Can Dreads Get Wet?

Can dreads get wet

Hair care is very important for having a good appearance as well as maintaining overall hygiene. Natural hair is much more delicate than any other hair type which needs extra attention. And if you are having dreads in your hair, you always need to be one step forward while taking care of them. Dreads are commonly known as dreadlocks or locs which are widely known for their unique style. People celebrate dreadlocks by accepting their natural hair texture.

Dreadlocks can just be a hairstyle for you, but once you have them, they become an integral part of your lifestyle. If you are not careful enough, the dreads can get ruined, make your hair damaged, or cause your hair to fall out as well.  When it comes to taking care of your dreads, the question often comes into people’s minds, “Can dreads get wet?” A simple answer is both yes and no, which can be quite confusing! To help with this confusion, in this article, I am going to explain whether dreadlocks can get wet or not and how you should take care of your dreadlocks to keep your natural hair healthy.

Can Dreads Get Wet – Water on Dreads Explained ?

Can dreads get wet - water on dreads explained
Can dreads get wet – water on dreads explained

Whether your dreads can get wet or not, does not come with a straightforward answer. The answer is both YES and NO! You can get your dreads wet more often once they are past the formation time. After your dreads are fully formed, they can get wet, but you have to maintain some caution for it.

The dreads are more delicate when it is formed newly. So, if your dreads are new, try not to get them wet or use products that can make the dreads loosen up. You should make your hair wet as less as you can. Try to wash your hair or make your hair come into contact with water after 3 to 4 weeks of installation. Once your dreads are formed, you can wet your hair more often.

But, if the locks are not new, you can get them wet more easily. You can easily wash your locks once a week, but washing more than that can affect your hair in a different way. Frequent wash can cause multiple problems in your hair. If you wash your hair almost every day, it can strip away all the natural oil from your hair. Your hair will become brittle and can cause dandruff from extreme dryness of the scalp. You can easily keep your hair without being wet for 3 to 4 weeks to maintain a healthy hair life.

Also, if you have hard water in your tap, it will leave your hair dry and make them prone to damage. Hard water contains buildup minerals like calcium and magnesium which will make it difficult for your hair to penetrate moisture. Always try to use soft water to wash your dreads. You can buy any soft water filter from the market which can be easily adjusted to your tap.

Some people might not go this long without washing their hair. Some people do sports regularly and sweat a lot. If they get itchiness or irritation from not cleaning their dreads, they should clean them up. For cleaning up, they should always use clarifying shampoo and conditioners which are sulfate free. So that, they do not draw away all the natural hair from the scalp or create buildup. After washing, do not forget to dry them up completely for mold-free, healthy dreads.

How to Dry Your Wet Dreads?

How to dry your wet dreads
How to dry your wet dreads

Drying out your dreadlocks is the most crucial part after you wet your dreadlocks or wash them. Normally, the water from the dreads falls off naturally from the hair making it dry. But, the thickness of the dreads will make it hard to dry out faster. It might take all day sometimes to be fully dried.  If your hair remains wet for a longer time, it can create molds in your hair. So, drying out your dreads faster will help to reduce the risks of mold and bad odors.

Here are some ways you can make your dreads dry:

  • Press The Water Out: Make sure there is no build-up from the hair care products after washing your hair completely. Then press the dreadlocks gently with your hands to remove the excess water. Then take a microfiber towel and pat dry your dreads softly or sometimes. After that, wrap the towel around your dreads and let it sit for some minutes.
  • Roll And Shake: If you think that it is way more time-consuming to wrap around the towel and sit, you can go with a roll and shake method. In this process, you will simply roll the dreads with the palm starting from the roots to the hair end. Squeeze very softly while rolling and do not twist the dreads while doing so at all. If your dreads still have more moisture then simply shake the dreads back and forth gently to shake off the remaining excess water.
  • Use A Hair Drier Appropriately: After the excess water is removed from your hair, you should take the help of a hair drier to dry the dreads completely. For using a hair drier, try attaching a portable bonnet cap and keep the hair drier in a low setting. It will help the air circulation concentrate inside the cap and make your hair dry out faster. The lowest setting will help your dreads to remain unharmed from the heat damage.
  • Some Additional Tips:
    • Do not sleep with wet locks. Your first priority should be drying out your locks completely after washing.
    • If you are wearing any accessories or beads in your hair move them around. Otherwise, water can get trapped inside.
    • Do not tie your hair while it is still drying. Wait until it is fully dry before doing any styling.
    • If you have loc extensions, they will take much longer to dry. Take your time to dry them before moving forward.

Washing Your Dreads: Some Shampoo Alternatives

If you are not careful of the ingredient, store-bought shampoo can sometimes make your dreads extremely dry and fragile. So, if you want to use some natural ingredients that you can easily find at home to save your dreads from harmful ingredients, here are some alternative options for you:

1. Apple cider vinegar:

washing your hair with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a great way to maintain the pH level of your hair and scalp and keep them clean at the same time. You have to dilute your ACV with water. The scent might not be pleasant for you, but it will go away as your hair dries out.

How to apply:

  • Mix 1 cup of water with 2 tablespoons of ACV and pour that into your scalp.
  • Massage your scalp and your dreads gently for a few minutes
  • Rinse that out with soft water.
 Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar

    2. Baking Soda Wash:

    Baking soda wash can also be a great alternative to shampoo if you are not irritated by it. Before applying baking soda, try doing a patch test first to check if that irritates your skin or not. If it does not cause any irritation then you can go for it.

