to dry your dreads completely after washing. Investing in a good hair dryer is wise. Use the dryer with your head tipped upside down. If you want to towel-dry your hair, use a towel which is not fluffy or does not shed fibers which spread everywhere become an awful mess as they invade the locking hair.

Washing dreadlocks is thus important for keeping your locks in perfect shape. So learn it thoroughly and do it without fail.