ACV Rinse Recipe for Dreadlocks

ACV Rinse

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No matter how tidy you think your dreadlocks are, we can guarantee that there is lots of residue buildup inside them. Even the most desirable shampoos that claim to be “residue-free”, including the ones that are designed for dreadlocks, often leave residue behind.

Thus, doing a routine Dread Cleanse or Apple Cider Vinegar rinse is important to deep cleaning and removing buildup in your dreadlocks.

In this post, you’ll discover how to wash your dreadlocks with the magical Dread Cleanse. We’ll also share with you the vital things you need to know about ACV rinsing, why you should do it, and how to do it properly.

But first, why should you rinse your dreadlocks with ACV?

Baking soda absorbs oil and residue

Residue buildup is essentially due to ingredients in shampoos that you’re unable to wash out. Another cause would be the sebum or natural oil that your scalp produces.

It’s natural for the scalp to produce sebum. Doing so makes your hair look luscious and healthy. But it can be an issue if there’s an overproduction of sebum and it’s buildup inside your dreads.

Soaking in baking soda water will leave you with a clean scalp and lighter, healthier dreadlocks!

ACV rinse balances the pH levels

Apple Cider Vinegar keeps a balanced pH level on your scalp, which adds to a healthy amount of sebum production.

Prevents mold, mildew, and lice

Apple Cider Vinegar comprises acetic acid, which is a great antimicrobial property. It can kill bacteria and fungus that helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew and lice infestation.

Other Benefits of Using ACV

Listed below are several other benefits of doing an ACV rinse for your dreadlocks:

  • Moistens rough-feeling dreadlocks
  • Tames frizzy and fuzzy hair
  • Boosts hair growth
  • Prevents hair loss
  • Lessens split ends and breakage

Why Should You Do an Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse?

If you are hesitant to use ACV on your hair, here’s something you need to know: Your hair is a two-part construction consisting of a follicle and a shaft.

Just under the surface of the skin are sebaceous glands, which discharge sebum through the hair follicle. This oil greases your hair and skin and is part of the acid mantle.

Your acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film that supports and preserves the overall health of the hair and skin. This can impact the condition of your hair.

Meanwhile, the outer layer of your hair stands, also called cuticle, is composed of tightly bound overlapping scales. The acid mantle is necessary for making cuticle scales lie flat, making your hair shiny and smooth. It also prevents moisture loss.

If you have a bad hair day, it’s often because of your hair’s imbalance pH levels. The acid mantle normally has a pH of around 5, which indicates it is slightly acidic. Several hair care products, treatments, and shampoos are more alkaline (have a pH above 7), which can corrupt or remove the acid mantle.

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dreadlocks

Apple cider vinegar has many benefits. When you dilute it correctly and apply a rinse regularly, you’ll begin to notice some pretty great shifts in how your dread looks and responds.

Gorgeous, Frizz-Free Locs

Apple cider vinegar is filled with nutrients that are excellent for building luscious locks. This includes B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium.

Because it is slightly acidic, it also helps to recover the natural pH of the acid mantle. Exposure to this acidity dries the outer layer of the locs and flattens the cuticle. This results in shiny locs that slide easily and are less prone to tangling or snagging.

Clears Out Product Build-Up

Apple cider vinegar also carries natural alpha-hydroxy acid, which lightly exfoliates the scalp and hair. This is what helps remove dead skin cells and residue buildup. As a result, you have gorgeous dreadlocks that you can style with ease and do not itch.

Restores Balance and Reduces Dandruff

For those who experience dandruff, apple cider vinegar can help you get rid of it. That’s because ACV has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial qualities.

In addition to being antimicrobial, apple cider vinegar is also anti-inflammatory. This property can prevent the skin inflammation that typically happens with dandruff and a dry, flaky scalp.


ACV is also a common home disinfectant. It may help regulate the bacteria or fungi that can lead to scalp and hair difficulties, such as minor infections or itchiness.

Other Claims

Apple cider vinegar is praised for being abundant in vitamins and minerals that are good for the hair. This includes vitamin C and B. Some also claim that ACV has alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps exfoliate scalp skin. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits that can help eliminate dandruff.

Dread Cleanse Guidelines You MUST Follow

Before you start with ACV cleansing your dreadlocks, there are vital things you must do accurately to avoid damaging your dreadlocks.

You MUST follow up with ACV

Although baking soda is very efficient at extracting excess oil and shampoo residue, letting it on your scalp will not do your dreads any good.. And the effects of following up with ACV essentially comes down to pH levels.

According to Wikipedia, pH is a numeric measure used to define the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. In layman’s terms, it shows us how acidic or alkaline a water-soluble element is on a scale of 0-14.

A healthy scalp will vary between 4.5 and 5.5 on the pH scale. Baking soda, on the other hand, has an alkaline rating of 9. Meanwhile, apple cider vinegar has a pH level of around 4.

This means that too much baking soda can imbalance your scalp’s pH levels.

Thus, following the Baking Soda soak with Apple Cider Vinegar can help reduce your scalp’s alkaline pH level and bring it back to normal.

Only deep cleanse 3-4 times per year

Applying too much baking soda or using it too often may result in stripping too much oil and sebum from your hair and scalp. This unnecessary stripping can lead to an overproduction of oils. That’s because your scalp is attempting to balance and restore the oils that you strip with baking soda.

As an alternative, you can use ACV rinse on your locs after your regular hair wash. Although we suggest using baking soda a few times per year to deep cleanse your hair.

Be aware of hard water

Know whether the water coming from your tap and shower are hard water. Otherwise, it can cause greasy and discolored hair strands. When that happens, consider using store bought distilled water. You can also build a rainwater collection system at home.

