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How Often to Wash Dreads: the Essential Guide to Proper Dreadlock Care (2024)

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how often to wash dreadsUnlock freedom by mastering how often to wash dreadlocks.

This guide demystifies dreadlock care, empowering you with knowledge to maintain vibrant, healthy locs.

Discover tailored washing frequencies aligning with your lifestyle.

Expert techniques for cleansing and drying.

Strategies to preserve optimal moisture.

Embrace the liberating journey of dreadlock ownership through informed, meticulous haircare practices.

Key Takeaways

  1. Wash dreadlocks at least once a week with a residue-free dreadlock shampoo to maintain scalp health and prevent odor.
  2. Increase washing frequency for active individuals or those in dusty environments.
  3. Adjust washing frequency based on physical activity level, work environment, and scalp issues.
  4. Use steam treatments, water, natural oils, and moisturizing products to maintain moisture in locs.
  5. Dry locs promptly to prevent mildew and musty odors.

How Often to Wash Dreads ?

To wash dreads, it is recommended to wash them at least every 7-10 days, but the frequency can vary depending on individual hair texture and personal preference. Some people wash their locs once a week, while others wash them bi-weekly or even monthly.

It is essential to clean the scalp and locs when they feel dirty or when environmental dirt and scalp build-up are present.

Washing Frequency

Washing Frequency
When it comes to washing your dreads, the frequency can vary depending on your lifestyle and personal needs. As a general rule, it’s advisable to wash your dreads at least once a week to maintain their health and freshness.

However, if you’re an active individual or work in a dusty environment, you may need to wash them more frequently.

When determining your washing schedule, consider factors such as physical activity level, work environment, and any scalp issues like dandruff or itchiness.

When washing your dreads, it’s crucial to use a residue-free dreadlock shampoo to avoid buildup. Hot water can be used, but it’s recommended to rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo residue. Brushing your dreads after washing can help eliminate any tangles and promote growth.

Product application is also essential. For those with dandruff, using an anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week can help alleviate symptoms. After washing, it’s important to dry your dreads promptly to prevent moisture buildup and promote healthy growth.

In conclusion, understanding your washing schedule, shampoo selection, and drying techniques are key to maintaining healthy, fresh-looking dreads.

Washing Technique

Washing Technique
When it comes to washing your dreadlocks, technique is just as important as frequency. Proper washing technique can help maintain the health and appearance of your locs, while improper technique can lead to issues like buildup, dandruff, and scalp irritation.

  1. Shampoo selection: Choose a residue-free dreadlock shampoo that won’t leave buildup on your locs. Avoid shampoos with softeners, waxes, or other ingredients that can untangle knots and interfere with the locking process.

  2. Conditioning options: While commercial conditioners can provide moisture and hydration, they may leave residue in your locs. If you choose to use a conditioner, ensure it’s water-soluble and won’t leave buildup. Alternatively, consider using natural alternatives like aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, or baking soda soaks to keep your locs moisturized.

  3. Special washing: For deep cleansing, consider using a clarifying shampoo or a baking soda and apple cider vinegar soak every two to three months to remove any buildup.

  4. Drying technique: After washing, dry your locs promptly to prevent mildew and musty odors. Gently squeeze out excess water with a towel, and avoid rubbing your locs, which can cause damage. You can also use a diffuser on a gentle setting to help your locs dry evenly.

  5. Moisture maintenance: Between wash days, maintain moisture by using steam treatments, letting water run over your locs, or using a spray bottle with water, essential oils, and aloe vera gel.

Drying Technique

Drying Technique
Drying your dreadlocks correctly is crucial for maintaining their health and appearance. After washing, it’s essential to dry them promptly to prevent heat damage, shrinkage, and tangling.

  1. Sunlight: If possible, let your locs dry in natural sunlight, as it’s a natural and effective drying method.
  2. Microfiber Towel: Use a microfiber towel to absorb excess water gently. Change the towel when it gets drenched to avoid moisture buildup.
  3. Avoid Rubbing: Don’t rub your locs with the towel, as this can cause tangling and breakage. Instead, pat them dry.
  4. Diffuser: For healthy drying, use a diffuser on a gentle speed and low setting. This helps to prevent moisture loss and maintain your locs’ natural texture.
  5. Steam Treatment: If you’re looking for a deeper cleanse, consider using steam treatment or letting water run over your hair between wash days. Just remember to dry your locs properly after exposure to moisture.

Moisture Maintenance

Moisture Maintenance
To maintain the health and freshness of your dreadlocks, it’s crucial to incorporate moisture maintenance into your routine.

This involves using steam treatments, water conditioning, and natural oils to keep your locks hydrated. Moisturizing products and hydration tips are your best friends, especially when using dreadlock shampoo.

If you’re dealing with an itchy scalp, consider washing with anti-dandruff shampoo. Remember, healthy dreadlocks aren’t only about appearance but also about maintaining a balanced scalp environment.

So, don’t forget to dry your locs properly after steam treatments or water exposure. It’s all about finding the right balance in the ever-evolving world of dreadlock care.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle Factors
When considering how often to wash your dreadlocks, it’s essential to take into account your lifestyle factors.

