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Are Dreadlocks Clean? 3 Most Common Methods To Keep Locs Clean

Having dreadlocks is a pretty big move in hairstyle changing for many reasons.

One of the common reasons is: Dreadlocks have a quite unique look that might be a controversial topic in the workplace or in public. Also, people believe that dreadlocks are not clean and have a bad smell.

Are these myths or facts? Keep reading to find your own answer in this article.

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Are Dreadlocks Unsanitary?

There are a lot of false beliefs when talking to dreadlocks: Dreadlocks is the dirty messy loose hair which is created by not shampooing for a long time and there are bugs in dreads.

These might be true in the past, but not for the present.

In fact, locs are started on purpose, people can do the locking process at home or seek help from a professional loctician.

There are also hair care products required to encourage the locking process: conditioner, gel, wax or locking tools.

We also wash and conditioner locs like we do for other hair styles. Clean dreads will even form faster than the unclean ones. That’s why it’s not that true to say the dreads are unsanitary.

Do Dreads Smell?

They do, sometimes. Bad smell dreads are the results of sleeping with wet locks, using residue shampoo and over applying conditioners or oils on your locs.

Sleeping while your locs are still wet

The moisture environment created from excess water will encourage mildew and mold to grow rapidly, which creates odor.

That’s why you will have unpleasant experiences the next day, not only bad smell, but also headaches.

Check out: 4 Ways To Get Rid Of Mold In Dreadlocks

Using residue shampoo and conditioner

The residue left on your locs when you don’t do the washing thoroughly will create buildup, which results in the weird smell.

If your shampoo and conditioners are the fragrant one, the smell might be even worse.

Check out: The 22 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Dreadlocks

How Often Are Dreadlocks Washed?

If you have real locs, the recommended washing frequency for mature locs is from two to three weeks.

When your locs are still in the baby phase, you might consider extending the break to four to five weeks.

You can also look for advice from a professional hair stylist for a better washing schedule.

If you have synthetic dreads, you should not wash them more than twice a month or there will be frizz and dryness caused.

How Are Dreads Kept Clean?

There are several ways to keep your locs clean, hydrated and moisture.

How to Clean Dreads Without Washing

To have a clean scalp without having to water and shampoo your locs, you can consider using witch hazel liquid, essential oils and a clean towel.

Mix well the witch hazel with about 10 drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil, then spray the mix on your scalp and massage the scalp gently.

After that, use the towel to wipe your scalp and air dry or blow dry your hair.

How to Clean Dreads With Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar is also great for detoxing your locs and scalp, balancing your scalp pH, bringing the shine and moisture back to locs.

Mix vinegar with warm water, then spray the liquid to your dreads, or simply soak dreads into the basin.

After soaking for five minutes, you can squeeze your locs and give your scalp a massage to remove buildup. Rinsing properly after that and letting your hair air dry.

Read more: What does vinegar do to your hair?

How to Clean Dreads With Baking Soda

To strip the buildup from the scalp and locs, you can also use baking soda.

Since baking soda might cause a bit of harsh effect when used alone, you might consider mixing it with apple cider vinegar for better effect.

You can follow the same steps as cleaning by using vinegar: applying, squeezing, massaging and rinsing real good (baking soda left on your scalp might create itchiness).

Final Words

Hopefully, the information and tips above can somehow give you a better understanding on how to wash your hard-earned locs.

Dreadlocks are a beautiful and unique way to express yourself, but they come at a price. Dreadlocks can be just as elegant as any other hairstyle if they are taken care of properly.

Give them the love they deserve, and they will give you the pride you want!



I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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