Dread Detox Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Deep Clean Your Dreads!

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Are your dreads feeling a bit lackluster lately? It may be time for a dread detox! You’ve certainly heard of the term “dread detox” before but may not know about it in detail. It’s a tried and tested method for deep cleaning your dreads, but with so much conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know where to start.

In this article, we’ll clear up all the confusion and give you the lowdown on dread detoxing. From the basics of what it is to the different methods available, you’ll learn all you need to know to give your dreads a much-needed deep clean.

What Does It Mean to Detox Your Dreads?

Before we jump into the cleansing process of dreadlocks, it’s important to first understand the term “detox” and its importance. Detox refers to the removal of impurities and unhealthy substances or elements, which can prove detrimental to your dreads over time. Through this process, we can ensure your locks stay in their best shape, both internally and externally.

What Is a Dread Detox?

A Dread Detox is a process of deeply cleansing your locs with an acid (such as Apple Cider Vinegar) or base (like Baking Soda) to remove unwanted or unpleasant product buildup, sebum, dirt, and odors. Your locs will benefit from a thorough detox that will remove build-up, invigorate your scalp, and restore natural shine to your locs. With regular detoxing, your locs can remain healthy and hydrated, helping you to maintain the perfect balance.

Do You Need to Detox?

Dreadlocks are an easily maintained hairstyle, but if you’re not careful, hair products like shampoos, gels, and wax can create a build up that negatively affects the look and feel of your dreads. This residue accumulates over time, resulting in a slippery and coated feeling, even after using a clarifying shampoo.

It can even lead to the dreadlocks acquiring an unpleasant dirty brown or ashy color, and eventually weighing down your hair.

Another important fact to understand is that your scalp naturally produces a substance called sebum which, while advantageous for your scalp and hair, can lead to product build-up over time. This build-up is more likely to accumulate and remain in dreadlocks because the small, tight locks provide less opportunity for the residue to be washed away in regular hair washes.

Although using a clarifying shampoo can help to prevent build-up, it can be a challenge to remove the existing residue. This is when a dread detox comes in handy! A dread detox helps to make sure that your dreads remain refreshed, healthy, and free from excess product build-up.

Step-by-Step Guide to Deep Clean Dreads

If you’ve made the decision to give your dreadlocks a much-needed detox, then you have come to the right place! The most common dread detox solution is a rinse composed of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Fortunately, you can get professional results at home with just a few easy steps. Read on to find out how to do a dread detox rinsing safely and effectively!

1. What is the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse or Dreadlock Rinse?

Baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of sodium or sodium bicarbonate) can help draw out residue and product build-up from your dreads, making them easier to rinse and wash. But it’s important to note that baking soda is very basic on the pH scale, with a rating of 9.

As a result, it can strip your hair of its natural oils and throw your scalp’s pH level off balance, as the pH of the scalp is usually between 4.5 and 5.0. Therefore, it’s important to use caution when using baking soda on your dreads.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the ultimate hair care solution! Rich in vitamins B and C, ACV is packed with essential nutrients that can provide nourishment and health benefits to your hair. Not only does it inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria, but it also helps to balance the pH level of your hair.

By mixing baking soda and ACV, you create a mixture that produces salt, water, and carbon IV oxide, which helps to neutralize the baking soda and bring the pH of your hair back to its normal range. With its natural antifungal and antibacterial properties, ACV is the perfect solution for healthy and beautiful hair.

2. Ingredients Needed for the ACV Rinse with Baking Soda

Here’s all you’ll need to make your dread rinse:

1) A sink or basin half-filled with comfortably hot or warm water
2) ¼ cup of baking soda
3) ¾ cup of apple cider vinegar
4) A tablespoon of lemon juice
5) About 5-7 drops of lavender oil (or substitute with rosemary essential oil or coconut oil)

Don’t forget to stir the mixture thoroughly so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the water.


