How to Wash Dreadlocks

How to wash dreads

Let’s talk about hair hygiene! Especially about your hair care routine when you have dreadlocks. When it comes to locked hair, some of the questions people ask most often are on the topic of how to wash dreadlocks.

Yes, believe it or not, a lot of people who are thinking about getting dreadlocks and even some who already have them don’t know how often you should wash locs. Or what type of shampoo you should use. Or if it’s alright to wash new dreadlocks. What to do if they have residue or buildup in their dreads. But this is exactly what we’re going to answer in this piece. All the questions on how to wash dreadlocks you’ve ever had!

There’s a very weird notion going about that dreadlocks don’t have to be washed as often as unlocked hair has to. That’s wrong! It’s crucial that you keep your dreadlocks and your scalp as clean as you can so that your locs can grow healthy and beautiful.

Clean hair locks faster and better than dirty hair. So here’s another reason to keep your mane squeaky clean!

Let’s answer some FAQs we know you have on how to wash dreadlocks!

Click here if you are looking for a natural dreadlock shampoos.

best natural locs shampoo
Love Locs shampoos are natural

How to wash dreadlocks

  1. Wet your dreadlocks and scalp very well.
  2. Pour a bit of shampoo into your hand and work it into your hair. If you need to, you can add more as you go. Seeing as some types of dreadlock shampoos are made of natural ingredients, they won’t produce much lather. But don’t worry! They still work!
  3. When you’ve produced enough lather, start massaging your scalp all over using your fingertips. Be gentle but thorough.
  4. Use plenty of water to rinse. Let the shampoo run through the dreads so that it can clean them without you having to touch them that much. This works especially well if you have new locs which are soft and tender still. It won’t damage all the hard work that you or your loctician has put into the dreadlocks.
  5. If you have mature dreads, give them a good ‘milking.’ This will help clean them well enough.
  6. Shampoo one more time. You can allow the shampoo to rest on your scalp for a few minutes this time so that the ingredients can work their magic on you. Rinse well. You will feel how clean your scalp is when you’re done. If need be, you can shampoo once more.

How often should you wash your dreadlocks?

It depends on where you are on your loc journey.

Washing mature dreadlocks

how to wash dreadlocks
How to wash mature dreadlocks

If you have mature dreads, make sure to wash them at least once every week. During the rest of the days when you take a shower, you can use a shower cap that’s extra-large to protect them from the humidity.

XL shower cap dreads dreadlocks locs

Get your XL shower cap here

Washing new / baby dreads

How to wash baby dreads
How to wash baby dreads

If your dreads are brand new, wait for about a week before washing them for the first time. However, if during that time your scalp is too itchy or oily and you don’t feel comfortable anymore, you can go for a gentle wash on your baby locs.

Please be aware that washing new dreads will make them look a little more loose and messy. But don’t worry! This is just part of the process. If you don’t wash your locs based on the idea that they will get messy, you will only be left with gunk and buildup that will damage you even more! Learn how to wash dreadlocks properly!

How to choose a dreadlock shampoo?

This is what you need to remember about dreadlock shampoos – residue free. In other words, they should not have any butters, vegetable oils or softening agents. They could lead to build ups. Therefore, the shampoo should be clear or transparent.

A creamy shampoo is the type that will cause buildup because of their oils, butters, and conditioning agents. They stick to your dreads and turn into gunk.

Love Locs Natural Dreadlock shampoo Classic
Love Locs Natural Dreadlock shampoo Classic


Should you use conditioner on your dreadlocks?

We don’t recommend applying conditioner on your dreads. The softening agents in conditioners will glue themselves to your locs and lead to buildup. A hot oil treatment is much better for softening your dreadlocks.

Watch the video below to learn how to do a hot oil treatment:

How to wash dreadlocks when your scalp is itchy

If you’re interested in finding out more about itchy scalp or dandruff problems when you have dreadlocks, here’s a helpful and interesting piece we’ve written on the topic!

My dreads are smelling – what can I do?

Given the fact that they are made up of thickly matted hair, dreadlocks will never dry in the same way as traditional hair. Therefore, they can retain water which causes the mildew smell you feel.

After shampooing, squeeze the dreads as carefully as possible. Use a microfibre towel which will absorb a lot of the moisture. When the towel gets wet replace it with a dry one and keep going until you can’t get any more water out of them.

Buy a microfibre towel here

The best thing to do would be to allow your dreadlocks to dry in the outside air and sunshine. This will prevent any mold and mildew to form inside and it will refresh them. If you can’t do that, set your dryer on moderate heat or even cold air and use that.

Do my dreadlocks need a deep cleanse?

To get healthy dreads, we recommend deep cleansing your dreadlocks 3-4 times per year depending on your lifestyle. The more active lifestyle you have, if you work outside, you might need to deep cleanse your dreadlocks more often.

Made with Apple Cider Vinegar, our Residue Remover line will help you remove gunk, smell and product residue.

natural dreads deep clean
How to deep clean naturally your dreadlocks

Click here to get your Detox Essential Set


Watch the video below to learn how to do a ACV rinse:

What do you wash dreads with

Get the essential items that you need to maintain healthy & amazing looking dreadlocks.

Click below for:

Dreadlock Shampoo

Dreadlock beads

Dreadlock extensions

Scalp care for dreadlocks

The complete set to care for your dreadlocks

Learn more about how to care for your dreadlocks.

Click below for:

How to wash dreadlocks.

How to moisturize your locs everyday.

How to treat dandruff on dreadlocks.

Things that you should not do with your dreadlocks.

How to keep your dreads healthy.