Part of your general care for your rope should be a regular washing to get all the grime out. Dirt, sap, oil from your hands, aluminum from running over gear and just general over all grime can shorten the life of your rope. If you check the manufacture website for almost any rope company they recommend washing your rope as it gets dirty. This is also a good time to inspect your rope and make sure it doesn’t have any excessive wear that could be fatal.
Now the question comes, “How do I wash my rope?” I mean this is my life line and I don’t want to damage it. Or shorten its life span. It really boils down to: nylon is a fabric and can be washed same as any fabric, though more care should be taken to keep it from being stressed. To do this you either need a washing machine without an agitator or you have to hand wash in a tub.
I have read in a few places that you can use a mild non detergent soap like Woolite but personally just use whatever “rope wash” the local gear shop is selling at the time. It’s really not that much more expensive, I think I paid $3 last time I bought a packet that was good for one wash. If you have a dry rope, every few washes you have to retreat the rope with some sort of rope proofing, which usually costs around $30. The process is usually the same as listed here but read the directions on the bottle just in case.
Prepping your rope:
- Flake your rope and find the center.
- From the center daisy chain your rope leaving 24”-36” tails at the end. This keeps your rope from turning into a tangled mess
Washing your rope:
If you have a front loading washing machine or a machine without an agitator
- Run your washing machine with no rope or soap in it to rinse out any detergent or bleach residue
- Run your rope through the regular wash cycle using “rope wash” (I throw my rope bag in with the rope)
- I like to run the rope through one more full wash and rinse cycle without soap to really make sure and get the soap rinsed out of the rope
If you do not have a machine without an agitator
- In your bathtub or any large tub that your rope will fit into, Wash your rope by hand using “rope wash” A large laundry room sink works well for this. (I’d wash my rope bag separate with the laundry)
- Thoroughly rinse all dirt and soap residue out of the rope. The water should be clear by the time you’re done.
Drying your rope:
- Flake your rope onto a clean surface laying it as flat as possible, do not do this outside or in direct sunlight. I usually use my bath tub as long as no one needs to take a shower for the next 12 hours or so. Do not put your rope in the drier, let it air dry. Having a fan blow across the rope makes it dry much faster. Rotate the rope every few hours.
- When the rope is dry flake it back into your rope bag, make sure it is completely dry before putting it away or mildew can form.