How to Get White Stuff Out of Dreads: Quick Easy Steps!

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How to Get White Stuff Out of Dreads

How to get white stuff out of dreads? The white stuff in dreads can be caused by dandruff, dirt, bugs, or product buildup. You can remove it in a natural way by soaking your dreads in apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and a baking soda mixture. Wash and thoroughly dry your dreads. 

As much as you love having dreadlocks, keeping them healthy, clean, and shiny for a long time might be challenging. 

Dreadlocks fellas! We all have been through this phase at least once or twice when our locs encounter white buildup that creates the overall look of dreadlocks unappealing and gross. 

Dreadlocks are iconic, and not everyone can carry them.

To help you with extra dreadlocks drama, I have compiled some necessary information regarding white buildup, what causes white buildup, and how to prevent it from returning every now and then.

Make sure you read this article thoroughly for better understanding.

How To Remove Products Buildup From Dreadlocks?

As now you are well aware of the things that cause hair buildup, it’s time to learn how to minimize the flaky, white specks of dreads.

Clarifying Shampoos

The clarifying and residue-free shampoos that help to cut down the chances of buildup have to be on your priority list because a lot of times, due to poor rinsing and creamy texture of ordinary shampoos, the products stay in and cause hair damage. 

As dreads are unique, they require special shampoos as well.  

To help you in this situation, we recommend the 3 best detoxifying shampoos that are available online.

1. Infusium Moisturize and Replenish Professional Shampoo

The olive oil and avocado combination shampoo is everything your dreadlocks need to look clean, healthy, and fresh.

As we already mentioned, the primary reason for buildup is residue on the scalp. 

For this reason, infusium replenish shampoo is the perfect choice as it deeply cleanses your scalp and locs from products buildup and sebum.  

2. Residue Remover – Deep Cleansing Loc Shampoo 

Another highly recommended residue-free shampoo is residue remover loc shampoo. 

It is known for its clarifying properties. This shampoo is a pure source of detox as it contains no vegetable oils or fragrances in it. 

The primary ingredient is apple cider vinegar which is the king of scalp purification.

3.  PURA D’OR Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick

Another exemplary great shampoo with apple cider vinegar as an active ingredient is PURA D’OR apple cider shampoo. 

Trust me, all your dirt buildup-related issues will be solved with this single product. Introduce it to your hair care routine, and thank me later. 

What Causes White Specks In Your Dreadlocks?

The shine of stunning locs gets diminished with the creamy white build-up on the locs, making them look unclean and dirty. 

Here are 5 significant causes of buildup in your locs. 

1. Shampoos and conditioners

The cleaning of dreads requires particular kinds of shampoos and conditioners. The detoxifying shampoos and conditioners are advised for scalp and locs purification as they don’t dry out in hair and cause excess buildup and a powdery substance.

Another reason for white buildup can be poor rinsing of these products. While the dreads stay twisted for most of the time, the products dry up and start to get a flaky appearance.

2. Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the most irritating things our hair can ever experience. Dandruff makes everything worse and awkward, be it regular hair hairdo or dreadlocks. 

Your dry scalp can be one of the reasons for dandruff. 

Though it is not harmful in any way, hair’s itching, and gross appearance is unbearable. 

Ensure you properly dry your scalp after a hair wash day to avoid buildup.

3. Styling Products

Sorry to break this to you like that; styling products aren’t really the best friend of your locs. 

They have specific chemicals in them that cause hair damage, hair loss, and product buildup on your hair. The excessive use of styling products also causes hair whitening, which I don’t think any of us is a fan of, right?

Natural products or brands that actively utilize natural cosmetic ingredients in their items are highly recommended as it reduces hair damage and flaky texture.

4. Sebum

Next on the list is sebum or the hair and scalp natural moisturizer. It is produced from the sebaceous gland. 

Texture-wise, sebum is oily in nature, and when there is an extra secretion of sebum, it causes hair pores to clog and creates a mess.

5. Dust and Grime!

Not washing your hair for more extended periods also causes the worst flaky buildup on the locs.

 Dust particles from the everyday atmosphere affect the dreads, and when not cleaned on time, they may create big trouble.

Some people get away with their hair-cleaning routine through lame excuses of having dreads. Trust me, not having your hair simply allows hair damage, smell, buildup, and in the end, destroys hair health.

Save yourself from the extra hustle and practice weekly hair cleanup and proper rinsing and conditioning. 

6. Bugs 

When there are extreme hygiene issues, many people experience the growth of bugs, mainly lice nit (eggs).

Physically they look like scattered white dots spread all over the dreadlocks. In some cases, lice may become harmful as they multiply pretty quickly. 

However, the use of anti-lice shampoos and bar soaps may give ease and reduce itchiness and lice production. 

How Is Having White Flakes In Dreads Bad For Our Scalps?

If you ask me, having white buildup on locs looks not only dirty but also medically unhealthy.

