Dreadlock Build-Up Solutions

Have you ever been messing with your locs then just happened to look close in the mirror or down at your locs and see little flakes? At first you try to flick it out and pick it out of your dreads only to discover the more you mess with it the worse it gets. This is what I call build up.

Usually this happens when someone uses a lot of products to twist and style their hair, but this is not always the case.

There was a time when I found build up in my locs and I wasn’t using any products other then African oils, it took some serious research to discover the root of the problem. I found out that I was not rinsing out my hair long enough after I washed my hair, so essentially the build up I was seeing was soap.

Most of the build up stories I hear have more to do with either the lack of hair washing or overusing hair products.

If this is happening to you don’t freak out and cut your locs off, go through this list of suggestions that should clear up that build up. I’ve used all 3 suggestions in my journey, some worked for me more then others, nonetheless I have no more build because I have specific processes to deep clean my hair long before the build up gets so bad that is a serious, noticeable problem. Take the time to learn your hair and find out the best way to deep clean your locs. Feel free to experiment with your own “build-up solutions” because I’m sure there are plenty of options out there. If you don’t have ANY solutions and you are in a crisis then give one of these solutions a try.

Apple Cider Vinegar


This has saved my locs more times then once. It’s important to use a good water/vinegar ratio so that you do not completely dry out your hair. If you look on YouTube you can find plenty of recipes that maximize the cleaning potential of apple cider vinegar without damaging your hair. 

Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap

Yes I know this is a bar of soap, but I promise if works just as good if not better then liquid soap. This actually helps with preventing build up as well as removing it. The soap is essentially plain, this make its easier to rinse out as well as make suds that can penetrate through the locs.

The brand I pointed out is one that I use sometimes because its cheap and available in many popular grocery stores. There are many other soap bars you could wash your with, what I am recommending is that whatever you use to have as few chemicals as possible. The more natural, the better.

To use the bar, make sure you hair is completely wet first. Then rub the bar in a circular motion on your hair until you see a heavy layer of suds, then you can put the bar down and use both hands to wash your hair, be sure to get as many suds through the locs as possible.

Dish Soap

This is for emergency situations only and should not be a permanent solution to your build up problem. If you have already tried other techniques for cleaning your locs and the build up is still visible then 9/10 this will save you, it has saved me before. Make sure you get some type of “grease remover” dish soap.

Either apply to the general area of the build up or wash your whole head if the build is that wide spread. Just think, if it removes grease from your dishes it can do the same for your locs. Just please remember, this is not a permanent solution, there will be long term damages if you continue to use this on a regular basis.

There other techniques available as well. Click Here for books that may help you on your journey. Do your research and find out what will work best for your needs.

For the future, remember these tips to prevent build up:

  • Wash Frequently & Rinse thoroughly
  • Avoid Thick Hair Products Such As Grease Or Wax
  • Protect Your Hair In Dusty, Dirty Environments
  • Inspect Your Locs On A Regular Basis