Spring Cleaning: The Dreadlock Edition


As an owner of locks, I must say it is much more work than most people expect it to be. Pictured above is me, post work out and ready to deep clean these dreadies! I love my dreadlocks and part of the journey with this style of hair comes occasional maintenance. I typically wash my dreads weekly with an essential oil based shampoo from a salon called Dollylocks. I tend to work out frequently and I work in a restaurant, therefore this is the timeline and method that works for my scalp and roots. Everyone’s wash schedule varies.

In addition to this ritual, about every 4-6 months, depending on my surroundings, I will do a deep clean. Despite when we wash our dreads, they can still pick up residue from smoke, oil buildups, general air pollution, body soaps, face washes, cooking greases, dust and pretty much anything floating in the air. This deep clean is friendly for dreadlocks and non-dreaded hair as well. 

I came across this recipe from a lovely little soul named Lauren! Kudos to her because this deep clean is the bomb. She now lives in Colorado, and if you’d like to see how awesome she is, her instagram is @dreaminginlavender

I highly recommend doing this deep clean for your dreads if you never have. It will leave you feeling totally refreshed and renewed without causing any harm at all to your beautiful locks.

However, please remember to only perform this deep clean sparingly. You do not want to over cleanse your scalp and dry it out.
When we dry out out scalp to much and very often, our scalp enters into panic/catch up mode and our scalp will actually OVER produce its oils. That is when you will find that your scalp is extra greasy or you may face break outs.
So please please please, only utilize this method every 4-6 months because honey, that’s all that is needed!

Now lets jump into our spring cleaning for dreadlocks!
Here is what my dreads looked like before the deep cleaning:
Before the wash, my dread locks contained minor residue, had a neutral odor and my roots had a slight oil build up.

Begin with a clean sink. Fill it up with warm/hot water.
Below are the ingredients that you will need:

We like to keep it simple ’round here.

For your first move, you will pour 1 cup of baking soda into the sink.
The baking soda will remove toxins, residue and dirt while also exfoliating any dandruff.

Next, you will pour half of a cup of apple cider vinegar into the water.
It WILL bubble, it’s kind of fun and science experimentish.
The apple cider vinegar will flush out your hair follicles and strip away excess oil build up while tightening pores and encourage tightening the dread itself.

Then, you will add 2 caps of lemon juice for extra freshness.
I want to note on the color of the water; it will become cloudy and yellowed.
This is fine and we will compare the before water to the after water.

Lastly, you can add any essential oil of your choice. Tea tree oil is wonderful to use as a disinfectant/germ killer. I chose to use Lavender because I already have tea tree oil in my shampoo. I added half of a vile.
Lavender is a great relaxer through the sense of smell but also is a natural healer for the skin, disinfects and enhances blood flow to the areas it is used on.


Now all you can do is soak and scrub! Expect the process to take 30 minutes to an hour. I rotate my head all around. I start with the front of my head/scalp in the sink and massage my scalp. I work my way around the sides and eventually end on the back of my head. If you have a friend that is willing to help and is familiar with how you like your roots massaged, feel free to have them help.
For longer locks, I suggest using a deeper sink. I then usually just sit and let my locks soak for 15-30 minutes depending on time constraints. The process really is up to you. The longer you soak, the more you will get out.
Once you are all finished scrubbing and soaking, I suggest getting into the shower and thoroughly rinses your dreadlocks. A detachable shower head is preferred to really massage the scalp and roots with the water. Then work the solution through your ends by ringing out your dreads. Think of this process as how you would wash your clothes in the washing machine. The hair is layered and needs to be fully rinsed. 
Once you’re finished here, ring your dreads out the rest of the way.
I prefer to speed up the drying process by using a blow dryer without the heat on. I hold the dryer about 6 inches away from my head. It’s important to let your dreads dry openly, do not put them up right away.

As promised, here is the before and after pictures of the washing water:

Talk about full transparency! There is no shame in the cleansing process, it is all apart of the dread journey. Your water’s color may be lighter or darker, depending on if you use any sort of locking products.
Fun fact: I no longer use any products besides my essential oil shampoo. 

Here’s what my dreads look like now:
My scalp feels lighter and fresher; totally dandruff free.
My dreads no longer contain residue and smell super fresh! You can even tell a difference in the color, my locks are now revitalized and ready for the next 6 months.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this article.
Share the link if you enjoyed it!
Much love.

2 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning: The Dreadlock Edition

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