How to Wash Your Dreads: A Complete Guide

Dreadlocks, commonly referred to as “dreads,” are a popular hairstyle for people of all ages and backgrounds. This hairstyle is achieved by allowing hair to grow naturally and then twisting it into rope-like strands. While dreads can be low-maintenance, they still require proper care and maintenance to keep them clean and healthy. In this article, we will teach you how to wash your dreads so that they stay clean, fresh, and healthy.

Why is it important to wash your dreads?

One of the biggest misconceptions about dreads is that they don’t need to be washed. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, washing your dreads is incredibly important for maintaining their health and hygiene. When you don’t wash your dreads, sweat, dirt, and oil can build up in your hair and create an unpleasant odor. This can also lead to scalp irritation and other problems.

How often should you wash your dreads?

The frequency with which you should wash your dreads depends on several factors, such as your hair type, activity level, and climate. Generally speaking, most people with dreads wash their hair once or twice a week. However, some people may need to wash their dreads more often, particularly if they exercise frequently or live in a hot, humid climate.

What products do you need to wash your dreads?

When it comes to washing your dreads, it’s important to use the right products to avoid damaging your hair. Here are the products you will need:

  • Residue-free shampoo
  • Conditioner (optional)
  • Towel
  • Spray bottle (optional)

Step-by-step guide to washing your dreads

Now that you know why it’s important to wash your dreads and what products to use, let’s take a look at how to wash your dreads:

Step 1: Wet your hair

Begin by wetting your hair thoroughly in the shower or with a spray bottle. Make sure your hair is completely saturated so that the shampoo can penetrate your hair strands.

Step 2: Apply shampoo

Take a small amount of residue-free shampoo and work it into your dreads. Focus on your scalp, as this is where most of the dirt and oil accumulates. Use your fingertips to massage the shampoo into your hair and scalp, making sure to distribute it evenly.

Step 3: Rinse your hair

Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water, making sure to remove all of the shampoo. Use your fingers to gently squeeze the water out of your hair, but avoid wringing or twisting your dreads, as this can cause them to unravel.

Step 4: Apply conditioner (optional)

If you want to use conditioner, now is the time to apply it. Apply a small amount of conditioner to the ends of your hair and work it in gently. Leave the conditioner in for a few minutes before rinsing it out with warm water.

Step 5: Dry your hair

Once you’ve rinsed out all of the shampoo and conditioner, gently squeeze the water out of your hair with a towel. Avoid rubbing your hair vigorously, as this can cause frizz and damage your hair. Instead, use a towel to pat your hair dry.

FAQs about washing your dreads

Can you wash your dreads too much?

Washing your dreads too often can strip your hair of its natural oils and dry it out. However, not washing your dreads enough can lead to a buildup of dirt and oil, which can cause scalp irritation and other problems. It’s important to find the right balance and wash your dreads as needed.

What should you do if your dreads are still wet after washing?

If your dreads are still wet after washing, you can use a blow dryer on the cool or low setting to dry your hair. Avoid using a high heat setting, as this can damage your hair and cause it to become brittle.

Can you swim with dreads?

Yes, you can swim with dreads. However, it’s important to rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water after swimming to remove any chlorine or salt. You may also want to wear a swim cap to protect your hair from damage.


Washing your dreads is an important part of maintaining their health and hygiene. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can keep your dreads clean, fresh, and healthy. Remember to use the right products, avoid twisting or wringing your dreads, and find the right balance between washing your hair too often and not often enough.

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