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How to Wash Your Dreadlocks

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

If you ask me, a wrong notion has been used to portray dreadlocked individuals as people with poor hair hygiene. This, however, could not be further from the truth. I have met so many people who are very intentional about their hair care routine while on their locs journey. If you are new to the dreadlock community, you may be worried about how to go about washing your dreadlocks. This is why I have compiled this guide, containing step-by-step guidance on the dreadlocks washing process.

Step-by-Step Process

Dampen your dreadlocks and scalp:

The first step when it comes to washing your dreadlocks is to dampen them. You can do so by running water over them in the shower until your hair gets saturated. It is advisable to use warm water. However, it should not be too hot.

Shampoo your scalp and locs:

Start by pouring out a little amount of shampoo onto your hands and gently rubbing it on your hands as to create a lather. You should be careful not to use too much shampoo at once.

You can now work the shampoo into your scalp and hair. Using both hands, ensure that you distribute the shampoo into all the spaces. You especially want to pay attention to the roots as this is where the attachment takes place. Also, massage it into your scalp to get rid of dirt and oil that may have accumulated. If you feel you need to be thorough, you can touch on each loc individually. However, you want to be careful not to overdo it.

Rinse the shampoo:

Before you go ahead and rinse, you can allow the shampoo to sit for a few minutes. You can then thoroughly rinse your hair in the shower, allowing the rinse to run through your locs. Run the shower through your locs until you are sure that there is no more shampoo residue left on your locs. If you do not rinse properly, then the residue left in your locks can cause them to get tangled or matted together.

Rinse with ACV Solution:

Start by preparing your water and Apple Cider Vinegar solution. This should be mixed in the ratio 3:1 in a large water bottle or any other container. Make sure you create enough to rinse over your entire scalp. You can also rinse it lightly through your locs, but with a lot of caution as it can loosen your locs.

You can get it deep into your scalp with a gentle massage and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

This ACV rinse is used instead of a conditioner as it contains conditioning properties. It also helps remove build-up from your dreadlocks while also balancing the pH levels in your hair, which helps prevent dandruff and, in turn, itching.

Rinse again:

It is now time to do a second rinse on your dreadlocks. This is another chance for you to get all the soap out. The water from your locs should be turning out clear. Although there is no harm in leaving it in, it is best that you also get out as much of the AVC as you can. This is so that you can get rid of the smell.

Dry your locs:

You want to dry your locs as much as you can. This is why you should start by pressing out the water from your locs with a towel. If you can, do this for each loc. After removing as much water as you can, you can now leave your hair to air dry. Alternatively, you can wrap them in a towel so that it can continue to absorb the water. Avoid covering your dreadlocks with hats, scarfs and other items until they are completely dry.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dreadlocks?

When it comes to washing your dreadlocks, the aim is to find a balance between washing them too often and not washing them enough. Washing your dreadlocks too frequently, such as every other day, may cause them to loosen. It will also cause them to be too damp, which can lead to dread rot.

On the other hand, not washing your dreadlocks frequently enough will encourage dirt and oils to build up. This is not only unhygienic, but it may also interfere with the matting process of your locs.

So, how do you strike a balance? Experts recommend washing your dreadlocks once a week. However, if you have excessively oily hair, or you exercise or do work that gets you sweating a lot, then you can consider more frequent washings.


Washing dreadlocks is a process that takes some time and patience. It is important to wash your locks in a way that keeps them clean and healthy while also maintaining their beautiful appearance. In addition to keeping them clean, ensure that you schedule frequent dreadlocks' maintenance services with our reliable salon, the Braiding Palace.

Liliane Badawu,

Founder of The Braiding Place


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