9 Tips on How to Clean Quickdraws and Other Climbing Gear
A photo of clean quickdraws attached to some climbing rope.

We all know that the cleaning-gear bit of any extreme sport is probably the least existing thing about it. However, it’s not like we can avoid such activity. Of course, it’s absolutely the same with rock climbing. In order for your climbing adventure to go smoothly, your equipment will have to be up to the task. Therefore, you’ll, among other things, need to know how to clean your quickdraws!

Let’s stick to that last sentence. If you’re a beginner climber, you might wonder: should quickdraws be cleaned in a special manner or something? Needless to say, you’re about to find out everything about the process. Also, we’ll expand the cleaning tips to cover the other pieces of your average climber’s gear. Stay tuned!

Take your quickdraws apart. Fill a bucket with warm water & chemical-free soap combo and put your carabiners inside. Let them soak for a bit. Utilize the old brush you were about to throw into the trash. Once you’re done, rinse them and let them dry out. Once that’s over, spray the mechanism using WD-40. 

Now, of course, that’s only a summary that can’t really satisfy the curious folks better known as our readers. We got that one right, didn’t we?

What are quickdraws?

Okay, so before we continue our little talk about ways you can clean your climbing gear (and especially quickdraws), let’s focus on answering some basic questions surrounding the topic. First of all, it’s best we tackle this one: okay, so what exactly are quickdraws?

Here’s the thing: we’re talking about one of the most important pieces of your climbing equipment. Period. Climbers use these items to attach their rope to certain pieces of protection while they’re lead climbing. You’ll easily recognize a quickdraw since it consists of two carabiners that are connected with a sling made out of textile.

Since we’ve mentioned ropes, here’s an article about what to do with your old climbing rope.

What are quickdraws used for?

We’ve briefly mentioned the way they’re used, but let’s further elaborate on how is this piece of climbing equipment utilized. Before we get into it, know that quickdraws differ from regular climbing runners. Here are their main attributes (which also differ them from regular climbing runners):

  • The material that’s used to connect the two carabiners we’ve mentioned earlier is something you’d call semi-rigid. It’s clearly not as complaisant or flexible as the open loop of regular webbing (click here to see if is it stronger than a regular rope). This allows climbers to clip their quickdraws in a faster manner. 
  • The carabiner that clips to a rope (better known as the gate) uses a particular orientation that also allows faster clipping to a climbing rope. 

It’s not surprising at all they’re called quickdraws, right? Right. Anyway, let’s see if there’s anything we’d like to mention before we delve deeper into those cleaning tips we’ve promised at the beginning.

How long do quickdraws last?

For our last introductory segment, let’s talk about how long quickdraws last and when’s the right time to replace them. You’ll want to know that the average lifespan of quickdraws is about three to five years of regular, moderate usage. However, you can prolong that period by replacing the sling every now and then, assuming, of course, that your carabiners are in solid condition. Lastly, you definitely shouldn’t utilize quickdraws once they’re damaged or worn out, or if their dogbones/slings are more than a decade old since that’s considered downright unsafe.

Alright, so now that we’ve discussed some basic info concerning quickdraws, it’s time we dig deeper into the main dish for today: 9 tips on how to clean quickdraws and other climbing gear!

A climber in a red jacket using quickdraws.

9 Tips on how to clean quickdraws and other climbing gear

Without further ado, let’s see those tips!

#1 How to clean quickdraws?

First things first, take your quickdraws apart. Next up, fill a bucket with warm water and add some chemical-free soap to it. Put your carabiners inside and let them soak. Grab an old toothbrush you’d rather never use again and scrub the spring, pusher, and gate on your quickdraw’s carabiners. Afterward, leave them to completely dry out (usually, it’ll take about an hour or so). Lastly, spray the mechanism with some product such as WD-40 (or a silicone spray lubricant) and make sure you shake off the excess lube.

#2 How to clean a climbing harness?

