It's necessary to wash dreadlocks at least once a week and to dry them thoroughly. Protect the dreadlocks when sleeping and when exercising, using a hat or bandana.
When washing dreadlocks, use a shampoo that does not leave any residue. Apply the shampoo to the scalp, and massage it. Allow the soapy water to run through the dreads to cleanse them. In between washings, clean the scalp between the dreads with a cotton ball soaked in toner.
After washing dreadlocks, blot with an absorbent towel, and finish drying them thoroughly with a blow dryer. This prevents the formation of mildew in the tightly locked hair.
Every three weeks, twist or palm roll the locks. Palm rolling involves taking each lock between your palms and rolling it in a clockwise direction. This helps the locks stay tight. Likewise, if locks start fusing together, rip them apart, and palm roll them back into their original shapes.
For more mature locks, twist them when you notice new growth. Start at the base of the lock, not the scalp. Twist clockwise toward the scalp, and use a hair product, such as gel or hairspray, to lock the new twist. Use a clamp to secure several dreadlocks at once. Hair should be completely dry before twisting.
Cover dreadlocks with loose fabric, such as a hat or bandana, before exercising so they don't become too sweaty. Use a similar tool, or even a pillowcase, when sleeping to protect the locks.