It is possible to wash locks without causing them to unravel — in fact, locks mature faster in the long run if they are washed regularly.
Unwashed hair has an excess of oil and dead skin coating the shaft of each hair. This gunk coating makes it difficult for the individual hairs to knot up, because the hairs slip around each other rather than tangling.
A properly installed set of locks will not unravel or develop any sorts of problems when washed, no matter how soon that may be required. For fragile lock setups such as comb coils, consider using a mesh cap over your head while washing for the first month or so.