Throughout my travels I always get the same questions about my dreadlocks. One of those questions that is most popular is “do you wash dreadlocks?”. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been asked about this so I thought it was time to address the mystery of if dreadlocks can be washed.
** Side note – this is not a How To, that will be discussed in a later post **
People who are not familiar with dreadlocks have a hard time understanding how your hair got from point A to point dreadlocks. Because of this, people’s imagination tends to land all over the place. If you’re reading this and wondering an answer to the question well here’s the spoiler alert – YES! Wheeeew.
So now that we got that out of the way let’s talk a little more about the philosophy of washing and wetting dreadlocks. I want to be frank and upfront – I absolutely hate washing my dreadlocks! I repeat HATE arrrgh! At first I didn’t like washing my dreads because I was afraid they would become untwisted (this was before they actually locked).
In the beginning process of attaining dreadlocks I only washed them at the salon, where I would immediately get them re-twisted. As time progressed, my living situation changed and access to a salon wasn’t available. I then only washed my dreads whenever I planned to again immediately re-twist them myself.
At my present state my dreadlocks are much longer, because of that they tend to smell quicker and easier than before. So unfortunately I’m forced to wash them even if I don’t plan to re-twist them. Again washing dreadlocks is possible and also necessary if you want to keep healthy growing dreadlocks.
Why Washing Dreadlocks is a Pain
The reason I hate washing my dreadlocks is because physically it is hard to get all your locks thoroughly washed. My hair is thick and so are my dreads so washing them takes time and energy – especially if I want them to be clean and fresh.
Second and probably the most important reason I hate washing my dreads is because getting them dry can be time consuming. I don’t own a hair dryer chair (and most normal folk don’t) so that only leaves me two options to dry. Both of them suck and take forever.
I can either wait for them to dry which could take all night if not properly aired. Or I could blow dry them. The problem with blow drying dreadlocks is that they are so thick and it could take hours to get them dry. You better have someone who loves you dearly in order to hold a blow dryer for hours.
The myths about dreadlocks and if they’re able to be washed should be squashed (didn’t mean to rhyme there, but hey it works). Once your dreadlocks are completely locked, water will not do anything to harm them. Once they are locked you can swim, scuba, surf, waterboard and partake in any other water activity you can think of.
The truth however is that people with dreadlocks just don’t like to wash their hair – not that they can’t be washed. I would say the average person washes their dreadlocks 1 to 2 times per month. I’m sure there are some who choose to wash even less. This is mainly because of the hassle and nothing else.
Please don’t hesitate to comment or give feedback about this post. I would love to hear any stories about this question of washing your dreadlocks and how you might have answered when asked.