    How to apply:

    • Take 2 teaspoons of baking soda and mix it with one cup of warm water.
    • Then apply it to the scalp and massage it for 5 minutes.
    • Rinse it out with clean water.
    • Try using ACV-diluted water if you can balance the pH level of your scalp and your dreads.
    Baking soda wash
    Baking soda wash

      3. Water And Lemon Juice:

      1.  Lemon juice can be a great hair cleanser with antibacterial properties. It soaks away all the excess oil from the scalp and makes your scalp dandruff free. But too much lemon can strip away the natural oils from your dreads as well. Try using lemon water only on your scalp.

      How to apply:

      • For using lemon water, take 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and mix that with 1 cup of water.
      • Apply that only on your scalp.
      • Let it sit for 5 minutes or massage it gently.
      • Then rinse off with cold water.
      Water and lemon juice
      Water and lemon juice

        4. Tea Water:

        1.  Tea can improve the quality of your hair by nourishing it and cleaning it without making your hair strip away. There are various kinds of tea that you can use to wash off your dreads such as black tea, green tea, rosemary tea, chamomile tea, peppermint tea, rose tea, herbal tea, etc. All of these teas have nourishing properties, and toning ingredients to reduce multiple hair and scalp problems.

        How to apply:

        • For the application, boil 2 cups of water first on its own.
        • Do not boil the tea along with the water.
        • When the water is boiled, steep 2 tablespoons of tea or 2 tea bags for some time.
        • Then apply the tea water on your dreads just like the other ingredients when the tea completely cooled down.
        Tea water
        Tea water

          5. Oat Milk and Coconut Milk:

          1. These can be a great alternative to shampoo if you want your scalps to be clean, hydrated, and moisturized at the same time. Oat milk and coconut milk can help with scalp irritation and make them dandruff free. They can also be used as a hair mask. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in proteins that help with the strengthening of natural hair and make them healthy.

          How to apply:

          • Take your favorite kind of milk and cover your roots with that.
          • Massage the milk for 5 minutes and apply it to the rest of the dreadlocks.
          • Let it sit on your dreads for 20 minutes, then rinse off with soft cold water.
          • Make sure to completely rinse off the milk to avoid causing any buildup.
          Oat milk and coconut milk
          Oat milk and coconut milk

            Swimming With Dreads: Is It Possible?

            Swimming with dreads is it possible
            Swimming with dreads is it possible

            If you have installed dreads in your hair just now, you should not wet your hair or swim with your dreads yet. New locks take longer to form. So, it is always better to wait until 2 to 4 weeks to let your dreads settle down. However, if your dreads are already past 4 weeks, then it is possible to go swimming with your dreads. However, you need to follow certain considerations before go for swimming with your dreads on:

            1. Try not to wet your hair every time you go swimming if you are a regular swimmer. It Is recommended to wash your hair only once in 7 to 10 days after your new dreads are settled for at least 4 weeks. If you have to swim no matter what, please wear a swimming cap before jumping in.
            2. The pool water has chemicals like chlorine in it to keep it sanitized, and it is not good for your hair at all. If your hair gets wet by pool water frequently, it will make your hair dry and brittle. Before going to the pool, try using a swimming cap. If you do not want that, try doing a high bun so that all the dreads do not soak the pool water. You can also wash your hair with soft water before going to the pool. It will not make your dry hair soak out all the chlorine water since it is already hydrated.
            3. If you are more of a beach person, and like to go to the beach to swim more often, then the good news is sea water is much better than the chlorine water of the pool. But again, the salt can draw out the extra moisture from the dreads, and make it extremely dehydrated. It can also make your dreads stiff. Even though once in a while is considerable, try to avoid swimming with your dreads frequently.
            4. If you are a regular swimmer, then you should follow the aftercare of your dreads strictly. Never forget to wash your dreads after making them wet from swimming. Wash them completely with soft water and a sulfate-free shampoo. Following that use a sulfate-free conditioner to give back the lost moisture from the hair. Use your favorite dread oil to lock the moisture into the dreads and dry it out completely with the methods I have explained above.


            1. How do you shower with dreadlocks?

            If you shower every day, you must wear a shower cap. You should not let your dreads wet every day. If you do not have a shower cap, put a high bun and shower without washing your head.

            2. Can you wet locs daily?

            NO! Washing your hair or locs daily is not recommended at all since it can be pretty damageable to your dreads. You can wash your dreadlocks once every 7-10 days.

            3. How long do dreads last?

            If you take care of your dreadlocks regularly and properly, dreadlocks can last a lifetime. You can keep your dreadlocks as long as you want. You just need to be careful in the first 3-4 weeks of installation to let it form.

            4. Do dreadlocks smell?

            Dreadlocks do not smell if they are cleaned and dried out properly. if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle and clean yourself properly, your locks can create buildups and molds which can leave a bad smell or odor. With proper cleaning and drying, your dreadlocks will not smell.

            5. Is it OK to wash dreads once a week?

            Yes! It is completely okay to wash your dreads once a week. In fact, it is the ideal time you should have between washes.

            Final Thoughts

            Taking care of your dreads is not that much of a difficult task. It is just like how you take care of your natural hair. Just be extra careful in the initial stage or first 1 month of installing the locks. Other than that, you can get your dreads wet whenever you want. But once a week is recommended just to make sure, your dreads do not get dried out and become stiff. You also need to be a little bit cautious while you go swimming in the pool or in the sea. You can wash off your hair with different shampoo alternatives after coming from swimming to maintain the natural glow and moisture of your hair. However, drying out your dreads completely should be the first thing you should do after making your hair wet. You just need a little bit more time and patience to deal with your dreads, that’s all.

            Key Points

            • Do not wet your dreads within 3-4 weeks of installing.
            • You can wet or wash your dreads once every 7-10 days.
            • You should maintain some caution before going swimming in the pool or in the sea.
            • You should always wash your dreads off after swimming.
            • There are various shampoo alternatives that you can use to keep your dreads healthy.
            • Make it the first priority to dry your dreads completely after it is wet.
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