Do People with Dreadlocks Wash Their Hair – Answer & Tips

Dreadlock is an ancient hairstyle that has been preferred by many people of the Caribbean and American countries. If you want to have healthy and clean dreads, washing them is the key.

But people are confused about deciding how often to wash dreads, what shampoo to use.

We will look for the answers: do people with dreadlocks wash their hair, what process to follow, etc.

Sit tight and continue reading this guide.

Can You Wash Hair with Dreadlocks?

Do People with Dreadlocks Wash Their Hair

Yes, feel free to wash your dreadlocks at least once a week. Once your dreads are matured, frequent re-dreading or fluffing is unnecessary. You can wash your hair with dreadlocks as regularly as you wish during this time. However, it is significantly essential not to keep your dreads unwashed for about a week.

Now you might be wondering how to wash hair with dreads. Follow the below steps carefully.

Step 01: Let your dreads and scalp wet by providing enough water.

Step 02: Pour a small amount of shampoo in your hand and apply it to the hair.

Step 03: After producing sufficient lather, use your fingertips to massage your scalp.

Step 04: Now rinse with lots of water.

Step 05: Good milking is necessary if your dreads are matured.

Step 06: After thorough rinsing, complete drying is mandatory to avoid odor.

With the above-discussed steps, you can wash your hair with dreadlocks effectively.

How Often do People with Dreadlocks Wash Their Hair?

Everyone wants to have healthy, odor-free, and clean dreadlocks. For this, washing a minimum of 1 time per week is required. Also, you have to use residue-free shampoo and the best-suited conditioner for your hair.

However, every person’s lifestyle is not the same. Also, according to your scalp type, you may need to wash twice or thrice a week. Here are a few factors that play a crucial role.

  • If you have an active lifestyle
  • If your workplace is dusty
  • If your feel itchy in the scalp. In this case, as per the American Academy of Dermatology Association, you should shampoo your air with anti-dandruff hair products.  
  • If you exercise a lot

After completing the washing process, dry your dreads quickly and thoroughly. This will help you have odor-free and clean dreads. Remember not to go to bed with damp hairs.

All in all, if you want healthy dreadlocks, wash your hair with the best-suited hair product once a week. If you have an active lifestyle, do it 2 or 3 times a week. Make sure to dry your dreads completely.

Also Read: What are the Benefits of Not Retwisting Locs?

How do People with Dreadlocks Wash Their Hair?

Sometimes, dreadlocks are criticized unfairly for being dirty. But the truth is, they are easy to clean and maintain. You can clean locks using conditioning products, ordinary shampoos, or gentle homemade cleaning mixtures.

In this section, we will be looking at 2 different methods of washing your dreadlocks.

Method 01: Using Shampoo

Step 01: Wet Your Dreadlocks

While sanding under your shower, run some water over your dreadlocks. It would be best if you used warm water. Your locks will saturate if you let the water run through the hairs.

Step 02: Pour Small Amount of Shampoo

Grab your shampoo and squeeze a little amount on your palm. Don’t pour too much shampoo at a time. A little portion will let you control how much shampoo you use in your locks. If you require more shampoo, you can always add it. For solid bar shampoo, rub it completely to get milking lather.

  • Choose a residue-free shampoo. This is a must. Never maintain your locks using wax, gel, or other chemical-based hair products.
  • If you wash them with organic or natural shampoo, your dreads will look soft and fresh.

Step 03: Use both Your Hands to Distribute the Shampoo Evenly

The shampoo needs to be distributed between the root of the lock. For this, use both your hands on the scalp. Give a good scrub by using your fingertips. Thus, excess sebum, dead skin, and other dirt will disappear.

  • Pay attention to cleaning your lock’s roots. If the root is strong, your locks will become healthier for sure.

Step 04: Thoroughly Rinse the Locks

Leave the shampoo for a few minutes. Then start rinsing your hair. While rinsing, tilt your head. This way, the lather will run through your locks. Wash off all the shampoo residue.

  • You can add some additional shampoo to touch up each lock individually if required. This process is not mandatory; it depends on your personal preference. It may make the washing process time-consuming.

Step 05: Thoroughly Dry

After showering, the next step is to dry the locks. Press each lock with a towel to absorb water. Air dry is the best option to dry your locks. You can use a hairdryer but make sure to use low to medium heat. Don’t allow any water in the locks as your hairs may damp and end up with odor if you do so.

