How Often Do You Wash Your Climbing Rope?
Essential piece of your climbing equipment

We could all agree that if you are a climber, the climbing rope is a single and most essential piece of your equipment. However, each route you climb leaves its stain. Whether you want your climbing rope to live longer, make sure to consider all the following tips in this article.

Broadly speaking, whether buying a new rope every time you climb those rocks doesn’t sound appealing to you, then you might consider accepting that your climbing rope needs a frequent wash. Hand washing or machine washing, discover which method is more suitable for you!

Table of Contents

Taking Care of Your Climbing Rope

Before we get into the subject of washing your climbing rope, we should unquestionably mention a few elements you should examine in order to provide your climbing rope with proper care, as that is crucial for your safety. Always keep in mind that climbing rope is interchangeable, and your life is not!

  • Cleaning rope. It is advisable to wash it manually, using water and specifically chosen rope cleaner. Avoid using detergents, bleach, or any other possibly damaging cleansing substances when washing your rope.
  • Storing rope. It’s sufficient to keep your climbing rope in a neat, dry spot. Make sure that you keep it away from direct sunlight or moisture, as it can cause severe damage to the rope.
  • Repairing rope. If a section of the climbing rope that is approaching the end is somehow damaged, you should cut it off with a sharp knife about a little above the damaged region and later use a match or a lighter to melt the cut rope strands. However, if the damaged section is in the middle, you should certainly retire the rope.
  • Inspecting rope. Your climbing rope needs to be examined periodically for any indications of damage. By running your hands along the climbing rope, you can detect if there exists any corrosion or cuts. Also, abrasion indicates the rope will get distorted and thinner quicker, therefore, try avoiding contact with sharp objects. It’s important to state that, especially after a wide fall or after a rockfall, you should check the rope thoughtfully.
  • Retiring rope. You should take caution and retire your climbing rope immediately if you have any uncertainty about its uprightness. Generally speaking, your rope should last approximately 1–3 years if you use it several times each month.

How to Wash a Climbing Rope

Why washing your climbing rope is crucial?

Your climbing rope is going to get stained, notwithstanding your best endeavors to keep it clean. When your climbing rope appears dirty, and you notice your hands turning black from managing the rope, it is seemingly time to clean it. This practice will improve the functionality of your climbing rope, lengthen its lifespan and most importantly, save your life.

Is There Soap for a Climbing Rope?

Considering the most common pieces of advice from experts, you should never be using just any detergent or soap for cleaning your rope.
This statement should be taken seriously as substances in some cleansers could have a negative impact on the quality of the rope. However, if using the soap seems like the solitary option, it’s worth mentioning that you should always choose a dedicated rope cleanser and thoroughly comprehend the instructions on the package.

Keep In Mind

Be aware that soaps are made from tallow or oils treated with a strong antacid. By reacting with minerals found in hard water they frequently leave a film but are extremely sensitive. Detergents are habitually composed of manufactured sources and feature a more profoundly ionic accumulation at the molecular end. They’re considerably more efficient as cleaning instruments, but can be more rigid on the particular materials they come in touch with.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is the most reliable method to clean your rope. You will need the bathtub or a large sink, warm water, Beal Rope Cleaning Fluid, and your climbing rope, of course! Wash the rope as it follows:

  1. The first step is to fill a bathtub or a large sink with sufficient water to reach your entire rope and mix in the chosen rope wash. It is recommended to use a specific rope wash, such as Beal Rope Cleaning Fluid.
  2.  Engulf your rope in the soapy water and leave it be for at least half an hour. Note that the longer it stays flooded, the better.
  3.  Try moving the rope around for a few minutes while it’s inside the water to release the filthiness that lays within.
  4. Release the muddy water and flush the rope with clean water.
  5. Repeat the foregoing process continuously until the water is clean and no more dirt is remaining visible.
  6. Daisy-chain your rope, leave it to dry at around room temperature and never in direct sunlight.

Machine Washing

There is also a possibility to wash your climbing rope in a washing machine. However, machine wash makes the rope texture stiffen, and it can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the rope. Therefore, you should choose this option for washing only as an alternative and do it as follows:

  1. Run a light cycle to eliminate leftovers of old laundry powder.
  2. Daisy-chain your climbing rope to keep it from obstructing the interior of the washing machine.
  3. Wash your rope on a cooling cycle of 30°C.
  4. Use a short spin cycle to eliminate excess water from the core.
  5. Leave the rope to dry at around room temperature and never in direct sunlight to avoid any damage.

Drying a Washed Climbing Rope

Drying your rope accurately is arguably the most important step in this process, and it needs to be performed correctly. There are two approaches depending on your supplies and your location:

  • Outdoors. Without a doubt, the most suitable place to dry your rope is outdoors, only if you avoid direct sunlight. It’s sufficient to dry your rope in a preferred outdoor location where you can spread out your rope for approximately two days.
  • Indoors. This option is suitable for those who do not have access to an outdoor location. Firstly, it is advisable to spread a few sheets or towels out on the ground. Secondly, leave the recently washed rope onto the towel, and don’t disregard to spread out the rope as much as attainable. It may take up to three days to dry the rope altogether.

Remember never to use a heated dryer, as the high temperature may cause severe damage to the rope.

Do’s and Don’ts With a Climbing Rope

Taking into consideration all of the essential points mentioned in this article, we need to summarize the suggestions and warnings. In order for your climbing rope to stay useful for a long time duration, you should take note of the following tips.

Things to Consider:

  • Make sure to be cautious of how you uncoil your rope unless it comes specifically marked that it’s ready for use. Hold it like it is a spool of rope, and have someone assist you to pull the rope from the spool stacking it in a random pile. This will help avoid tangling and knotting.
  • If you notice that your rope is twisted and unusual while climbing, let it hang free and encourage the twist to unwind with your support.
  • Between trips, keep your rope loose in a rope bag to protect it. Climbing ropes should always be stored and transported thoughtfully.
  • Keep it clean! Always try washing your rope in lukewarm water with a very mild detergent.
  • Inspect your rope frequently for any indications of damage and abrasion.
  • Keep your rope away from substances and acids as they can destroy the rope. Be aware that acid damage can be extremely dangerous as it is frequently invisible.
  • Utilize your rope exclusively for climbing and nothing else.
  • Keep a record of how you utilized the rope. It is a good idea to keep a miniature journal of what precisely the rope has gone through.
  • Dry your rope in the covering, and store it in a cool, dry place, making sure it stays out of open sunlight.

Things to Avoid:

  •  Never drag your climbing rope through the dirt. Note that sand and granite crystals can be exceptionally dangerous. They can manage their way inside the rope and severely damage its core.
  •  Never let your rope snag on anything, and arrange it smoothly at belay stations.
  •  Avoid running the rope over abrasive coverings and sharpened edges.
  •  Avoid washing your rope with synthetic soaps or detergents.
  •  Do not leave your rope out in the open sunlight.
  •  Keep your rope away from moisture, as wet climbing ropes are not only more difficult to manage, but they also likewise have less ability to incorporate pressure dynamically.
  •  Avoid rubbing ropes against one another as excessive abrasion can cause so much heat that the polyamide twists in a climbing rope can begin to melt.
  •  Avoid stepping on your rope as you can transfer sand and dirt into the rope interior.

Suggested Articles to Mention

Security is essential when addressing climbing or any other extreme sport. Therefore, it is advisable to understand what are the required tips to consider when choosing climbing gear, and how to toughen your fingers for climbing.

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