I can tell you from personal experience, smelly locs are not the business. I came across the issue of “sour” smelling locs on a loc Facebook page and the person was seeking help dealing with this issue. First, in order to deal with locs that may have a sour odor, we first have to deal with why it occurs in the first place. In the beginning of my loc journey I was showering without a plastic cover on my head allowing my hair to be drenched with water. During the day, it wasn’t too much of an issue because my hair was shorter at the time and it would dry fast and I never noticed any odor. But eventually as my hair got longer, smelly locs occurred especially when the summer came and I would shower in the morning and at night. Late evening I would go to bed with damp hair and sometimes covered my damp locs at night with a scarve. The next morning, my hair had a foul stench. This is what they call “Dreadrot”. This happens when you leave your locs damp too often. The symptoms include an unpleasant smell, particularly after a wash. Now, this is not the death kneel of your locs, as it can be corrected. But, if you continue to keep your locs in a damp state too often, each time you wash your hair, the odor will reoccur. The worse case scenerio is mold in the locs as well as a discoloration due to the mold in your locs. At that point, you may have to cut your locs off. If you notice a sour, wet sock smell to the locs, mix some baking soda, apple cidar vinegar and soak your locs in the mixture. It should knock that odor right out. Here’s the mixture:
1 cup of ACV (Bragg’s (ACV) Apple Cidar Vinegar with the Mother, is the best) to six liters of water with 1/2 cup of baking soda for the mixture. Add some Tea Tree Oil and let your hair soak and use a cup to rinse over your hair. Use residue free shampoo and be careful overloading your hair with heavy pomades and leave in conditioners. Use natural oils as opposed to synthetic oils. Please don’t go to bed with damp or wet hair. Use a dryer after you wash your hair especially if your locs are long. Sit out in the sun after a wash if possible as the sun is a natural purifier.
I hope this is helpful because I didn’t know about “Dreadrot” and I wish I did because it can be embarrassing and like it or not, it doesn’t bode well for the loc community as there is unfortunately, still a stigma attached to locs and cleanliness. I do see locs becoming more mainstream and acceptable. Those of us who decided to embark on this loc journey, let’s do it with pride and knowledge on how to care for healthy beautiful locs.