ACV Soaking vs. ACV Rinsing

You may be wondering whether a simple ACV rinse is enough to offset the effects of baking soda in your hair.

Theoretically, an ACV soak is more effective than a rinse. However, based on the experiences of loc’d individuals, it has always given them better results doing a rinse.

Nonetheless, feel free to take out the water from your baking soda soak. Replace it with new water and apple cider vinegar, and soak your hair for five minutes tops. Otherwise, it can loosen the locks of your dreads.

How to Do a Dread Cleanse

STEP 1 – Gather your materials

  • Wash Basin
  • 3 or more thick towels – the more the happier – trust us
  • 1/4 box of Baking Soda (aka Soda Bicarbonate)
  • About 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 squeezable water bottle, you can use an empty dish detergent bottle
  • For spaces with hard water – heat a large pot of bottled water on your stove

STEP 2 – Prepare the water bottle

  • Fill up a water bottle halfway with Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Put it in your shower before the soak

STEP 3 – Put your towels

  • Roll them up then make it as a neck rest
  • Set a towel within reach to grab later
  • Put your washbasin over the towels
  • Test out the comfort level before you perform to laying in the water
  • You may require more or fewer towels to get your head in the right position
  • Ideally, you would have your head bent back to get as much of your scalp underwater as possible

STEP 4 – Fill your washbasin

  • Fill about halfway with pleasantly hot water – keep in mind to use bottled water instead of tap water if you reside in an area with hard water
  • You’ll have to perform a judgment call of how much water you require based on the size of your washbasin
  • Try to avoid overflow when you set your head in the basin

STEP 5 – Add baking soda

  • You can apply around 15-20% of a standard box of baking soda when you soak your dreadlocks
  • Stir it with your hand – you might feel a flimsy change in the consistency of the water
  • There shouldn’t be any need to apply more than a quarter of a box, baking soda is very powerful

STEP 6 – Soak for 15-20 minutes

  • Arrange a timer on your phone
  • Don’t guess, baking soda is harmful and shouldn’t be used for any longer than required

STEP 7 – Squeeze your dreadlocks

  • When the timer goes off, delicately get up and wring your dreadlocks out into the washbasin
  • At this period, your water should follow a dirty water puddle
  • This is all the grime and shampoo buildup that has been dwelling inside of your dreadlocks!
  • Try to wring out all water so you’re not dripping water anywhere and wrap your dreadlocks with a towel

STEP 8 – ACV rinse your dreadlocks

  • Rinse once or twice with normal water to get more baking soda water out before you apply ACV
  • Then, fill with water the remaining half of your bottle
  • Pour it over your scalp and let it run down your dreadlocks
  • Try to squeeze the ACV in as much as possible
  • Let your locs soak in for 3-5 minutes
  • Wash it out with water and you’re done!

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Recipe for Dreadlocks

Even though dreadlocks are frequently thought of as a maintenance-free hairstyle, all dreadlocks do require to be kept clean.

Due to the permeable and spongy texture of dreadlocks, an apple cider vinegar rinse is suggested about every other month or so as a natural clarifying treatment. The apple cider vinegar rinse is extremely effective at removing away product residue, mold spores, and dirt that may become embedded within the dreadlock.

When the apple cider vinegar rinse is finished, the hair and scalp will be left feeling lightweight and clean.


  1. 1 Gallon of Purified Distilled Water, Spring Water (Alkaline) or Filtered Water
  2. 2 cups of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with or without the mother)
  3. 1/2 cup of baking soda (optional)
  4. Sulfate-free shampoo


  1. Combine 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of baking soda (optional), and 1 gallon of warmed water in a wide basin.
  2. Shampoo the hair completely with a sulfate-free high-quality shampoo (Do not condition). Rinse the shampoo out of the dreadlocks thoroughly. 
  3. Soak your dreadlocks thoroughly in the apple cider vinegar mixture for at least 20 minutes then carefully but completely rinse your hair with hot. Finish it with cold water and do not condition. 

How Do I Maintain My Dreadlocks?

The safest way to maintain the results of your ACV rinse is not to continue doing things that can add to lint, debris, and build-up in your hair.

Some approaches you can start incorporating into your hair regimen include wearing a scarf at night or whenever you’ll risk your hair from picking up dust and dirt.

  1. Pick a lint-free scarf
  2. Shift to dark-colored towels (microfiber towels are best) when you wash your hair
  3. Skip petroleum-based hair care products

Word of Caution

Applying apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse is all about removing buildup and rebalancing your scalp’s pH level. However, you shouldn’t overdo it.

Ensure that the ACV is properly diluted with water as it carries acetic acids, which are known to be caustic. Meaning, ACV can burn your scalp if applied undiluted.

If you know you have skin irritations, do a patch test first before doing the rinse.

And please ensure that the ACV rinse won’t reach your eyes. If it happens, immediately flush your eyes with water and look for medical attention.

Final Thoughts

Science also supports the use of apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse. It could help strengthen locks and improve radiance by lowering hair and scalp pH. It may also keep annoying scalp infections and itchiness at bay.

In some cases, there may be obvious buildup in the basin when the ACV rinse is done. If you do see that you find a striking amount of buildup in the basin, you may want to consider reducing or eliminating the products you use in your hair. Another thing you can do is wash your locks with high-quality, sulfate-free shampoo often.

The vinegar smell will fade as your hair dries. But more than anything else, you must keep your dreadlocks clean.

Everyone’s hair is distinctive. Hence, apple cider vinegar rinses may not be the best approach for everyone. The best way to identify if it’s useful for you is to try it once and see if it works for you.

Get the right fix if you are suffering from any of these?