It’s not uncommon for people who have never had dreadlocks to wonder how clean they are.
I remember growing up as a young teenager and thinking dreadlocks were dirty because I would see homeless people wearing them and they didn’t look clean.
It wasn’t until I grew an afro without combing it that I noticed I was naturally starting dreadlocks. I then realized it was natural for curly/kinky hair to turn into freeform dreadlocks if you didn’t separate the hair strands from tangling together.
So, if you’ve ever wonder if dreadlocks are dirty, this post will tell you everything you need to know.
Are dreadlocks dirty?
No, dreadlocks are not dirty. As long as you’re washing your dreadlocks, they should stay clean.
Dreadlocks are simply hair that’s tangled up. There’s nothing inherently dirty about them.
What Can Make Dreadlocks Dirty?
Although dreadlocks are not inherently dirty, there are a few things that can lead them to becoming dirty.
1. Product buildup
Using too much (or too many) product can lead to the product building up in your hair. For people without dreadlocks, removing this product is simple. When you wash your hair, you’re able to wash a lot of individual strands to remove the product build up.
When you have dreadlocks, it’s a little different. Because your individual hair strands are woven together, you’re not able to physically rub each hair strand to remove product. You’re going to rely on the shampoo itself to do a lot of the work inside each dreadlock.
Learn here: how to remove product build up
2. Sleeping with wet dreadlocks
Let’s say it’s 12 am midnight and you’ve just got done washing your dreadlocks, should you go to sleep with wet hair? No.
If you don’t have dreadlocks, sleeping with wet hair, while not recommended, is not that bad. Because each individual strand is exposed, as you toss and turn, your hair will slowly dry itself off on your pillows and cover.
When you have dreadlocks, the same thing will happen but primarily on the outside of your locs. The inside of your dreadlock will remain wet.
The longer your hair remains wet, the more time bacteria and mildew have to spread.
So, it’s recommended that you dry your dreadlocks before going to bed. A little dampness won’t be the end of the world but you should never go to bed with wet hair.
While dandruff won’t necessarily make your hair dirty, it will cause your dreadlocks to look that way.
Dandruff, while only loose dead skin cells on your head, gives the appearance of dirt. As your dreadlocks tangle up, they will encapsulate some dead skin cells that come off of your head (this is normal).
However, if you have a lot of dead skin cells – usually caused by dandruff or improperly washing your dreadlocks – they will begin filling up your locs as they grow and give off a white-ish appearance in your locs.
Not only does this make your dreadlocks look dirty, you’ll be more likely to get product build-up in the future.