Why Do My Dreadlocks Smell So Bad? (Let Us Help You)

Dont ever feel embarrassed about the smell of your dreadlocks, it’s a common problem to suffer with but one you can easily fix. 

So why do your dreadlocks smell so bad? There can be multiple reasons why they do not smell fresh anymore. It could be down to the products you are using, sleeping with wet dreads and not washing your locs thoroughly enough. 

So check out our tip and advice to help you get rid of that foul smell coming from your hair. 

Products You’re Using on Your Dreads

The products you are using on your dreads can be a considerable contribution to bad smells coming from your hair. When mixing heavily scented hair products, it can cause a terrible smell.  

Although the products on their own smell are great when mixed with another scented product, this can cause problems. With this mixed in with the smell from your sweat from your scalp (everyone scalp sweats without us realizing), this can be a foul smell. 

To make sure this doesnt happen, try using hair products that are scent-free to avoid the mixing of smells. 

close up dreadlocks black

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Wet Dreadlocks

Sleeping with wet dreadlocks is an absolute no-no. The best way to understand what this does to your hair is to imagine using a sponge to clean your dishes, but you can’t be bothered to squeeze it out and leave it sopping wet overnight. 

What happens is overnight bacteria build up in the sponge releasing foul odors and mould will start to grow. When you then use the sponge the next day, it’s wet, smelly, and yuk, this is what’s happening to your dreads when you leave them wet overnight. 

Are You Washing Your Locs Thoroughly?

While it’s an easy task washing loose hair in the shower thoroughly, this is not so easy with dreadlocks as you cant get to every part of the hair that is within the dread. 

It essential you understand how to clean your dreadlocks correctly and regularly. It’s crucial to prevent the build-up of products in your hair as this contributes to foul smells and discomfort from the products. 

The best way to prevent any build up in your hair is to make sure you are thoroughly washing your locs. This means choosing the right shampoo, which is residue-free and to make sure you soak your dreads at least once a week in a mixture of water and shampoo to ensure you soak out any bacteria and dirt. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does dread rot smell like?

Dread rot is said to smell like mildew, mould, sweat and wet dog, all in one. So if you think your dreadlocks are starting to smell bad, especially when they are wet, then you may be suffering from dread rot.

How to freshen dreadlocks

If your dreadlocks are starting to feel a little bit stinky, it might be time to give them a freshen-up. But rather than using harsh chemicals, opt for something natural like essential oils. Not only will this leave your dreads smelling great, but it will also help to promote healthy hair growth.

To use essential oils, simply add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water. Then spritz your dreads lightly, making sure to avoid the roots. You can also add a few drops of oil to your shampoo or conditioner for an extra boost of freshness.

Just remember that a little goes a long way with essential oils, so start with just a few drops and increase as needed. With regular use, your dreadlocks will be looking and smelling fresh in no time.

What is the white stuff in my dreads?

A lot of people have experienced white stuff in their dreads with no explanation. So what really is the white stuff in your dreadlocks? Well, it’s merely a mixture of soap and shampoo residue and dead skin cells.

This is nothing to worry about, just increase your washing routine, which should help eliminate this problem. 

Read Here : Do Dreadlocks Cause Hair Loss?


So know you have seen that although this is a common problem that dread lovers suffer from, you just need to make sure you are choosing the correct products to wash your hair and making sure you are washing your locs thoroughly. 

Did I answer all your worries about why your dreadlocks smell so bad? If you would like to ask another question, please feel free to contact me. I love to hear from my readers. 

Leave a Comment