Your Guide on How to Remove Mold from Your Dreadlocks

Are your dreads smelling like mold lately?

There’s no need to panic as I’ve got just the remedy on how to prevent mold in dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks are great but the dread rot can be a nuisance. If mildew and mold starts growing inside your locs, it will start smelling funny and it can be a total nightmare.

Getting rid of this may be a challenge, but not if you follow our tips.

Does Mold Grow in Dreadlocks?

Here’s the thing – most people with dreadlocks are not even aware that they have this problem. Unfortunately, dread rots are a real thing.

Mold grows in dreadlocks over a period of time when you do not dry or cleanse them properly. This issue is even worse if you have thicker locs as it takes longer to dry them.

What happens when you do not dry your hair completely?

Dreadlocks readily retain moisture. When you don’t dry out the excess water completely, it creates a damp environment. And we all know damp places are breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Your dreads are no different. They are easily susceptible to these nasty growths if you are not careful enough.

How to Know if You have Dread Rot?

Like I said, a lot of people already have dread rot, they just don’t know it. It’s actually quite easy to tell if you have this nasty vegetation thriving inside your locs.

Here’s an easy analogy.

Consider a towel (stick with me here, I promise you it makes sense.) If you just ball up your damp towel and leave it on the floor, it is going to start becoming unpleasant.

The same goes to your dreadlocks when you don’t dry them thoroughly. Now when it comes to your towel, you can throw it in the washer and give it a good wash. But you can’t do that to your dreadlocks.

Instead, your locs will continue to get wet every time you wash it and if you are in the habit of not drying them thoroughly, the unpleasantness will increase over time.

The easiest way to tell if you have dread rots is by the nasty odor they emit when damp (even after a good shampoo wash.) As the molds grow more, you will notice the bad smell even when your dreadlocks are dry.

How to Prevent Mold in Dreadlocks

It may be tempting to cut them off at the first sight of mold, but not so fast buddy! Depending on the extent of mildew and mold growth in your locs, I can actually help you redeem them.

You don’t have to spend a dime doing it, there are actually natural solutions to remove or prevent the growth.

Apple Cider Vinegar

That’s right. It’s as simple as using a mixture of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. To remove the moldy growth permanently, soak your hair in the mixture for a while. If you find that it’s still there, repeated the process again.

Vinegar rinse cleanser is another option. This will penetrate deep into the twisted, dense hair strands and get rid of the mold and the nasty smell.

Clarifying Shampoo

Wash your hair with a residue-free natural shampoo. It will penetrate deep into your locs, removing any build-up from each hair strand. This will let your hair dry much faster.

When you have less build-up, it allows room for air to flow freely through the hair strands.

Dry Your Dreadlocks Thoroughly

When you dry your dreadlocks properly, there will be no damp environment, and no chances of mildew and mold to continue breeding.

To prevent dread rot or to get rid of it, use a hair dryer to make sure it’s completely dry inside and out. Bonnet dryers can be helpful to give your hair more direct heat.

To apply more direct heat into your locs and get results faster, try a heat cap blow dryer. This is a convenient way to blow dry your hair as it leaves your hands free to do other things or just sit back and relax.

How to Get Mold Smell Out of Dreadlocks

Getting the smell out of your dreadlocks can be tricky. You can’t simply spray perfume into your hair and scalp.

What you need is a cleanser. You see, the odor is triggered by the mold and product build up in your hair. So you need to first cleanse your dreadlocks of all the dirt, oil, and build up before you put any fragrance.

What you'll need are warm water, baking soda, & essential oils

Again, you don’t have to buy anything, you will find all the ingredients in the kitchen and your vanity box. The four ingredients you need on how to get mold smell out of dreadlocks is warm water, baking soda, tea tree oil, and essential oil.

The baking soda will gently exfoliate your scalp and locs and turn the solution into an alkaline state. This helps to easily remove foreign elements in the hair.

mix baking soda with water

First, you add a quarter of a cup of baking soda into a jar of warm water. Mix it in properly and start adding your essential oils one by one. Add the tea tree first. This will balance the production of oil naturally on your scalp.

Put anywhere between 5 – 10 drops of the tea tree oil. Stir the mixture into the solution and once you are done mixing it, add your favorite essential oil. I personally enjoy the smell of grapefruit oil but you can put your favorite essential oil.

essential oil

Put no more than 2-3 drops of the essential oil. Make sure you mix it properly. Once your mixture is done, pour it gently onto your scalp.

The key here is to massage and manipulate it directly onto your scalp and locs for cleaning purposes.


Dread rots are something you can easily prevent. It takes a lot of poor care over an extended period of time before they start exhibiting these negative attributes. It will take more than a rushed drying session before you get these rots.

These simple and cost-effective tips on how to prevent mold in dreadlocks will help you to easily fix these problems in no time.

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One Response

  1. Monica Coke December 5, 2020

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