Just like with all other hairstyles, you should wash your hair regularly when you have dreadlocks. Maybe it is even more important to do so since it is pretty easy to get buildup and dust stuck in the dreads if you don´t look after them properly.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you are washing dreadlocks is that it is very easy to get buildup stuck in the middle of the dreadlocks from your shampoo (and anything else you might be putting on them). There is special residue free shampoos especially made for dreadlocks to reduce the risk of getting buildup when you wash your hair. But even those shampoos can cause buildup over time, so keep this in mind.
Since we have a small problem with dandruff we need to use a special dandruff shampoo to keep the scalp nice and healthy, so what I do to prevent buildup from the shampoo is diluting the shampoo with water in a spray bottle. I use as little shampoo as I can and dilute it so that it rinses out easily.
I spray or pour it from the spray bottle on to the scalp, massage it and make sure I cover the whole scalp and let it sit for a few minutes. When it comes time to rinse it out, I squeeze it through the dreads and keep squeezing them as I rinse the hair just like you squeeze a sponge to get all of the shampoo out. After I think I have gotten all of the shampoo out I continue to rinse and squeeze a while longer just to make sure the dreads are really, really clean and no shampoo is left in the middle of the dreads.
Once in a while we do a deep cleaning of the dreads by soaking them in a bowl of warm water and baking soda for about 30 min (I have no special measurements for this). We do this to remove any buildup that might be in the dreads. After we do that we follow it with a normal wash to get the baking soda out of the hair.
We use a towel to gently squeeze and dry the dreadlocks a bit.
To take care of the hair and keep it moisturized and healthy we put some oil on the hair after we wash it to seal in moisture. Usually we use jojoba oil since it is closest to the natural sebum of the scalp but during the school weeks we use an oil based “head lice prevention spray” (it is manly castor oil and does not contain any chemicals or insecticides). It would be my worst nightmare if we got head lice in his beautiful locks! And as you all probably know there is always a risk of getting head lice in schools or daycares and such places. Better safe than sorry, right?! (Click here for more on head lice).