The biggest and, really, only indicator of dread rot is odor. (If you have discoloration of some kind that you’re concerned about, it is more likely residue build up, or fuzz stuck in your locks than mold.) If your dreadlocks smell like mildew, mold, sweaty gym bag, wet dog, etc. — you probably have dread rot; mold growing in your locks. The smell may only be noticeable to you while your locks are wet, but then all but go away when dry, but any smells like what’s described above it for certain mold growth! If discoloration is your concern, the Wax/Oil Removal Deep Cleanse is a good way to attempt to remove residue from your locks.
The best treatment for dread rot, unfortunately, is to cut or comb out the locks. While it is conceivably possible to kill any/most of the mold that is alive and growing within the dreadlocks, it cannot be removed except by the mechanical means of cutting or combing.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 15 – 20 drops tea tree essential oil
- 20 – 30 drops grapefruit seed extract
- Pour the vinegar, essential oils, and grapefruit seed extract into sink/bucket so the dreadlocks can be submerged in the solution again.
- Submerge dreadlocks in bucket/sink and let soak 10 – 15 minutes.
- Rinse well. Drain sink/empty bucket. (Repeat as desired/you feel is required!)
(NOTE: Amounts may need to be adjusted proportionally depending on the size of the basin you use. Use smaller amounts for a dishpan or bucket and more for a sink. Additionally, white vinegar can be slightly harsh on the scalp. Discontinue use if you begin to feel any burning or unpleasant tingling sensation!)