Windshield wiper fluid spilled on rope


Original Post
Nickc Diaz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I overheard some folks at the crag talking about accidentally spilling a lot of windshield wiper fluid on their climbing rope. That got me thinking about what I would do if the same thing happened to me. What would y'all do? Retire the rope, retire it sooner than normal, or proceed as usual?

I've only found one other post like this and figured it could use some updated information.

johnnyrig · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65

What kind? What chemical formula? Was it the good winter stuff full of methanol?
I guess that kind of stuff would be the determining factor for me.

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 5

For 100 odd bucks I'd cover my own ass and buy a new one.

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Retire it. It's not worth the risk.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 0

Windshield wiper fluid is, mostly, methanol. Different formulations will have different concentrations - take a look at MSDS

Methanol will have no effect on either nylon or polyester, otherwise folks spilling those dry vodka martinis on their mid 70s polyester leisure suits would've been naked. Oh yeah - vodka is 40% ethanol, not methanol, but effects on nylon/polyester are the same.

rocknice2 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 2,958

Doesn't windshield washer fluid come in plastic jugs?

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 60
rocknice2 wrote:Doesn't windshield washer fluid come in plastic jugs?
Yup. Just like bleach, draino, and gasoline.
Nickc Diaz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the answers y'all. I feel like I would retire the rope earlier than usual as it seems that the common components of windshield wiper fluid wouldn't do any damage but it is good to be better safe than sorry.

I don't have any of the information asked because this question stems from a conversation I overheard from people I dont know personally. I would imagine it to be winter windshield wiper fluid since I live in CO.

Yes windshield wiper fluid comes in plastic jugs. Is that relevant?

mstolorena · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 95

Water and milk also come in plastic jugs

CTdave · · Victor, Id. · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 190

mmmmm plastic jugs

Dana Bartlett · · CT · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890
rocknice2 wrote:Doesn't windshield washer fluid come in plastic jugs?
Muriatic acid and sulfuric acid are available in plastic containers. I wouldn't put those on my rope.
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40
amarius wrote:Windshield wiper fluid is, mostly, methanol...Methanol will have no effect on either nylon or polyester, otherwise folks spilling those dry vodka martinis on their mid 70s polyester leisure suits would've been naked.
Not many of those folks were taking factor-2 falls onto their leisure suit pant legs though. If it was my rope I'd retire it.
M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,765


Seems like the one piece version would make pretty good climbing attire.
20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

Without testing, it's impossible for anyone to give you a confident answer. Buy two sewn nylon slings, dunk one in the windshield washer fluid, then send both off to the manufacturer and ask them to pull test the slings and compare the results.

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,240

Just wash the rope in some detergent and it should be fine. If you are still concerned, wash it and make a rope rug out of it.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 1,865
Nickc Diaz wrote:I overheard some folks at the crag talking about accidentally spilling a lot of windshield wiper fluid on their climbing rope. That got me thinking about what I would do if the same thing happened to me. What would y'all do? Retire the rope, retire it sooner than normal, or proceed as usual?
Well it's a moot point since it wasn't your rope.

But the main takeaway is that some people need to be A LOT more careful with their ropes. "I think I'll just lay my rope across the intake manifold while I check the fluids. Oh look, I need washer fluid."
Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 0

Call (contact) the company who made the rope and ask them.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Chris Rice wrote:Call (contact) the company who made the rope and ask them.
With near certainty they are going to tell you to trash it. Aside from spilling water on your rope, manufacturers will tell you to retire your gear when it comes into contact with any chemical. It is very likely the manufacturer has no testing data on windshield wiper fluid and dynamic climbing ropes, so they would be taking a big risk advising anything other than retirement.
Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 1,640

Wash your rope with some "Fuck it all", then go climbing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38KtjPBFkX8

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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