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Dreads Maintenance: How to Deep Clean Your Dreads

  • 8 min read

 Deep Clean Your Dreads

 Keeping dreadlocks as your statement hairstyle comes with a lot of challenges. One of the major hair challenges is how to deep clean the dreads. For maintaining the dreads dirt and residue-free, there are several products. Deep cleaning treatment is one procedure that removes all the sweat, extra moisture, and dirt from the hair. 

If you are a beginner and want to know about cleaning dreads with vinegar, this is the blog for you. Keeping the dreads lint-free can be achieved easily by deep cleansing or washing dreadlocks with baking soda. You may be wondering that you may need to wash your dreads frequently with the right products to keep them clean. But the reality is that everyone needs to deep clean their dreads once in a while. 

For deep cleaning, washing dreads with apple cider vinegar and baking soda is performed, but the products are different from routine washing. In addition, it has some extra steps and techniques to clean the locs thoroughly. Before getting deep about the deep cleaning dreadlocks process and what materials are required for this purpose, let’s glance at what signs indicate that your dreads need a deep cleansing. 

Signs Your Locs Need a Deep Clean

Routine washing and cleaning keep your hair in good health, but deep cleaning makes them stay longer. Some prominent signs indicate that your hair needs a detox. For instance, the sticky residues on the dreadlocks feel on the hands, and Additionally, the locs feel sticky and greasy. Further, here are some more temporary signs that can ensure that your dreadlocks are in dire need of a detox treatment. 

1: Itchy and Greasy Scalp 

One of the clear indications of the detox treatment is an itchy scalp. Sebum buildup can be problematic in cases where the dreads are not kept clean and managed carefully. Further, sebum is an oily substance released by the scalp, and it keeps your scalp and skin well-moisturized, but excessive sebum leads to the sebum buildup that causes itching. 

Sebum buildup is evident when you scratch your scalp and get the sebum residues in your nails. Super gross and harmful for your dreadlocks. As your locs grow and extra hair adds at the end, your sebum buildup may move towards the ends. Make sure you are aware of this problem to treat it before time. 

2: Sticky Dreads

Another clear indication of a deep clean treatment requirement is the sticky dreads. You must consider a deep cleaning if you feel that your dreads are unnecessarily damp despite washing with a residue-free shampoo. On touching the dreads, if you think of a left-over film or soap, it is a sign that your dreads are sticky. 

It may feel unreal to feel this difference as you will be confused about the condition of your dreads, but remember that if you think this sign after changing your shampoos and hair cleaning products, it is confirmed that your dreads need detox treatment. 

3: No luster in the dreads

At the beginning of the loc journey, the locs look fresh as they grow with time. But, if you notice any discoloration in your dreads, it indicates that you need a moisturizing treatment and deep cleaning. You may see some grey spots in your dreads due to the buildup. 

Restore your dreads with a deep clean process and regain the lost shine and luster using a few natural ingredients. While washing, scrub those areas specifically to get rid of this discoloration. 

4: Never deep cleansed before

Another indication is that you have never performed any deep cleaning hair treatment. Apart from the routine hair cleaning products and using residue-free shampoos, you need to deep clean the locs with unique ingredients. You will be amazed by the results you get after a detox treatment, and these results are entirely different.

5: Foul Smell

If your dreads smell despite washing, it indicates that your hair has some buildup that needs a detox treatment for removal. Excessive sweating and product buildup can cause foul-smelling that can be resolved with deep cleaning.

Steps to Deep Clean the Dreads

The process is easy to perform at home with essential kitchen supplies. Many hair professionals also offer this treatment at a salon, but that can charge you a leg and an arm. Hence, if you’re on a budget, here is the simple dreadlock deep clean recipe for performing at home. But, before moving to the steps, let's note down the essential supplies you need. 


For deep cleaning, you will require some essentials from your kitchen including fresh lime, apple cider vinegar, baking soda and more. Here is the list of essential supplies that you may need for deep clean process. 

  •  A sink or basin
  •  Warm to hot water
  •  A mesh strainer
  •  A towel
  •  Scalp massaging brush
  •  A plastic cup
  •  1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  •  1 ¼ baking soda
  •  10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  •   2 tables spoon fresh lemon juice
  •  10 drops lavender essential oil
  •  10 drops of tea tree essential oil

1st part of Deep Cleaning:

It is the easiest loc detox recipe with lemon juice that can be easily performed at home. Further, it can be completed in less than 30 minutes. Here are some basic steps of the deep cleaning treatment:

  • 1. Fill the sink or washbasin with warm water. You can keep it hot as much as your skin can bear.
  • 2. Add ½ cup of raw apple cider vinegar to the washbasin and let it mix well.
  • 3. In the third step, add ½ cup of baking soda. A strong reaction will occur. Observe it well, and then submerge your dreads in this water.
  • 4. Soak your dreads well in the water and use the plastic cup to wash your scalp near the neck and ears. Further, use the massaging brush or your fingers too deep to clean your dreads.
  • 5. Massage your fingers on your scalp and dreads for five minutes and empty the sink with this water. You will notice the dirt and residues from your head in the water. It indicates how much a deep cleaning was required for your dreads.
  • 6. Refill the container again with a hot water bath and add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda.
  • 7. Perform the same process again and deep clean your dreads thoroughly.
  • 8. Rinse the container at the end.

