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Best soaps to use to clean a climbing rope


Original Post
a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65

Hey all,

It's come to that time where I am pretty sure that our climbing rope has to be cleaned. We led in the gym (we've used it outside quite a bit) today and had a ton of black come out of the rope and it is discolored in some places. I would like to give it some love and a good wash but really don't want to ruin my rope. What soap should I use? I have read on several threads and how-to's a soft soap; can you use dawn or should I use a bath soap? Thanks for the help MP community!

Blair

Justin Barrett · · Russellville, AR · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 85

I've used just Dawn soap for my rope. Personally I think dawn is the better choice out of most options due to price. If Dawn can be used to clean an oil spill and penguins, then it can clean a rope.

Just be gentle with scrubbing it if you have to use a brush (from your description, a good hand rubbing will do the trick). Also take your time on drying. I live in a humid state, it takes about 4 days to fully dry here.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Sterlings rope wash is my preference. If you don't have any, run it in a front load washer on HOT. That'll get most of the gunk out.

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65
Justin Barrett wrote:I've used just Dawn soap for my rope. Personally I think dawn is the better choice out of most options due to price. If Dawn can be used to clean an oil spill and penguins, then it can clean a rope. Just be gentle with scrubbing it if you have to use a brush (from your description, a good hand rubbing will do the trick). Also take your time on drying. I live in a humid state, it takes about 4 days to fully dry here.
Thanks very much! I was thinking Dawn but I didn't know if it would eat away at the rope. Then again, that makes sense with using it in oil spills. Appreciate the help!
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

A capfull of woolite in a front loader is the accepted method. If you don't have a front loader and need to head to the laundromat, run a load of clothes first on the off chance the last person to use it was a bleach fiend.

hikingdrew · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 25
Justin Barrett wrote:If Dawn can be used to clean an oil spill and penguins, then it can clean a rope.
I use dawn to clean everything, it's pretty mild (probably more than woolite) and cuts grease..
Josh Triplett · · Bountiful, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 0

I don't use soap, just toss it in the ol' front loader using water to get the dust off.

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

Chain link the rope first. It will be easier to unravel after the wash.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

I just use hot water in a bathtub, no soap. Swish it around by hand and run it through your hands once or twice, it gets most of the dirt out and will leave you with a tub to clean :). BTW as people have said front loaders only if you use a washing machine, no top loaders because of the agitator and tangling issues. Make sure you haven't used bleach in the most recent load.

JK- · · SLC · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58

I've started just using luke warm water, no soap. Rope is almost as clean, and no residue left over (which dawn, woolite, and roap sope from a couple different companies all left).

superflyjt24 Francisco · · Crested Butte, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 75

Done, might I suggest removing the entire thread as I'm sure there are 10,035 existing concerning this topic?

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65
superflyjt24 Francisco wrote:Done, might I suggest removing the entire thread as I'm sure there are 10,035 existing concerning this topic?
Thanks everyone. And sounds good to me, If I knew how to delete a thread I would but I have no idea how to.lol
Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:A capfull of woolite in a front loader is the accepted method.
FWIW I remember reading somewhere that Woolite can damage ropes. Here's the best reference I could find on short notice:

Climbing Business Journal wrote:Even a short 30-minute exposure with mild cleaning agents such as vinegar and Woolite produced significant reductions in the nylon’s strength (13% and 9% respectively).
http://www.climbingbusinessjournal.com/cleaning-chemicals-a-danger-to-gear/
Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 80
DrRockso wrote:I just use hot water in a bathtub, no soap. Swish it around by hand and run it through your hands once or twice, get it most of the dirt out and will leave you with a tub to clean :). BTW as people have said front loaders only if you use a washing machine, no top loaders because of the agitator and tangling issues. Make sure you haven't used bleach in the most recent load.
This is also my preferred method since I live in an apartment building and have communal washing machines. Who knows what the crazy people here put in these things. Plus it's a pretty good workout.

I usually do it several times. Fill the tub, shake a bunch, run it through a rag, rinse and repeat until the water doesn't get filthy after the shake step. I then daisy it and hang it over a door or something to dry for a few days.
mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

One more vote for putting it in a bathtub full of warm water, no soap of any kind.I use a rope cleaning brush like this one: amazon.com/Edelweiss-Rope-B…;ie=UTF8&qid=1483985924&sr=8-4&keywords=climbing+rope+cleaning+brush, it works really well.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,363

If you don't want "bathtub ring" (of dirt and aluminum oxide [from 'biners]) then I use two large plastic tubs, one with the Sterling rope soap, the 2nd with rinse water. Use the rope brush and dry slowly.

The once I used a front-loader washing machine the rope started "sheath slippage" shortly afterwards. Maybe the washing machine was the cause, maybe the fact that rope slippage had different UIAA specifications at the time. (Yrs ago)

wisam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 60

Soap on a

Soap on a rope

Sorry couldn't resist :)
anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

Blair,

You might want to read the user manual for your rope. I just happened to look through mine while cleaning out some papers. Here's what Mammut had to say about it:

Hand wash dirty ropes in lukewarm water or in the normal household washing machine, using the same instructions for wool. A small amount of mild synthetic detergent can be added. Rinse thoroughly and dry it in the shade (never tumble dry).

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65

Got it cleaned. Thanks everyone!

Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 460

I don't want to risk the most important piece of climbing gear, so I don't use any soap.

I'm skeptical of putting it in a washer or in the bathtub because of residue.

What has worked for me for many decades is to use warm water in a plastic storage tub and pull it through a Edelweiss rope brush several times, changing the water between each cycle.

After washing my rope this way, I've had people ask if I bought a new rope.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
djh860 wrote:Chain link the rope first. It will be easier to unravel after the wash.
This^
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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