How to Properly Wash and Care for Dreadlocks: A Comprehensive Guide



Dreadlocks, also called locs, are a cool and trendy hairstyle loved for their unique look and easy care. Contrary to what many think, dreadlocks need upkeep to stay awesome and avoid problems like dirt buildup, smells, and damage. Regular washing is super important to keep locs in great shape. Wondering how to clean dreadlocks? This guide has step-by-step instructions, a recommended washing routine, and important tips to help you become a pro at keeping your locs bright, shiny, and healthy.

Why Is It Important to Clean Dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks are made of tightly matted and tangled hair strands. This process creates a distinctive hairstyle, but it also opens the door for unwanted deposits to form inside the locs braids due to the accumulation of debris, oil, and other particles. You risk having dry, lifeless hair, unpleasant odors, excessive breaking or knotting, and scalp irritation if you neglect to wash your dreadlocks.

In addition to keeping your dreadlocks neat and fresh, cleaning them helps your hair last longer and stay healthier overall. Regular washing ensures that your locs maintain their shape by removing buildup and maintaining the proper moisture balance and ventilation.

locs braids

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How Often Should You Wash Dreadlocks?

The stage of your loc journey and your lifestyle are the two main determinants of how often you wash your dreadlocks. A general rule of thumb for how often to wash your locs is as follows:

Newly Formed "Baby" Locs

Washing your dreadlocks only once a week is recommended for the first few months after you start them. If you wash your locs too often in the beginning, before they have had time to mature and knot up properly, they may unravel and loosen. Be gentle and patient with your baby locs so they can take some time to get used to their new surroundings and identity.

Established, Mature Locs

Washing your locs every seven to ten days can begin after they have had a full growing season, which typically takes six to twelve months. Frequent washing facilitates maintenance and helps avoid the accumulation of dirt, oils, lint, and other debris that can eventually cause established locs to look lifeless and dry.

Active Lifestyles and Humid Climates

You might need to wash your locs once a week if you have an active lifestyle or live in an area with high humidity. But, you should be cautious when washing your locs because doing so could cause them to break, fray, or become overly dry.

black locs

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The Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Dreadlocks

To guarantee that your dreadlocks are thoroughly effectively cleaned, follow this step-by-step instruction:

What You'll Need:

Residue-free dreadlock shampoo or soap bar

Apple cider vinegar (optional, for a deeper clean)

Microfiber towel or old t-shirt

Blow dryer with diffuser attachment (optional)

Step 1: Thoroughly Wet Your Locs

To commence, fully immerse and dampen your locs using warm water from a faucet or shower. Make sure your locs are wet all the way down to the roots for the shampoo or soap to work its way into them.

wet locs

Step 2: Use Soap or Shampoo Designed for Dreadlocks

To work through your hair, use a bar of soap or shampoo made especially for dreadlocks. As an alternative, you could run a liquid shampoo through your hair with your hands. Gently wipe your scalp with your fingertips in a circular motion. Give it a minute or two to settle.

Step 3: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse out the shampoo or soap completely using warm water. For new locs, carefully separate and run water through each dreadlock to ensure all product is removed and prevent locs from sticking together when dry. For mature locs, focus on thoroughly rinsing your scalp.

washing hair

Step 4: Optional Deep Clean with Apple Cider Vinegar

For a deeper clean, use diluted apple cider vinegar after shampoo or soap. Apply the vinegar solution to your hair after shampooing, then give it a good rinse after letting it sit for two to three minutes. The vinegar helps to remove any remaining residue and buildup.

Apple cider vinegar for washing locs

Step 5: Gently Dry Your Locs

After washing, gently squeeze out any leftover water with a clean t-shirt or a microfiber towel. Wringing, twisting, or roughly drying your locs can cause frizz and damage. To prevent mildew odor, it is imperative that your locs air dry fully. Use a cool-setting, diffuser-equipped blow dryer to expedite the drying process for longer locs.

Step 6: Apply Loc-Specific Styling Products

Use a dreadlock wax, gel, or tightening spray designed especially for locs once they are completely dry. These products encourage a smoother, more defined appearance while helping to control frizz and flyaways.

short black locs

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Essential Tips for Washing Dreadlocks

In addition to following the detailed instructions, remember these crucial pointers to guarantee the health and upkeep of your dreadlocks:

1. Invest in Quality Products

Choose high-quality, residue-free soaps and shampoos made especially for dreadlocks. You should stay away from products that contain waxes, silicones, oils, and moisturizers as they can build up in your locs.

2. Focus on Scalp Cleansing

During the washing process, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your scalp. To remove any accumulated dirt, oil, or product residue, gently scrub with your fingertips.

3. Minimize Friction

To prevent fraying and damage, allow your locs to hang naturally when washing. Rubbing them together or against surfaces can cause unnecessary friction and lead to unraveling.

4. Consider Clarifying Treatments

Consider using a clarifying shampoo or treatment every four to six weeks that contains ingredients like apple cider vinegar or bentonite clay. These can assist in getting rid of tenacious accumulation that may develop over time.

5. Avoid Aggressive Towel Drying

Using a microfiber towel or t-shirt, gently squeeze out any excess water before letting your locs air dry completely, as opposed to rubbing them dry with a towel.

6. Use Detangling Tools for Mature Locs

For established, mature locs, consider using a detangling shampoo brush or seamless wide-tooth comb to help lift and separate your locs during the washing process, ensuring thorough rinsing.

shoulder-length locs

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Proper washing dreadlocks is necessary to keep them vibrant and healthy. By washing your locs as frequently as advised, using the right products, and adhering to the detailed instructions in this guide, you can ensure that they remain fresh, clean, and well-maintained for years to come. Remember that taking care of your dreadlocks is a continuous endeavor. However, with perseverance, commitment, and the appropriate methods, you can take advantage of the style and convenience of this unusual haircut while still preserving the health of your hair and scalp.

JALIZA locs wig

JALIZA Braids provides excellent options such as the Glueless Braids Wigs and the Tangleless Boho Braided Wigs for those who prefer the low-maintenance and versatile nature of braided wigs. While regular washing is necessary for dreadlock maintenance, these creative wigs do away with that requirement while still offering gorgeous, tangle-free styles. With a community-driven approach and an emphasis on constant innovation to exceed customer expectations, we place a higher priority on quality than quantity. With our meticulous attention to detail and dedication to exceptional craftsmanship, you can embrace chic and practical braided wig solutions with confidence, revealing your inner beauty and confidence.

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