What Are the Best Tips for Washing Dreadlocks?

Christina Edwards

Care should be taken when washing new dreadlocks, since they could possibly come out with improper handling. It is generally recommended that individuals wait to wash dreadlocks for a couple of weeks. Afterward, dreadlocks should be washed anywhere from every few days to every few weeks. Special dreadlocks shampoo should also be used, and wearing a hairnet while shampooing can help keep the dreadlocks together. It is also very important to dry dreadlocks very well after washing them.

Dreadlocks should be washed with special shampoo and dried very well.
Dreadlocks should be washed with special shampoo and dried very well.

Dreadlocks generally should not be washed for the first few weeks. After this, washing dreadlocks should be done periodically, depending on a person's hair type and the weather. Individuals with coarse hair may find that they can wash their hair less often than those with fine hair. Also, individuals with oily scalp will usually find that their dreadlocks need to be washed every few days.

Special dreadlocks shampoo can be found in ethnic salons.
Special dreadlocks shampoo can be found in ethnic salons.

Weather may also play a part in how often a person should be washing dreadlocks. Generally, in warm months, they should be washed every few days. This will help remove the buildup of excessive sweat and oil on the scalp. On the other hand, some people may be able to get away with washing dreadlocks every few weeks during the cold months.

It is not usually recommended to use regular shampoos or soaps on dreadlocks. These can strip away wax used to hold dreads together, and they can also leave residues in the hair. Instead, a mild shampoo should be used that is free of dyes, fragrances, and conditioners. Special dreadlocks shampoo can be found in many salons, especially ethnic salons. Castile soap, however, can be used in a pinch.

During the first month or two, many experts recommend covering the hair with some type of net when washing dreadlocks. This will help keep the dreadlocks together. A hair net is ideal, but a nylon stocking will often work as well. While the net is covering the dreadlocks, dreadlocks shampoo can be used to wash the outside of it. After the dreadlocks have tightened up, dreadlocks can be washed without the net.

Individuals may use a couple methods to wash dreadlocks. Some people apply shampoo to the scalp and allow it to run down the length of the dreadlocks. Other people lather up the dreadlocks as well as the scalp. To do this, shampoo is applied to each individual lock of hair. It should then be rinsed very well, and squeezed out to eliminate all remnants of the shampoo.

Drying the hair and scalp thoroughly is very important after washing dreadlocks. Wet dreadlocks can develop mold or mildew. If this happens, the hair and scalp will typically have a very unpleasant odor. It may also lead to an infection. Dreadlocks can be dried by squeezing each lock of hair with a towel, and rolling them between the palms of the hand.

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