The main way to extend the lifespan of a climbing rope is via cleaning. Or, probably repurpose an old rope to enjoy its new look. How to clean a climbing rope is the main topic of this article. It also includes all the steps to wash a climbing rope.

If it’s the end of the climbing season and it’s hard to get hold of the rope without the entire palms getting completely grey, it means it’s bath time. Note that laying the rope on the floor, running it via belay devices, and stuffing it into the climbing bag will add grit.

And a clean rope will belay smoothly, wear on the climbing gearless, look prettier, and last longer, but most people will overlook the need for washing the climbing rope. 

Cleaning the climbing rope is a straightforward process; it will only take a day or so to dry, and you can get back to climbing.

how to clean climbing rope

How to Clean a Climbing Rope

Step 1: Put Water in a Tub

Once you decide to wash your rope, grab the detergent, rope, and head to the cleaning area. Pour enough lukewarm water in the bathtub that is adequate to cover up your climbing rope and add a tiny amount of the detergent. 

It makes it mildly bubbly, not at bubble-bath level. Some detergents are not advisable, so be cautious about the detergent you are using. You could follow any instructions given to ensure the rope doesn’t wear or tear up. 

Step 2: Plop in the Climbing Rope

After preparing the bathtub with soapy water:

  • Submerge the dirt, gnarly, and dust-filled climbing rope in the tub.
  • Gently swish it around in the tub and allow it to soak for about one hour or more.
  • Keep in mind that the more you let it sit in water, the better it will allow the soapy water to penetrate the rope properly. 

Step 3: Stroke it Clean

Stroking the rope to clean is the only technical step in the entire endeavor. You hold one end of your climbing rope and start to flake it as you rub every area as you move towards the other end. 

Of course, you have to stroke the climbing rope. It’s a step that provides you with a great chance to assess the health of the rope, checking on soft or weak spots that signal that it’s time to get a new one. 

How to wash and clean a climbing rope

As you run down the length of your rope using the hands, you tend to get rid of the most dirt off your sheath.

If you come across dirtier areas or a sap point, you can gently scrub the spot with a sponge. Also, it’s okay to make use of a rope brush to remove the most disturbing grime. 

After all that, you can now agitate the climbing rope using your hands, and the most dirt will rinse off. Spend around five minutes swirling it as you move the rope around within the bubbly water to loosen the scrubbed grit within it. 

Tip: While rubbing the rope using your hands, it’s advisable to be gentle and careful. The sheath is a bit rough, and your skin might end up with blisters. You don’t have to use much effort to squeeze; take your time and go slow on it. 

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

After all the technical work, it’s time to drain the dirty water and replace it with pristine water for rinsing off the dirt. 

Repeat this process until the water is clean. After you run your hands all through from one end to the other one, you can give it one last-minute rinse. It leaves the sheath psyched. 

Step 5: Dry Completely

how to wash a climbing rope

Now, this is the most critical part of this process. After the rope has had a deep-cleansing treatment and confirmed that the soap residue is no longer there, it’s time to dry it thoroughly. The drying process starts with flaking it out over a shower-curtain rod or a towel. 

So, you should drape the climbing rope over a section of chairs, railing, or loosely flake it out the climbing rope onto the tarp on the floor or ground or any drying apparatus present.

While it’s drying, you should make sure that the drying area is off direct sunlight as UV radiation is known to weaken ropes in the long run. 

Make sure you shuffle the climbing rope around after every 10 hours to expose the damp spots to the air. For the string to fully dry, it takes about 24-48 hours, but it all depends on the humidity and temperature of your location. 

Now, it’s time to marvel at the rejuvenated and refreshed rope! Though its color might not get its initial vibrancy, it will resemble a lot much better than earlier and handle it well, too.

Step 6: Storage

After the rope is completely dry, the last step is storage. If you are not going for outdoor climbing, it’s critically essential to store it properly. 

The most simple and common way to keep a climbing rope is in your rope bag. The bag will serve two purposes: it offers a handy method of storing the rope when not in use and keeping it off dirt while climbing. 

how to wash climbing rope

Go Climb!

It’s time to go climbing with a nice, clean and fresh rope again, get it out, and put it into work. After the washing process, you now possess a rope that looks like a renewed version of the younger self. 

The climbing rope is the lifeline of your outdoor activities such as rock climbing; therefore, always keep it clean. 

Note that the dirt and grime in your rope would lead to poor performances and reduce the handling traits; it leaves it less flexible and stiffer. However, you should follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions during cleaning, assuming you are using a machine. 

Following the suitable maintenance regime allows one to maintain the rope’s structural integrity and lifespan, so washing it will potentially save its life and yours and the wallet. 

Now it’s time to go out climbing with the freshly cleaned rope until the next time you get to bathe it; however, you shouldn’t wash it all the time. And if your climbing rope has to be cut, read our specific guide on how to cut a climbing rope.

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