Dreadlocks are stylish and beautiful but require a lot of commitment and maintenance. Dreads are largely semi-permanent. Contrary to what most people think of dreads, they must be managed properly. Many people even think all they need is a loctician that can easily lock dreads, but that’s not true. If you want your dreadlock to last long and be cost-effective, you need to take care of the dread as you take care of your body.

Dreadlocks are matted hair, which has the potential to give bad odors than natural hair. They won’t smell if you know how to maintain and care for them. However, in the normal sense, dreadlocks give off a natural smell which is the scent of your dread and the hair products you use.

 In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about smelling dreadlocks. By the end of this guide, you will understand and learn about all the factors that cause the bad smell of dreads and how you can make your dreadlocks smell good.

Why Do Dreadlocks Smell

Even though dreadlocks smell, not all the smells are bad. Several factors can lead to bad-smelling dreadlocks. This information would be helpful If you are considering doing a dreadlock or you already have one that is smelling.

It is important you understand the cause of the smell. Most of the causes don’t require you to go to your loctician to spend money on what you can fix yourself. Here below are the common reasons why dreadlocks do smell:

1. A Bad Climate

The climate condition of your environment can be one of the reasons behind the bad smell of your dreadlock because it affects the hair PH. The scalp is acidic naturally and can lead to a distinctive odor. This happens because your sweat gland evaporates to your skin surface and produces a mist that will affect your hair PH.

If you are staying in a humid area, you are more prone to having a smelling dreadlock, even if you are washing them regularly. Dreadlocks smell during humid weather because you are more likely to sweat than you usually do. If this sweat remains on your scalp, it can lead to your dreadlocks having a bad odor.

2. Accessories could lead to dread smells.

The kind of accessories you use can also give your dread a bad smell. So, to keep your dreadlock fresh and give you a neutral smell, you need to use accessories like sprays, diffusers, or scented oils. These accessories are recommended because they are effective if you wrap them on your dread.

Using the right accessories also helps to ensure your dreadlocks are not emitting a bad smell even in humid climate conditions. The right accessories aren’t only good in preventing bad smells but also help prevent breakouts and acne. Using them on your dreadlocks can help retain any scent of the accessories you are using.

3. Dreadlocks that have retained smoke

Living or working around places with a lot of smoke like cookouts or bars can lead to the bad smell of your dread. Walking around the area won’t affect dread, but dwelling or working around the area where smokes linger for hours can cause your dread to smell.

One of the signs of this problem is that you will start noticing dark streaks that are appearing in your dreadlocks. The advantage of dreadlocks is that they are better at retaining good smells than bad smells.

4. Use of the wrong hair products.

One of the causes of a bad dreadlock smell is not allowing them to dry properly after washing. And while washing ensures you are using products that retain moisture on them. For instance, ensure you avoid using hair wax because it can lead to hair loss.

Another reason behind bad-smelling dreadlocks is when you mix products that don’t work well or have the same scent together. So, when using hair products for your dread, ensure you use products that match each other.

5. Wash your dreadlocks regularly

This is where most people are missing it. If you can’t do without taking your bath daily, ensure you also wash your dreadlock regularly the way you will do to your natural hair. Don’t wait till your hair starts smelling before washing.

After every workout and work that makes you sweat, ensure you wash your hair because it could lead to the smelly appearance of your dreadlock. But when washing the residue from your body in your dreadlock, wash it in cool water with shampoo and conditioner.

6. Bacteria and infections

The biggest disadvantage of dreadlocks is that they can cause discomfort, but you can prevent this if you prioritize maintenance. So, at least once a week, wash your dread with a shampoo or a natural dreadlock soap to keep your dread hydrated.

You need to understand all these to avoid any bacteria or infection that can lead to pain. But if you choose to leave any infection untreated, your dread will not only smell but will get worse over time.

Most of the bacteria and infections on dreadlocks result from an illness and could lead to a smell. But if you try all these techniques that will prevent all these and don’t work out, ensure you visit your loctician for professional guidance.

7. Moldy dreads are smelly dreads.

Without long talk, a moldy dread is automatically a smell dread. This happens when you wash your dread but don’t allow it to dry. That’s why it is best to wash your dread in the morning because this is what will help your dread to dry before evening.

Leaving your dreadlock to dry is also essential because they can retain moisture better because of their twisted nature. Dry dread will also make you look beautiful and attractive to your gender and the opposite sex.

How to Stop Bad-Smelling Dreadlocks

Knowing the reason behind a bad-smelling dreadlock isn’t enough; you also need to understand how to stop your dreadlocks from smelling bad. Here below are how you can stop them from smelling:

1. Wash Your Dirty Dreadlocks

Regular washing of your dreadlock handles the bad smell it may produce. In this case, you need to have a schedule that will make your dread always clean. Follow your loctician’s guideline on when you should wash it depending on the kind of dreadlock.

You also need to ensure you don’t wash your hair dread too much because too much of everything is bad and dread isn’t an exemption. However, ensure you wash it consistently to wash away buildups and odors.

Generally, no matter the type of dreadlock you have, you need to wash your dreadlocks once or twice a week with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner to help dislodge excess oils and debris in the hair. While washing, you also need to scrub your scalp with Soft Bristle Brush for some minutes using finger pads. This is essential to help reduce and eliminate any buildups or odor.

In addition, if your dreads are short, you don’t really need special shampoo but ensure you are using a residue-free shampoo and wash them the way you would wash your natural hair. And also take your time to scrub each dreadlock to make you wash away all debris and buildups.

If your dreadlocks are long, one of the effective ways to clean them and stop bad smelling is to clean them in a large bowl and mix your clarifying shampoo with cool water.

2. Add Essential Oils to Your Moisturizer

Using an ordinary moisturizer is great, but when it comes to stopping bad-smelling dreadlocks, you need to take your moisturizer to the next level by adding essential oils. This is essential and mostly recommended by opticians because the essential oils will not only wash away all debris and buildup in your locks but also help with relaxation and scalp circulation.

However, before adding essential oil to your moisturizer, ensure you do a skin test from a laboratory because the oils can cause skin reactions such as itching, redness, and swelling. To prevent this situation, ensure you use natural essential oil like coconut oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil.

3. Wear a Headwrap

Headwraps are a great option to consider if you want to stop your dread from smelling. So, if your dread has a smell and you are still looking out for the techniques that will stop the smell, wearing a headwrap can help a lot until you find a solution. This is essential because headwraps help to keep your hair away from dust, smoke, and environmental odors.

4. Try a White Vinegar Soak

If you notice a bad smell on your dread, this is because you didn’t allow the hair to dry; you can use a white vinegar soak to keep things in place. The white vinegar will help kill the mold and the smell it brings to your hair.

To use white vinegar, pour one part of distilled water with one part of distilled vinegar into a bucket. Then pour it on your dreadlocks and scalp for some minutes and allow it to stay in your for a minimum of 15 minutes. After which, you will wash your hair as you normally do, but in this case, ensure your dreadlock is dry without leaving any moisture behind.

If you still notice the moldy smell, you will have to do the white vinegar soaking for your next washing until all the smells are washed away.


The LifeStyle Design Team Includes Many Experts From different walks of life. Every Writer is vetted Carefully. We Strive To put only the best content for our users. As Always, Feel Free To Make Any Comments Or Suggestions.