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Deep Cleaning Dreadlocks

Deep cleans are not normally necessary on young dreads under 6 months of age, because water can flow more freely through the dreads, aiding the removal of shampoos when you wash. However, as your dreadlocks mature, it’s sensible to add a deep cleanse into your routine. For the average person, with a regular job (that is, not a particularly messy one where the dreads are exposed to dust, dirt or things of that nature!) around every 3 months is a good frequency to introduce a deep clean into your dreadlock care routine. Of course, if you live in an area known for hard-water, find it hard to rinse out your shampoo effectively from your dreadlocks, struggle with limescale build-up around your home or have a lifestyle that means your dreads are exposed to more dust or dirt, then it can be a good idea to deep-clean slightly more frequently (around every 8 weeks).


It's important to note that you might not think you have any build-up since you’ve been using residue free shampoos and following your dreadlock care routine precisely. However, build-up is still likely to occur even using the correct shampoos, it will just happen at a slower rate. Sometimes it isn’t always visible, but you might be able to feel the residue. If your dreads feel a little sticky or spongy when you squeeze them after a shower, this can be a sign that you would benefit from performing a deep clean.


Deep cleaning your dreads means that any residue leftover from your shampoo is removed from your hair. This has several benefits – It can help reduce the drying time of your hair as water can move more freely through your dreads. It is also sensible to deep clean to help prevent mildew issues from occurring, both by allowing your hair to dry faster but also by ensuring that there isn’t any material inside your dreads to encourage mildew. But that’s not all! Deep cleaning can also aid your hair in locking up more. Finally, it feels really good to deep clean your hair – I personally find my dreads feel lighter and swishier after a good cleanse.


So, it sounds good, right? But how exactly does one do a deep clean?

Materials Required

  • Bowl/Bucket – Large enough to be able to soak your dreads and head in (If you have the right kind of kitchen layout you could lie on the counter and use the kitchen sink!)

  • Hot water – as hot as you can stand. You’ll need to squeeze your dreads whilst they’re submerged, plus the water will be against your scalp so don’t use water out of a kettle!

  • Dollylocks Dreadlock Detox Kit - pick your favourite scent from Nag Champa, Lavender Sky, Tea Tree Spearmint, Rosemary Peppermint or Coconut Lime. 


  1. Fill your container with hot water (as hot as you can stand it, but make sure you’re able to put your hands into it comfortably, since squeezing your dreads is an important part of the cleanse!

  2. Pour the contents of the detox kit sachet into the container, stirring to dissolve it fully. Once the water has fizzed and gone clear, it is ready!

  3. Place the container somewhere so you can lie down with your head and dreads inside it. Depending on your home this might be your bed with the bucket on the floor, or perhaps on a sofa. I tend to do my soaks lying on a futon with my head over the side. Make sure you pop some towels down to minimise mess!

  4. Soak your hair for around 30 minutes. Completely submerge them and after 5 minutes of soaking, begin to squeeze your dreads in the water, to help any build-up to exit the dreadlocks. You’re effectively using your dreads like a sponge here, allowing them to fill with water then squeezing it out again. This will help to draw out impurities, residue and build-up from within your dreadlocks.

  5. Once you’ve soaked your dreads for the required time, give them a final good squeeze before wrapping them up in a towel and disposing of the water.

  6. Grab the shampoo from your detox kit and head to the shower. You want to rinse your hair out well after the soak, then apply shampoo completely to your scalp and dreadlocks. Rinse well, then repeat a further 1-2 times. You want to use the entire bottle of shampoo supplied with your detox kit in this post-soak wash, spread over 2-3 applications. 

  7. Finally, rinse your hair with tons of water.

  8. Dry your hair as normal. It's also recommended to use a conditioning oil or tightening gel following your deep clean to help add moisture back into your dreadlocks. 


Next: Regular Maintenance on Your Dreadlocks