How to Wash Dreadlocks

How to Wash Dreadlocks


Wash your dreadlocks once every 2-4 days. It’s important to keep your dreads clean and to remove buildup from your locks. Aim to wash your hair at least 1 time per week, but not every day. It’s best to wait at least 2 days between each wash to allow your scalp to produce natural oils.

  • If you have very dry hair that’s prone to breakage, talk to your locktician about how often you should be washing your hair according to your hair type.


Wet your hair with warm water. In the shower or at a wash tub, get your hair wet by spraying it with warm water. Make sure the water isn’t so hot that you can’t touch it, and don’t soak your dreads for more than a few moments at a time. Aim for them to be coated with water, but not completely saturated.
  • Soaking your hair completely can cause it to become too heavy and might make it hard to get your hair dry again.


Massage a quarter-sized drop of shampoo into your scalp and dreads. Start with a small amount of residue-free shampoo, and work it into your hair, starting at the scalp. Gently pat the shampoo into your dreads, but don’t rub or twist the dreadlocks while you wash them.

  • If you feel like you don’t have enough shampoo, you can always apply more.
  • Residue-free shampoo helps to clear debris and build-up from your dreads without leaving behind a layer of shampoo. You can purchase a residue-free shampoo from most supermarkets and beauty stores. If you can’t find it in store, you can order it online.


Let the shampoo sit in your hair for 1-2 minutes. Before you rinse your hair, let the shampoo sit on your dreadlocks and scalp. This will ensure that it is working to clean the hair and remove any oils or dirt from your locks.

  • If you have thin or dry hair, only let the shampoo sit for a minute or so to prevent it from making your hair too clean, which can cause it to unravel.
Rinse your dreadlocks thoroughly after using shampoo. Tilt your head backward or downward and let the water run all the way through your locks, from your scalp to the end of your hair. As you’re rinsing, squeeze your dreadlocks to remove the shampoo and let the water wash it away.
  • Continue rinsing until the water runs clear and no shampoo comes out of your dreads when you squeeze them.


Squeeze the water out of your dreadlocks after you wash them. Once you’ve rinsed your dreadlocks, dry them by using your hands to squeeze out any excess water trapped in the locks. Then, use a microfiber towel to pat your scalp and dreadlocks completely dry.

  • Never style or add product to your dreadlocks when they’re wet, as this can cause them to smell or grow mildew. Wait until they’re completely dry to the touch before styling them.
  • If you’re worried about your dreadlocks smelling or becoming moldy, you can spray them with witch hazel after your shower to make them smell better and to kill mold.
  • Avoid using conditioner or waxy products on your dreadlocks, as this can cause buildup in the hair and make them untwist.

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