Method 02: Using Mixture of Water – Vinegar and Water – Baking Soda

While following this method, never mix vinegar and baking soda. Characteristically, vinegar is acidic, and baking soda is base. A chemical reaction will occur and neutralize their cleaning power if you mix both.

Step 01: Prepare the Mixture of Warm Water and ¾ cup Baking Soda

Get a bowl and add warm water and baking soda of ¾ cup. This mixture is completely safe to use on dreads and scalp.

  • You can add essential oils if you like. Also, adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice would be a good decision to eliminate odor and mildew.
  • We recommend you to follow this method 1 time in 3 or 4 weeks. Frequent use of baking soda can dry your hair. The residue-free shampoo is the best option for periodic washing.

Step 02: Soak Your Locks for a maximum of 10 Minutes

Submerge your hairs into the solution and wait for 10 minutes. If you need a deep clean, you can go for a maximum of 15 minutes. As well as soaking your locks, baking soda will efficiently remove dirt, debris, unwanted clots, or oil.

  • If you have limited space or don’t have enough time to soak your hair, pour the solution directly onto the hair for cleaning. Pour slowly so that the mixture gets into the root.

Step 03: Rinse Your Dreads with Cool Water

Take off your dreads from the baking soda solution. There will be excess solution in your hair; wring it out. Give your dreads a quick rinse by turning on the faucet. Continue rinsing until the water gets clear.

  • The mixture will effectively clean your dreads. The dirt will be visible in the discolored water. And you will be surprised to notice the dirt. After rinsing, you will feel better and fresh than before.

Step 04: Prepare the Mixture of Warm Water and Vinegar following 3:1 Ratio

Now balancing the pH of your scalp is significantly essential. For this, follow a 3:1 ratio to mix warm water and vinegar in a bottle. Rinse lightly between the locks. On the other hand, wet your scalp properly.

Step 05: Let Your Dreads Dry

Don’t rush while drying your hair; provide a sufficient amount of time. Use a towel to absorb water and then give the air dry. You can also use a hairdryer, but do not go beyond medium heat. Once dried, cover your dreads with a scarf, tam, or hat. Otherwise, the remaining moisture will go away.

  • Before following a drying method, squeeze as much water as you can
  • Wrapping your dreads with a towel will help you get water out faster

What Should I Wash My Dreadlocks with?

Using the best wash day essentials is of utmost requirement because of the health of the dreadlocks.

For expected growth, shampoos and light oils are the best options. Avoid buying creamy shampoos as they can build up dirt. Creamy shampoos contain conditioning additives and oils. In fact, these ingredients will turn your dreads into gunk.

Shampoo for dreadlocks is the best solution for keeping your hair moisturized. When buying shampoo, make sure that it is residue-free. If you apply residual shampoo, you may feel itchy in your scalp. The organic and natural shampoo will eliminate odor, build-up, and dryness.

We recommend you to read the review of a few top products.

1. Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo

Manuka honey and mango seed oil are the main ingredients of this shampoo. Mango seed oil consists of minerals and vitamins, making the shampoo much more efficient in eliminating dandruff. Plus, Manuka honey absorbs moisture and retains it for several days. It is free from artificial chemicals and parabens. This shampoo is best for flaky and dry scalp.

2. Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo

Want to get a clean and mint-free dreadlock? Choose Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo, manufactured with residual-free formula, giving your hair a fresh look. It helps you remove itchiness from your scalp as this shampoo is a blend of tea tree essential oils, peppermint, and rosemary. At the same time, it eliminates inflammation, irritation from the scalp.

3. Dollylocks Coconut Lime Grapefruit Dreadlocks Shampoo Bar

It is a shampoo bar formulated with plant-based components. The other ingredients are coconut oil and sea salt. Coconut oil provides the required nourishing components for preventing scalp inflammation and dirt buildup. Sea salt brings volume to the hair and helps in tightening the locks. The shampoo includes a refreshing scent, keeping you fresh for a whole day.

Also Read: How Often Should You Retwist Locs?

How to choose a dreadlock shampoo?

Regular shampoos are not an ideal hair product for dreadlocks. Dreadlocks specialized shampoo is available in the market, and buy those shampoo for maintaining your locks. The below buying guide will be helpful for sure.

Avoid Buying Shampoo That Provides Residue

In locks, hairs are knotted together closely. Thus, cleaning them becomes challenging. For normal shampoo, it is quite challenging to handle the situation.