Fill a basin or sink with warm to hot water. Add ¾ cup of apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda to the water and stir until the mixture gets fizzy. For a pleasant scent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and 5-7 drops of lavender essential oil. Stir the mixture with your fingers or a large spoon to combine all the ingredients. Enjoy the natural, refreshing scent of this easy-to-make cleaning solution!

3. Soak Your Dreadlocks

Now that your dread detox mixture is complete, it’s time to start detoxing your locks!

  1. Position yourself as comfortably as you can for the full 20-30 minute dread detox soak. Many prefer to do their dread detox in the sink, however if you have any back, neck or comfort issues, it’s better to place a basin on the floor and lay on your back while you soak your dreads. Doing this will ensure you’re comfortable throughout the entire process.
  2. Place your head in a sink or wash basin and submerge all of your dreads in the mixture. Take a cup and scoop up some of the mixture and slowly pour it over your scalp. Massage your scalp gently to loosen up any residue and make sure it is completely clean. Repeat this process for a few minutes until you feel your hair and scalp is completely clean.
  3. Find a cozy spot, sit back, and relax for the next 20-30 minutes. Set a timer to keep track of the time as you let your dreadlocks soak up the moisture. Enjoy the peace and quiet while you wait for the perfect amount of time to pass.
  4. Once time is up, use your hands to gently work the mixture into your dreads. Squeeze from root to tip to get the rinse out of your hair. Depending on the amount of product build-up, the color of the mixture can range from light brown to deep brown. If the water is very dark brown, this indicates that you may need to repeat the process to remove more buildup for optimal results.
  5. Once you feel like you’ve removed all the unwanted buildup from your hair, rinse it thoroughly with warm water in the shower or sink. Make sure you’ve worked through all the strands for a complete cleanse. Once you’re done, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Clarify and Deep Condition

In the final stage of the detoxing process, you’ll need to complete your regular hair routine. Start by washing your dreadlocks with a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup that has been dislodged from the rinse. Then, use a deep conditioner to help restore moisture and oil to your hair, which may have been stripped away during the detox process.

For an added boost, you may also want to incorporate a hot oil treatment into your dreadlock routine. Doing this will help to ensure that your dreadlocks look and feel their best.

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Dreadlock Detoxing

Detoxing your dreadlocks doesn’t have to be a stressful experience – but it can be if you don’t know what you’re doing. To help reduce the chances of a hair disaster, take the time to read and follow the dos and don’ts of dreadlock detoxing. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your dreadlocks remain in optimal condition while avoiding issues like dry hair, an irritated scalp, and more.


  • For beautiful dreadlocks, make sure to always deep condition your dreads after a detox.
  • Don’t forget to follow the dread rinse recipe exactly as documented for best results.
  • For optimal maintenance, we recommend detoxing your hair 2-4 times a year or whenever you think your dreads need it.
  • With regular deep conditioning, your dreads will look and feel their best!


  • Take care not to let your dreads sit in the rinse for longer than the recommended time as it can cause serious damage to your hair.
  • Additionally, do not detox your dreads more than four times a year, as over-exposure to baking soda can be detrimental to your dreads. Protect your hair and keep your dreads healthy by following these tips.

What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Dreadlock Detoxing?

Do you want to detox your dreads but are unsure if it’s the right decision? Here we list the pros and cons of this process to help you make the best decision for your hair.


Detoxing your dreadlocks is an excellent way to remove product residue build-up, prevent the growth of mold and mildew (e.g. dread rot) and to combat split ends and tame frizzy hair. The apple cider vinegar in the dread rinse helps improve the overall appearance of your dreadlocks for a beautiful, healthy look. So go ahead and give your dreadlocks a detox today – your hair will thank you!


Due to its harsh ingredients, this can be very damaging to your hair, potentially stripping away natural oils and leaving it feeling dry and brittle.

Final Thoughts

So, if you’re looking to restore the health of your dreads, a dread detox might be the perfect solution for you. Not only can it help you achieve healthier looking locks and improved scalp health, but it can also help reduce odors and frizziness. Now that you know all about it you can surely give it a try.

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