Once you’ve read the lines above, you might’ve asked yourself: okay, but what about the sling? The reason why we’ve left out the sling in the paragraph above is that you should wash your sling in the same manner. Okay, so here’s how that’s done:

  • Of course, the first step is about filling a bucket with mildly warm water (not hotter than 30°C/80°F). Dunk your harness and sling inside. 
  • Next up, you’ll want to add a small amount of some mild dish soap (such as diluted Dawn or anything similar). Completely avoid using a detergent and makes sure you always give the user’s manual a read before doing anything. 
  • Remove the items from the bucket full of what became dirty water and gently rinse them. 
  • Now fill the container with clean water, dunk the items in and rinse once more. 
  • Lastly, allow your climbing harness and slings to air-dry. Keep in mind that you should absolutely avoid drying them in direct sunlight. 

If you’re wondering if one is able to fall out of a climbing harness, simply click here.

#3 How to clean a climbing rope?

Needless to say, your climbing rope might be the most important piece of climbing equipment (we might’ve said the same thing about quickdraws, but please don’t mind). Anyway, your rope is the thing that’s keeping you from falling straight to your doom. But, let’s steer clear of unfruitful pessimism.

Wash the rope in the tub with water and some climbing rope cleaner. Using a regular detergent is a big NO-NO. Once you’re done, it’s time to air-dry it. Use a big tarp and place your rope on it in a way that it doesn’t overlap and that’s about it!

#4 How to combat smelly climbing shoes with DIY deodorizer inserts?

No one likes smelly climbing shoes, right? That’s why here we’ll show you how to make your own DIY shoe deodorizer inserts! Before we start, know that it’s pretty inexpensive and easy to make it. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need:

  • a pair of dress socks. 
  • some corn starch. 
  • some baking soda. 
  • a large bowl or a bucket.
  • lavender and/or tea tree oil. 
  • ground coffee (not necessary). 

And here’s how you’ll make it happen:

  • Mix equal parts of corn starch and baking soda inside a bowl. Add some coffee grounds if you want. Sprinkle the whole thing up with some 3-5 drops of the aforementioned scented oil. Mix the whole thing up and scoop the mixture into the socks, tying off the top. Once you’re done, place them into your shoes, and that’s that!

If you’re looking for more tips on rock climbing shoe clean-up, follow that link.

#5 How to clean your climbing helmet?

And here’s a little step-by-step guide on how to clean your trusty climbing helmet:

  • First, you’ll have to remove any dirt or oil, or mud you find on your helmet using a soft brush. 
  • Next, fill your sink with warm water, just enough to cover your climbing helmet. 
  • Pour some hand soap into the water and give your helmet a bath. 
  • Rinse it with clean water and dry it as much as possible using a towel. 
  • Let it air-dry, away from the path of direct sun. 

Also, if you’re wondering whether a bike helmet can be used for rock climbing, click right here.

#6 Don’t utilize a high-pressure water sprayer

This one has something to do with cleaning your belay devices. It’s very important to avoid using a high-pressure water sprayer since it can easily remove lubricants and harm joints. That’s it!

#7 Cleaning your chalk bag

You can’t get away with not cleaning your chalk bag. Here’s what you’ll need to obtain for the process: warm water, soap, and a sink or bathtub (depending on how big your sink is).

The first thing you’ll want to do is to remove everything from the chalk bag. We’re talking tape, chalk brush, chalk, etc. Fill your sink or bathtub with enough water to cover the item in question and pour some hand soap into the mixture. Naturally, the next thing you’ll do is hand wash your trusty chalk bag both inside and out, then dry it as much as possible using a towel. As was the case with your climbing helmet, let it air-dry out of the path of direct sun. Also, make sure you don’t store it while it’s still wet.

#8 Avoid using harsh chemical products

It goes without saying that you should only use household face and body soap. This stands for all your nylon climbing gear. Other cleaning solutions such as solvents or stain removers are too “powerful” and will damage the material.

#9 Did we mention grip trainers?

Okay, you probably won’t see a lot of folks cleaning their grip trainers so often, but keep in mind that you should clean them at least once a year. Your dirty hands are the ones gripping it constantly, so…

Depending on the material they’re made of, you can typically utilize the hand soap & warm water combo. However, if the device has a lubricant, be careful in order to avoid touching and messing with the lubricant.

At the bottom of the climb – a conclusion

Alright, that’s about it for the how-to-clean-quickdraws-and-other-cleaning-tips topic. Hopefully, now you’re well aware of the fact that your climbing gear needs to be kept in top condition in order for you to feel safe. For more tips on climbing, climbing gear, and everything that’s even mildly related to climbing, please feel free to visit this page.

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