If you lead an active lifestyle, work in a dusty environment, or suffer from dandruff or scalp itchiness, you may need to wash your dreads 2-3 times a week.

Additionally, if you work out regularly, washing your dreadlocks more frequently can help remove sweat buildup and prevent an unpleasant odor.

Remember to adjust your washing frequency based on your specific needs and the condition of your dreadlocks.

Washing Frequency

Adjusting washing frequency is crucial for maintaining healthy dreadlocks.

Factors like physical activity level, work environment, and dandruff can influence how often you wash.

For regular maintenance, wash every 7-10 days.

Increase frequency to 2-3 times a week for active lifestyles or dirty work environments.

Use residue-free dreadlock shampoo and anti-dandruff treatments.

Deep cleansing routines with clarifying shampoo can be beneficial.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends washing locs weekly.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors play a crucial role in determining your dreadlock washing frequency.

  • Dandruff severity: If you’re prone to dandruff, you may need to wash more frequently.
  • Exercise frequency: Active individuals might need to wash locs more often due to sweat buildup.
  • Scalp sensitivity and hair type: Some people may have sensitive scalps or thicker hair that requires more frequent washing.

Washing Technique

To ensure your dreadlocks remain healthy and fresh-looking, it’s crucial to wash them regularly.

  1. Wet your dreadlocks and scalp thoroughly.
  2. Pour a small amount of residue-free dreadlock shampoo into your hand and work it into your hair, focusing on the scalp.
  3. Massage your scalp gently but thoroughly to remove any buildup or dirt.
  4. Rinse your dreadlocks thoroughly to remove all shampoo residue.
  5. If you have mature dreadlocks, consider using a clarifying shampoo for a deep cleanse.
  6. Dry your dreadlocks promptly after washing to prevent scalp irritation and odor.

When choosing a shampoo, opt for one that’s residue-free and free of harsh chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and alcohol. Natural ingredients like avocado oil, coconut oil, shea butter oil, and castor oil can be beneficial for your hair and scalp.

In conclusion, proper washing technique is essential for maintaining healthy, fresh-looking dreadlocks. By following these guidelines and adjusting your washing frequency based on your lifestyle, you can keep your dreadlocks clean and vibrant.

Washing Instructions

Washing Instructions
When diving into the art of dreadlock care, your shampoo choice is your secret weapon. Opt for residue-free options that keep your locks light and avoid buildup. Remember, your dreads are like sponges; they’ll soak up and hold onto anything, so choose wisely.

Adjust your cleaning frequency based on your daily grind and how much your scalp’s oil production kicks into overdrive. After washing, embrace natural drying methods. A gentle sun bath or a soft breeze can work wonders, adding a touch of aromatherapy benefits if you’re outdoors.

Keeping your locks moisturized is key; explore moisture retention techniques to keep them looking and feeling lush.

General Recommendations

General Recommendations
To maintain healthy, fresh-looking dreadlocks, it’s essential to establish a washing routine tailored to your lifestyle. Washing frequency is crucial for dandruff prevention, odor control, oil reduction, and overall dreadlock health.

As a general rule, wash your dreads at least once a week, but adjust based on your activity level and work environment. If you’re active or work in a dusty environment, consider washing 2-3 times a week.

Remember, washing new locs too soon can hinder the locking process, so be patient.

When washing, use residue-free dreadlock shampoo and massage the scalp to remove buildup. Dry your dreads promptly after washing to prevent moisture buildup. For dandruff, use anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week.

To maintain moisture, use steam treatments or let water run over your hair between wash days. Always dry your dreads properly after moisture exposure. Remember, consistent maintenance is key to thriving locs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I wash my dreadlocks if I have an oily scalp?

You should wash your dreadlocks 2-3 times weekly if you have an oily scalp. Frequent washing helps control excess oil production, preventing buildup and odor.

Is it necessary to wash my dreadlocks with shampoo every time I wash them?

Like a well-tended garden, your dreadlocks thrive with regular shampooing. Yes, you’ll need to use shampoo every time to keep them clean, fresh, and healthy.

Can I use a regular shampoo on my dreadlocks, or do I need a special shampoo?

You need a residue-free dreadlock shampoo to avoid buildup and keep your locs healthy.

How long should I wait to wash my dreadlocks after getting them done?

Oh, the irony! You can’t wash those fresh locs just yet. Give ’em 4-6 weeks to settle before their first sudsing.

Can I use a dry shampoo between wash days to keep my dreadlocks fresh?

Yes, you can use a dry shampoo between washes. It’ll absorb excess oil and help your locs look and smell fresh. Just be sure to use a residue-free formula made specifically for dreadlocks. Too much buildup can lead to issues, so don’t overdo it.


Maintaining vibrant, healthy dreadlocks aligns with your unique lifestyle. Coincidentally, proper washing frequency and techniques ensure optimal moisture levels. You now possess the essential knowledge to cleanse and dry your locs effectively, preventing buildup while embracing dreadlock freedom.

Confidently implement these guidelines, nurturing radiant locks that harmonize with your daily routines.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.