Creative Hair Care 101: What Does Mold In Dreads Look Like?

If you’re wondering “what does mold in dreads look like”, you are in for a treat. Mold in dreads takes a greenish powdery form.

However, they are not identified by sight but by scent. You will understand more about this when you read our article below!


What Does It Look Like?

If your dreads have molded, you will notice it by its scent. It will smell like wet gym socks despite being dry. If you notice discoloration on them, then it may also indicate mold.

Mold in dreadlocks is called dread rot. They are not noticeable until you wash them, and the smell stays even after washing. 


What causes it?

Dread rot happens when you leave your hair wet for too long. The damp environment makes it easy for mold spores to increase in your locks.

Wet hair leads to many things. One of its less intense effects is a bed head.

Here’s an article that may help you with avoiding bed head. It can also help you learn about drying your hair!

The differentiating factor between dread rot and dread build-up is the smell. Build-up does not produce smell because it is an accumulation of dirt. Also, it comes in the form of white powdery residue.

The residue of dread rot is different. If you cut a dreadlock open, you will find a green powdery residue. You will also not miss the smell it exudes.


How To Remove Mold In Dreads

As mentioned before, the smell would help you identify if you have dread rot. However, what can you do after that? We have written two solutions that may help you get rid of dread molds. 


Method #1. Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider is effective against dread rot because of its antifungal and anti-microbial properties. The mold is situated in your locks and not just on the surface. Hence, you will have to rinse your hair with ACV multiple times.

Apple cider vinegar slowly destroys the mold and the conditions which allowed it to thrive. Also, it offers other benefits for your hair as well. It will help keep it shiny and strong.

To do the ACV rinse, you will need a half-cup of raw apple cider vinegar and a cup of pure baking soda. You will also require about two gallons of warm water.

You can also pick out essential oils and mix about fifteen to thirty drops on the solution. Adjust the amount of solution depending on your hair volume. Then, submerge your locks on the mixture for ten to fifteen minutes.

Squeeze and swirl your dreadlocks periodically to remove the mold within the locks. After the ACV rinse, you’ll notice that the solution will have turned murky. That is evidence of the mold removal in your hair.

Perform the rinse periodically to be rid of the dread rot completely. After each rinse, dry your hair correctly and moisturize your hair. Some oils that may help moisturize your hair are coconut oil and castor oil


Method #2. Clarifying shampoo

Another solution to dread rot is using clarifying shampoo specifically for dreadlocks. For this method, you will need a bowl of warm water and clarifying shampoo.

Thoroughly mix the clarifying shampoo in the bowl of warm water. Then, soak your dreadlocks into the mixture for fifteen minutes. 

Massage your hair while it’s soaked. After that, rinse your hair thoroughly. 


Are dreadlocks dirty?

Contrary to popular opinion, dreadlocks are not dirty or unkempt. They require the same care that regular hairs do. Dreadlocks should be washed at least once per week.

Moreover, neglect does not result in a proper loc, like in dreads. A routine is essential in maintaining a healthy and great-looking dread.

A dreadlock care routine involves regular cleaning and moisturizing. It also requires touch-ups and the right products.


Prevent dread rots from happening

To prevent dread rot, invest in a hairdryer. Mold spores are everywhere, and a damp surface like your hair may help it increase. In addition to investing in a hairdryer, it may be wise for you to learn about eradicating mold spores as well.

Having a hairdryer will help your dreads dry faster. This means that you won’t expose your damp hair to mold spores, and mold will not form. 

We also recommend you wash your hair in the morning. Then, sit under the sun to dry your dreads. Protect yourself from UV rays by applying sunscreen. 


How to take care of your dreadlocks

Apart from keeping mold out of your dreadlocks, you have to maintain it as well. For this, you have to choose the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair.

Choose a shampoo that won’t damage your scalp or your dreads. Moreover, choose a conditioner that can restore your hair’s PH balance after shampooing.

After drying your hair, make sure to moisturize it. Also, if there is new hair growth, frequent twisting is essential.



Dreadlocks are lovely, especially when they are well-maintained. Despite the amount of information presented to you above, keeping your dreads healthy is not that challenging.

We hope this article on dread rot answered your question on “what does mold in dreads look like”. Also, take care of your dreads to avoid mold growth.

Leave a Comment