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The Afro Curly Hair Coach

Dreadlock Detox: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Locks Healthy and Beautiful

Dreadlocks are a unique and versatile hairstyle that has been around for centuries. With their growing popularity, it's essential to know how to care for your locks properly. In this comprehensive blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about dreadlocks, dreadlock care, and dreadlock specialist tips to prevent and remove buildup in your locks.

Understanding Dreadlocks and Buildup:

Dreadlocks, also known as "locks" or "locs," are rope-like strands of hair formed through the process of matting and knotting. They can be found in various cultures and have been embraced by people of all hair types.

One of the main challenges in maintaining healthy dreadlocks is preventing and removing buildup. Buildup refers to the accumulation of dirt, sweat, oils, and residue from hair products that can get trapped in your locks, leading to an unpleasant odor, dull appearance, and unhealthy hair.

How to Prevent Buildup in Dreadlocks:

Choose the right hair products:

Select hair products specifically designed for dreadlocks or those with natural and residue-free ingredients. Avoid, if not use only when needed products containing petroleum, sulfates, silicones, and waxes, as they can cause buildup in your locks.

Keep your dreadlocks clean:

Contrary to popular belief, you should wash your dreadlocks regularly. Clean dreadlocks are less prone to buildup. Use a residue-free shampoo, and ensure you rinse thoroughly to avoid any leftover residue.

Proper drying technique:

After washing your dreadlocks, make sure to dry them properly. Wet locks are more prone to mildew and buildup. Use a microfiber towel to gently squeeze excess water out, and then air-dry or use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to dry your locks completely.

Maintain healthy scalp:

Healthy scalp is crucial in preventing buildup. Keep your scalp clean and moisturized with natural oils like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil. Avoid heavy, greasy products that can lead to buildup.

Regular maintenance:

Regular maintenance, including palm rolling and root tightening, can help prevent buildup in your dreadlocks. Consult a dreadlock specialist to get personalized advice on maintaining your locks.

How to Remove Buildup in Dreadlocks:

Deep clean your locks:

A deep cleaning treatment can help remove buildup in your dreadlocks. Mix equal parts of baking soda and apple cider vinegar with lukewarm water in a bowl or basin. Soak your dreadlocks in the solution for 20-30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Finish by washing with a residue-free shampoo and conditioning with a natural oil.

Here is a simple recipe on deep cleaning dreadlocks with apple cider vinegar


  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups of warm water


  1. Mix the apple cider vinegar with warm water in a large bowl or basin.

  2. If your dreadlocks are long enough, soak them in the mixture for 10-15 minutes, making sure that all the locks are fully submerged.

  3. If your dreadlocks are not long enough to soak, you can pour the mixture over your scalp and locks or use a spray bottle to spritz the mixture onto your locks.

  4. Massage your scalp gently to help loosen any buildup or dirt.

  5. Rinse your dreadlocks thoroughly with warm water until all the vinegar is removed.

  6. You can also shampoo and condition your dreadlocks as usual to further cleanse and moisturize them.

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a natural astringent that can help to break down buildup and residue on the hair and scalp. The acidic pH of apple cider vinegar can also help to balance the pH of the scalp, which can reduce inflammation and irritation. Additionally, apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins and minerals that can nourish and strengthen the hair, promoting healthy growth and preventing breakage.

When used as a detox for dreadlocks, apple cider vinegar can help to remove buildup and residue, leaving the locks feeling clean and refreshed. However, it's important to note that apple cider vinegar can be drying if overused, so it's recommended to do this detox once every 1-3 months, depending on your hair type and lifestyle. Additionally, if you have any scalp conditions or allergies, it's best to consult with a professional before trying this method.

Use a clarifying shampoo:

A clarifying shampoo can help remove excess buildup. Look for a residue-free clarifying shampoo designed for dreadlocks and use it once a month or as needed.

Try a dreadlock detox:

A dreadlock detox is a deep-cleaning method that involves soaking your dreadlocks in a mixture of bentonite clay, water, and apple cider vinegar. This detox can help draw out impurities and buildup from your locks. Consult your dreadlock specialist for guidance on using a dreadlock detox. Here is a simple recipe you can follow.


  • 1/4 cup of bentonite clay powder

  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (or water, if preferred)

  • 1/4 cup of warm water


  1. In a small bowl, mix the bentonite clay powder with the apple cider vinegar (or water) until it forms a smooth paste.

  2. Add warm water to the mixture and stir until it's well combined.

  3. The consistency of the mixture should be similar to that of yogurt. If it's too thick, add a little more water, and if it's too runny, add a little more clay powder.

  4. Apply the mixture to your dreadlocks, making sure to work it into each lock and massage your scalp gently.

  5. Leave the mixture on for 10-15 minutes, or until it starts to dry and harden.

  6. Rinse your dreadlocks thoroughly with warm water until all the clay is removed.

This recipe makes enough mixture for one dreadlock detox session. You can adjust the amounts of ingredients based on the length and thickness of your dreadlocks.


Maintaining healthy dreadlocks requires proper care and attention to prevent and remove buildup. By following these tips and seeking advice from a dreadlock specialist, you can enjoy clean, healthy, and beautiful locks. Always remember that your dreadlocks are unique, and finding the perfect routine may require some experimentation. Don't be afraid to try new techniques and products to find what works best for your locks.


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