2nd part of Deep Cleaning:

Continue your detox treatment with the second part of the cleaning, which is very simple and requires only a few hours.

  • 1. Fill the container or the sink with hot water once again.
  • 2. Now, for this time, add ¼ cup of remaining baking soda and two tablespoons of fresh lime and mix well.
  • 3. Then, add ten drops of all the essential oils, including the rosemary oil, lavender oil, and tea tree oil. These oils help reduce dandruff and keep the dreads moisturized after a detox treatment. Further, they add extra essence to remove the bad smell.
  • 4. Soak your dreads in the water and leave for five minutes. Meanwhile, use your fingers and massaging brush to clean all the dreads and scalp hair.
  • 5. Use a plastic cup to reach the backside of your head so that no area remains dry and unwashed.
  • 6. Finally, squeeze your dreads and wrap them in a microfiber towel.
  • 7. In the last step, wash your dreads with a warm shower. Rinse the dreads and scalp thoroughly to wash all the vinegar residues. Remember that you don’t need to use shampoo at this step, as you have already cleaned the dreads.
  • 8. Air dry your locs thoroughly before going to bed. Excessive moisture can attract lint and dirt residues. Hence, a dry scalp is needed to feel the essence of fresh locs in the morning.

Tips for Deep Clean Dreads

Here are a few tips and tricks to make your deep cleaning process more manageable. Give them a try to feel exceptional:

  •  Note that your dreads should be clean and non-greasy before starting the process. A good wash with a residue-free shampoo is suitable a day before the treatment.
  •  Your locs must be dry before the process, as moisture may affect the deep cleaning.
  •  Strain the apple cider vinegar into the container to avoid residues in your locs, which will be difficult to remove.
  •  Vinegar scent may stay in your hair for some time, so don’t get bothered.
  •  Try to perform the deep cleaning process in the morning so that the dreads dry well during the day.

How to Keep Your Dreads Cleaned for Long Time?

Now, you may be wondering how to keep your dreads cleaned for extended duration. Here are some things you can do to keep them clean for a long.

1: Be mindful of the products you are using

There are a number of ways to perform this process. Additionally, many organic and inorganic products are used for this treatment. Be mindful about the product you are going to put in your head. Don’t believe everything you hear or read online, as much of the information is extracted from unfounded theories.

2: Cover your locs while sleeping

Take extra care of your locs while sleeping. Don’t let moisture stay in your locs after washing as it can attract excessive lint, residues, and more. Dry your locks before going to bed. Use a satin cap or headscarf o cover your dreads while sleeping.

3: Protect your locs from the dusty environment

It is essential to keep your locs in the clean air as the contaminated air can be the reason for buildup. Try to avoid any places with dirt and smoke. Further, you can cover your head while going to contaminated sites like deserts and mountains.

4: Heavy exercises

If you’re a sportsperson, you may have ideas about how exertion and heavy activities release sweat. Like body sweating, the scalp with unnecessary sweating results in a buildup in the locs. Hence, such actions can be why your locs get dirty in no time. Avoid heavy exertion activities to avoid such issues.

Further, you need to keep an eye on all the factors that can be the reason for buildup. Only you can analyze the situations that make your dreads look dirty. For instance, a swimming pool bath can attract a variety of compounds that stick in the dreadlocks. They are not easy to remove by daily washing products. To remove these residues, you’ll need the detox treatment.

How Often Should You Deep Clean the Dreads?

Last but not least, you may be wondering how often should you clean your hair with deep cleaning. You should deep wash dreads twice a year. Under exceptional circumstances, you can detox the dreads thrice a year. Detox treatments are necessary to keep the dreads clean for a long time. If you’re diligent about washing your dreads once a week, your dreads will not attract as many product residues. But, if you’re a sports person, your dreads are prone to take extra moisture and dirt residues so you can deal with clean dreads thrice a year.

Now, the question is, what do detoxing dreads do? Detox treatment is always favorable to your dreads. You have invested in your look in the form of money and time, so it is your responsibility to keep them clean and stay longer. The dreads naturally attract a lot of dirt, pollen, and other things that you don’t see floating in the air. So, no better there is no better treatment than a detox treatment to get clean, fresh, and lightweight dreads. Once you perform this process, you’ll be astonished by the results and how your dreads feel lighter. Don’t perform deep clean excessively as it can also result in losing some knots in your dreads that are not easy to build again. 


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