When buying a specially formulated shampoo for your dreads, read the label and check whether it contains any components that start with PEG or PPG. If you find any ingredients started with these 3 words, don’t buy them. These 3 words indicate that the shampoo will leave a residue.

Organic Oils Are Beneficial

Proper maintaining of your dreadlocks will be easier with shampoo with organic or natural oils. So, which natural oils offer benefits? Look for a shampoo that comes with coconut oil, argan oil, etc. This oil will nourish your dreads. At the same time, it gives you a healthy scalp by retaining moisture in your dreads.

Also, make sure to buy hair products with antibacterial or antifungal ingredients. These ingredients include an extract of peppermint, neem, or tea tree. They will help you get fresh and clean dreadlocks.

Say a BIG NO to Sulfates

The 2 main hair damaging culprits are Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Moisture will strip out from your dreads if your selected shampoo has these 2 ingredients. So, you must avoid these 2 components at any cost. Premium quality dreadlock shampoo doesn’t have sulfates in its ingredient list.

Natural Shampoo Is not a Good Solution Every Time

According to many hair specialists, organic or natural shampoo is the best choice for dreadlocks as they are safe to use. But this is not always true.

Natural ingredients may also leave a residue. In this case, make sure that the shampoo consists of saponified or essential oils. Simultaneously, stop buying oils mixed with carrier oils.

Some organic ingredients such as beeswax and petroleum are unsuitable for dreads because they leave a residue. So, it is advised to look at the ingredients list every time you buy shampoo for your dreads.

Analyze the Market

Don’t fall into traps of market gimmicks. Before purchasing the best shampoo for dreadlocks, analyze the market, prepare a shortlist of your selected product, and read customer reviews. Whatever shampoo-type you choose, the most important thing is safe and suitable for your dreads.

What should I look for in a good shampoo?

In order to find a good shampoo for locs, we advise considering the below factors.

  • Shampoo ingredients that begin with PEG or PPG are generally known as residual. Never purchase this shampoo.
  • A good shampoo contains natural oils named jojoba oil, coconut oil, argan oil, neem oil, extract from tea tree or peppermint. These ingredients help you get fresh, clean, and odor-free dreads.
  • Most shampoo uses sulfate in their ingredients, and be sure that those are not good shampoos for dreadlocks. Sulfate dehydrates the scalp and damages the health of the hairs. So, don’t purchase a sulfate-based shampoo for your locks.

You can choose a shampoo for your locks from the below list. All the enlisted shampoos are organic, sulfate-free, and residue-free.

  1. Dolly locks Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlocks Shampoo
  2. Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo
  3. Ultrax Labs Hair Usage

How to wash dreadlocks when your scalp is itchy?

Dreadlocks put a lot of pressure on the scalp as they get heavier over time. If your scalp gets itchy, when cleaning dreads, take a few extra moments to wash your scalp. Use your fingertips to massage your scalp vigorously. This will improve blood flow in your scalp and ensure healthy dreads.

Step 01: Provide enough water to dampen your dreads.

Step 02: Squeeze a small amount of shampoo in your palm. Then thoroughly apply to the dreads.

Step 03: Once sufficient lather is produced, start massaging your scalp using fingertips.

Step 04: Put your head under the shower and rinse with enough water.

Step 05: For matured dreads, good milking is necessary.

Step 06: After thorough rinsing, complete drying is mandatory to avoid odor.

You can wash dreadlocks when your scalp is itchy by following the steps.

How do people keep dreadlocks clean?

Generally, people wash dreadlocks using soap or shampoo. People follow the below point to have clean dreadlocks.

  • Wash your dreads with residue-free, anti-fungal, sulfate-free, paraben-free, organic, or natural shampoo
  • When washing, massage your scalp as much as you can to clean the scalp
  • You can apply essential oils to freshen your locks
  • Don’t apply conditioner near your scalp.
  • Dry your dreads properly



We believe, now you will stop looking for the answer, do people with dreadlocks wash their hair. This guide covered enough information about washing dreadlocks. With the help of this information, you will surely have clean and healthy dreads that everyone will praise. 

About Angelia

Angelia is a celebrity magazine writer who writes a lot in blogs and magazines on fashion news, trends, and celebrity lifestyle. She has reliable sources to find out all the data. Her writings will definitely satisfy your thirst for knowing trending fashion.

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