What products and process should be used to clean a climbing rope when it gets sufficiently dirty? How would I remove as much dirt and grime as possible without negatively affecting the strength or lifespan of the rope?
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All the major climbing sites agree on the two options for cleaning, and the subsequent drying:
Wash in cool water (less than 30°C) and use a mild detergent, either in a bath, or in the shower. Some people place it in the shower while they wash. Gentle brushing can help remove grit or sand, but be wary of abrading the strands.
To machine wash, pop the rope in a pillowcase and use a ‘delicate wash’. Some recommend daisy-chaining the rope first to hero keep it tangle free.
Generally treating a rope like a delicate wool article is a handy rule of thumb.
Once washed, hang it indoors, in a dark, cool area, and allow it to dry naturally.