If you have locs, then you know that they require special attention and care. One of the most common problems that loc-wearers face (myself included!) is lint accumulation. Lint in locs can be frustrating and unsightly, but there are ways to get rid of it (at least a portion of it).
In this article, we will discuss the causes of lint in locs, the best way to remove it, and some frequently asked questions about lint in locs.
Is it normal to have lint in locs?
Yes, it is normal to have some amount of lint in your locs. However, if you notice an excessive amount of lint or if you see new lint forming, then it may be a sign that you need to adjust your hair care routine.
What causes lint in dreads?
Lint can be caused by a number of factors. Imagine that your dreads are like little strands of velcro. Lint, and other things, love to attach themselves to your hair.
The three most common culprits are:
- Your towels: Traditional towels shed tons of lint. If you drying your locs with one of those, your locs will be covered in lint before you know it.
- Your bedding: Your bedding has a lot of lint! Sleeping without a silk or satin cap or pillowcase is a huge mistake because your locs spend the entire night rubbing against your sheets.
- Your clothing: Clothing made of cotton and wool produce the most lint. Be mindful of the clothes you’re wearing when your locs are hanging loose, and especially during the winter months. I have several scarves that shed fibers like crazy, and if I don’t put my locs in a bun, I reap the consequences of it later.
If you use heavy products in your locs or you’ve never done a loc detox, then they’re more prone to excess buildup. As a result, they may attract dirt, dust, and other debris, as well as cause lint to accumulate.
How do you get lint out of dreads?
Removing lint from your locs can seem like a daunting task, but here are the best solutions:
- Use a shampoo comb, a soft boar bristle brush, or your fingers to remove lint from the surface of the loc.
- Use a pair of tweezers or a crochet needle to remove small pieces of lint from the inner part of the loc.
- Use the tip of a rat tail comb to gently tease out any remaining lint.
If you mess up the structure of the loc a little bit or made your locs fluffy in the process, tuck the loose hairs back into the loc using a steel crochet hook (0.75 mm works best for me).
If there is excess lint stuck inside your loc, it’s going to be really difficult to remove it without undoing the knots, which would be counterproductive to your locs maturing properly.
In this case, I’d focus on removing the small amount of lint that can be seen on the surface and putting into practice some of the tips (mentioned below) to prevent lint in the future.
How do you prevent lint from getting stuck in your dreads?
Preventing lint buildup in your locs is the best way to avoid having to deal with it in the first place, right?
Here are some tips on how to keep lint out of your dreads:
- Cover your hair: Since a lot of lint comes from our bedding (sheets, blankets, etc), the easiest way to keep lint away is to cover your locs with a satin bonnet or silk scarf when you sleep. You can also use a shower cap or bandanna to cover your hair when you’re out in dusty or dirty environments (or if you’re in a pinch, use a plastic grocery bag).
- Keep your hair clean: Wash your locs with a residue-free shampoo once a week to prevent any product buildup and stickiness.
- Use a lint-free towel: When drying your hair, use a microfiber towel or lint-free towel to avoid transferring lint onto your locs. Microfiber towels absorb a lot more water than traditional towels, so it’s a win-win!!
- Avoid heavy products: Using heavy products like wax or creamy conditioners can attract and trap lint in your locs. Stick to lightweight products and natural ingredients like grapeseed oil, coconut oil, rose water, and essential oils to moisturize and nurture your locs. Click here for 39 DIY all-natural recipes that’ll revitalize your locs!
- Do a dread detox: Every six months, consider doing a deep cleanse on your locs using natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar and baking soda. This is super effective for removing any product build-up that may be attracting lint. Click here for my deep dread cleanse recipe!
- Be mindful of new lint: Regularly inspect your locs for new lint accumulation and remove it immediately using a pair of tweezers or a crochet hook. Tip: Lint is easier to see in the sunshine, so commit to spending 30 minutes a week in the sun and do a quick inspection.
By incorporating these habits into your hair care routine, you can ensure to keep the lint at bay.
Frequently asked questions
Can lint damage locs?
While lint itself is not harmful to locs, the accumulation of lint can lead to excess buildup and product residue. This buildup can weigh down your locs and make them look dull and lifeless. Additionally, if you do not remove lint from your locs, it can attract dirt and debris, which can lead to other hair problems.
Does brushing locs remove lint?
Brushing your locs with a soft boar bristle brush can help to remove surface lint, but it may not be effective in removing deep lint buildup. Over-brushing your locs can lead to damage of the loc structure itself and hair breakage.
What is the white fluff in my locs?
The white stuff that you see in your locs is generally a combination of lint, product buildup, sebum, and dandruff. In this article, you can learn all the possible causes of the white things in your locs and how to get rid of it.
Remember, buildup is your hair’s enemy. Some of the main causes come from common haircare products you find at the store. Click here to learn which ingredients are on the no-no list for dreads.
Is it mold or lint in my locs?
Mold in locs is a common consequence of excess moisture inside your dreads, usually as a result of not drying your locs properly or unhygienic practices.
Lint, on the other hand, is usually a combination of hair fibers, product buildup, and debris.
Will dying locs cover lint?
Dyeing your locs doesn’t necessarily cover up lint buildup. In fact, dying your locs with chemical-based dyes can damage your locs significantly, so it’s not worth it and certainly not something I recommend.
Does washing hair remove lint?
Washing your locs primarily just cleans dirty hair. It won’t remove the lint buildup in your locs, especially if it’s been accumulating for a long time.
On the other hand, using a deep cleansing shampoo or clarifying shampoo can help to reduce excess buildup and prevent lint from sticking to your hair in the future.
What dissolves lint?
Unfortunately, lint does not dissolve.
Nevertheless, apple cider vinegar is a great natural hair cleanser that helps to dissolve product buildup and promote healthy hair growth. It can be easily applied as an ACV rinse.
To make a batch of this DIY rinse, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with water in a bottle. If this is too strong for you, you can dilute it a bit. Try half a cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with two cups of water.
After you’ve washed your hair, apply the ACV water onto your locs and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. You can leave it in and allow it to air dry, or rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water. Warning: Your hair will smell like vinegar until it dries completely.
If you’re in the early stages of your loc journey, I recommend using apple cider vinegar only once a month since the vinegar will loosen the knots and hinder (or slow down) the locking process.
Dealing with lint in your locs can be frustrating, but it’s a common consequence of having dreadlocks. The good news is that there are plenty of solutions available to combat the problem, from using natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar and essential oils to investing in the right products and tools, like a pair of tweezers and crochet hooks (my personal favorite).
I hope these tips help you combat and reduce the lint problem. If you’ve discovered a better method of removing lint, please let me know in the comments below!