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General Climbing Discussion

Cleaning ropes

Donut King
5:47:33 PM
this has probably been done to death somewhere.

i've heared various stories of rope-care but i only wash my cord about once a year. nothing too tricky just lots of H20 in the old tub, no detergent/fabric-softner/conditioner or whatever, bit of effort, but its a pain in the arse nontheless.

anyone used the front loder washing machine to give the cord that "fresh" look?

yours in cleanliness


9:03:05 AM
I borrowed a rope brush once, with get success. A cylindrical shaped object with the brushes on the inside. Pops open, you feed the tail of the rope through, close it up. Then proceed to pull the rope (all 60m of it) through the device a couple of times. Strenous work. Oh, yeah, this is done under water, with the rope in the tub. Amazing how much dirt comes out of it. Beal have one for about $25 AUD, although the one I borrowed wasn't a beal, so I can't say how it performs.
1:00:35 AM
I just chuck mine in a top loader with Lux flakes for baby soft results.

12:12:06 PM
I reccomend only using minimal "lux" flakes and loosely "chaining" the rope and putting it thru an extra rinse cycle, and don't spin dry. Dry it on the verandah in the shade, making sure to un"chain" it first and spread it out. I think you can actually buy ropewash these days?

4:08:05 PM
Beal make a specific rope cleaner. it has no phosporous and is mainly coconut oil (to give your cord a great tan?). If used in conjunction with a Beal rope brush or a Dobi rope brush the results are excellent and it has been fully tested to insure that there is no damage to the fibres in your climbing rope. From memory it costs about $20 a bottle and that will do about 6 or 7 ropes. I fill the bath with warm water, add the cleaner and pass the rope through the brush about 4 or 5 time. It proves to be a great forearm workout.

Donut King
4:49:19 PM
It proves to be a great forearm workout.

are we still talking about rope cleaning ???? snigger....

so a few of youse youse give the cord a hand job and hardley anyone uses a mcahine...stuff it its gioing in the machine (after i've flushed it though with clean water to make sure theres no detergent left)


5:56:31 PM
I use the front loader with the rope linked to prevent too much knotting.
Generally use down wash because I have it. Most "gentle" detergents are based on Sodium Laurel Sulphate (derived from coconut oil but lots more toxic, make no mistake).
Rope comes out real pretty but quite twisty, you can use hair conditioner to "loosen" up your rope a bit - it allows the strands to slide easier - same as your hair
10:40:46 PM
I have to admit that I have never washed a rope. I can see that there are cases were you might want to wash a rope but, in thirty years of climbing, I haven't felt the need.
I will happily retire ropes that I am no longer sure of, but I don't wash them

11:33:35 PM
I have washed lots of ropes that I have used caving.
We usually did it (while they were still wet and muddy) by finding a flowing stream, anchoring a belay/abseil device in it and dragging the rope through the device until the rope was clean.
Worst cases usually required a few 'passes' but often only one was enough.
2:55:50 PM
I just throw the ropes in the washing machine all chained up, a small amt of wash powder, spin cycle and all...hasn't caused any probs,...yet

3:31:30 PM
I found that when u chain it, if i doubled it up a few times so it was say 12.5m instead of 50 and then chained it that it disn't get twisty at all. I also do a hot 'rinse' wash in the machine with only water prior to washing the rope to remove all traces of detergent and oil that gets caught up in the machine when only using cold washes.
Coincidentally I just washed my rope last week and it took a few cycles before the water started looking cleanish..

4:47:45 PM
Chaining is a good tip in a tumbling machine, but if you have a very long rope in a small upright machine I have found that the internal spades can rub badly against a rope which is not inclined to rotate within the tub.

I would be wary of using water any hotter than tepid on a rope.

Most rope manufacturers have specific 'care of rope' instructions for their products. Not many (any?) of them advocate detergents or hot water.

5:54:10 PM
Sorry i didn't clearly state that the hot wash was only to rinse out any gunk in the machine prior to cold washing the rope. I'm not sure what temp is recommended when washing ropes and I'm not about to experiment with mine! ;)


5:26:28 PM
hmm just reading this from the ref in the other thread

i think its also worth taking a look at the detergent dispenser if you're keen on using a washing machine, often quite a lot of detergent gets caked up around the feed tray/chute & could get added to your wash if you're not careful. bleach is hella-bad for nylon so i would take concerted measures to make sure you're not giving your rope a bleach bath if you're keen to use the washer, probably worse than any dirt you've got (although traces from the chute aren't likely to be significant, but still worth being careful, esp if some chunks decide to break off).

personally i go for the soap in the bathtub approach, possibly with a scrubbing brush if you like, its a bit more hands-on and a good chance to spend some quality time with your equipment. (ahem and yes i choose to stay outside the bath.. but suit yourself)
5:32:46 PM
I did mine in the top loader recently, with Lux flakes, worked well. Didn't tangle badly, I used the Delicate cycle.

There are 15 messages in this topic.


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