The overall appearance of dreadlocks is reduced cosmetically. Due to the oily and flaky texture, your dreads are more exposed to dirt and grime. This is why your hair feels rough and dirty even after washing.

Another reason why buildup is terrible for us medically is due to continuous itching and buildup. 

Your scalp might get infections like folliculitis, psoriasis, or hair follicle inflammation.  

Reducing and increasing the chances of scalp infection is in your hand. Make sure you keenly look after your dreads and maintain a clean scalp all the time.

1. Say Bye Bye To Dandruff

As we talked about it, dandruff also creates a little white mess on the dreads. To get rid of this white powdery substance, we recommend you bring in medicated shampoos that you can find easily at marts and pharmacies.

Medicated shampoos or soap bars are made in such a way that reduces the itchiness and dryness of the scalp to a greater extent and saves you from extra hair drama.

2. Nizroral Anti-dandruff Shampoo

Our top pick for the best anti-dandruff shampoo is Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo, as its anti-bacterial and inflammatory properties eliminate sweat buildup, which automatically reduces dandruff and flaky, speckly scalp. 

Bring it home and enjoy a dandruff-free scalp!

3. Natural Styling Products

Another way to end the battle with white buildup is to use natural styling products in place of artificial ones. 

Styling products, when utilized daily, ruin hair structure and suck up essential hair moisture. 

The end to this is dry and rough hair with dreadlocks and tiny white dotted specks. 

There are many brands out there that manufacture product with beneficial ingredients. Do a little research and save your dreads, buddies!

4. Washing, Washing!

Lastly, regular washing- I’m not advising you to wash your dreads every single day but a deep cleaning after every month or twice is necessary to keep your hair healthy and fresh. 

When sebum and other oily buildup appear on the hair surface, it attracts more filth and dirt. 

Free your schedule for deep cleansing and have perfect hair growth. 

Easy Fix For Dirty Dreadlocks

For this DIY you will need a few things:


  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • 3 essential oils (rosemary, tea tree, and lavender)
  • Lukewarm water
  • Wash basin or large container for dreads soaking
  • Plastic cup


The procedure is a bit lengthy but it is worth all the time and attention. Start by filling the sink or container with warm water. Now add vinegar to it and mix it well. Once fully mixed add baking soda to it.

You will see a reaction happening in there; don’t worry, it’s all good! Now, it’s time to soak your locs in the container.

Massage your locs with fingertips or massaging brush thoroughly to make sure all the dirt and buildup are fading out. Keep your dreads in a container for 5-7mintues and then drain this dirty water.

Once again repeat this process and now soak your hair for 6-8 minutes.

After this, again fill the container with warm water, this time add baking soda and lemon with three essential oils to it. Dip your dreadlocks into it and let them be in place for 5 minutes. 

Now give your locs are final squeeze and rinse off your dreads with warm water.

It is advised to not use shampoo at this stage because your hair is already clean. Let them dry completely before going to bed as it will prevent early hair breakage and dryness.

This is how you can detox your dreads easily without creating a mess, good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to clean dreadlocks in a short time?

Cleaning your dreadlocks isn’t a big hustle. Here is a step-wise tutorial.

1. Start by damping your dreads and scalp.
2. Once thoroughly wet, make a solution of apple cider vinegar and baking soda and introduce it to the dreadlocks.
3. Now, take clarifying dreadlocks-friendly shampoo and lather it. Once done, pour it into the scalp and start massaging.
4. Rinse off all the products and apply conditioner away from the scalp.
5. Once all done, give your hair a good rinse with lukewarm water and let it dry completely.

And you are done with a quick dreadlocks cleanup. 

How to increase the life of dreadlocks?

Keeping your dreads live and clean for a long time is easy.
Make sure you cover them in dusty areas, cover them in a silk scarf before bed, maintain a proper washing schedule, and lastly, use styling products wisely. 
And WOLLA! You have your dreads living a great life!

How does apple cider vinegar help in scalp purification?

Hands down, apple cider vinegar is the best detox for your scalp. It helps to deep clean dreadlocks by eliminating the residue product buildup.

Pro tip: always go for shampoos that have a hint of apple cider vinegar in them. 

It’s Your Turn!

They say lots of love, care, and attention can make things right. It is true in the case of dreadlocks as well. Dreads are always high maintenance just like any other hairdo. 

Make sure you provide your locs with a favorable place to grow and nourish.

I hope this article will help you understand why you have white buildup on your dreads.  Loves make sure you practice our guidelines and treat your locs with affection.

If you want us to write more about dreadlocks, don’t forget to drop down your topic of interest. 

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Faith is a seasoned writer and economist. Proud of her ethnicity and delights in helping black women become the best version of themselves. When she isn't working, you can find her with family, reading, engaging in DIY home crafts. You can connect with her on social media at faith.c.ojigbo.