How To Wash Dreadlocks: A Beginner’s Guide To Keeping Your Locs Clean

how to wash dreadlocks

So you’ve finally made the decision that you want to grow your hair into locs. It’s been a good amount of time since you started your journey and you can see the growth and transformation.

There’s only one problem, keeping your hair clean is becoming more of a challenge everyday.

Have no fear, if you are looking for solid information regarding washing your locs then you have came to the right spot, Let get into it.

The Basics

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A few things you should know beforehand…

  • If you use gels, waxes, creams and other thick products you may have to put more effort into cleaning your hair. Sometimes this means washing multiple times in one session. If you still can’t get the build-up out of your locs you may need to do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse or another build-up removing technique.
  • Depending on your hair thickness and length, it could take a long time for your hair to dry, plan accordingly.

Getting Started

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What are you going to wash your hair with?

Do your own research and determine what you will use to wash you hair with. From my experience, the basic soaps and shampoos have worked the best for me. By basic, I mean very few ingredients and NO unnatural agents.

You can always find natural alternatives at your local grocery store and even your local hair care shop. To find a good product you should probably read the ingredients thoroughly. Some companies try to use a play on words to trick uninformed consumers about what they really put in their products.

You may not think it makes that much of a difference, but I guarantee there is not a single person with a full and healthy set of locs that does not pay serious attention to what they put in their hair.

Washing Your Locs

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Disclaimer: If you have long, thicks locs already then you may want to consider sectioning off your hair. This would make it easier, cleaning one section of your hair thoroughly then moving on to the next section.


This is important because it will be hard to get the soap/shampoo to penetrate the loc if it is dry. Not only that, you might be surprised at how much a good rinse could clean by itself.

Put a generous amount of soap/shampoo on your scalp, you’ll be surprised how much it take to wash a mature set of locs.

The goal is to create as many suds as possible before you really get started.

Massage the suds into the roots of your locs.

Washing your hair in a circular pattern helps form and reinforce loc structure.

Be sure to use your fingers to massage the suds through each loc, this way you are sure that all of your hair has been thoroughly cleaned.

Once you are satisfied that your hair is clean, you can rinse, with preferably warm water.

(always rinse a little longer, you’ll thank me later)

“How Often Do I Wash My Dreadlocks?”

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That’s a question only you can answer.

The simple answer is; as much as you want.

The complicated answer is; it depends on the cleanliness of your environment, how much you have been sweating, whether or not you notice any unwanted odors coming from your hair or if you just decide to clean your locs because you chose to.

If you don’t have an answer, you should probably clean your hair.

Locs do NOT need to be dirty to preserve essential minerals and vitamins. In fact, cleaner hair locks faster.

Drying Your Locs

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Personally, I think it’s best to let your hair air dry. If your hair is really long then I would gently pat it with a towel until its no longer dripping or soaking your shirt.

A faster way would be to use a blowdryer on low heat. If you turn the heat up you may end up damaging your hair, depending on how long and how close you use it.




Keep in mind that everyone’s hair is different, know what’s right for your hair.

Do what works best for you and your hair. 

And remember: Stay up, Stay loc’d, Stay Tru!