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Washing Guide For Climbing Ropes & Gear

April 19, 2023

Rock climbing is one of those sports that require a specific set of gear. Aside from shoes, you’ll also need a harness, rope, and chalk bag. A climbing pack or rope bag will also come in handy.

And like all sports gear, they require regular maintenance – and that includes cleaning them regularly.

How to Wash Rock Climbing Harnesses

how to wash climbing harnessMake a habit of inspecting your harness regularly. For example, it might be time to retire the item if there’s noticeable discoloration or fraying. Its structural materials will degrade over time and your safety is not something that you want to compromise on.

Washing Your Climbing Harness By Hand

Generally speaking, it’s best to wash your harness by hand. Start by creating a bath – fill a large sink or tub with warm water, add half a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent, and wait for the powder to dissolve completely. If necessary, you can speed things up by swishing the water with your hands.

Place your climbing harness in the sink so that it’s fully submerged and let it soak in the water for at least 15-20 minutes. After soaking, use a soft-bristled brush to lightly scrub off any dirt that’s on the surface. Continue until the debris is gone.

Proceed to rinse the detergent away with clean water. Avoid using hot water as that can compromise the nylon fibers.

Once the harness is free of soap, let it air dry indoors, away from the sun. Don’t put it through the dryer as the heat will destroy the materials.

Are Climbing Harnesses Machine Washable?

machine washing climbing harnessMost climbing harnesses are machine washable. To be on the safe side, though, always check the label before washing Assuming that yours can be put in the washer, follow the instructions below:

Place your harness in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase – that will prevent it from getting caught on your other items; it’ll also prevent the metal buckles from getting damaged during the cycle.

Note: It’s not recommended that you wash your climbing gear together with your clothes. Separate loads are best.

Add one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent. Do not use bleach as it can harm the materials, which can compromise the integrity of the harness.

Set the washing machine to a delicate cycle (skip the spin cycle, if possible) and use cold or lukewarm water.

Remove the harness from the washing machine afterward and let it air dry away from sunlight. Avoid using the dryer.

How to Wash Climbing Rope

Hand Washing Your Climbing Rope In a Tub

how to wash climbing ropesFill a tub with warm water and add half a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent powder to create a bath. Place the whole rope in the tub and swish it around gently. You can also pull the length of the rope through your hands, taking the opportunity to inspect it for damage.

Pro-tip: Placing the rope in a mesh laundry bag will help prevent kinks. This is especially true if you’re washing two ropes at once.

After soaking the rope, rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Swish the rope with your hand until the water runs clear. To dry it, you can flake it over a shower curtain rod – just keep it away from direct sunlight.

Make sure the rope is completely dry before storing it away or using it again.

Can You Put Your Climbing Rope in a Washing Machine?

While it’s not recommended that you machine wash your rope, you can do it once in a while.

Place your climbing rope in the washer and spread it evenly so that the weight is properly distributed. Add one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent (a commercial rope cleaner works too) and wash on a gentle cycle (without spin). Cold water is a must as you don’t want to damage the fibers with extreme heat.

active detergentRemove the rope from the machine after the wash cycle is finished and lay it flat to dry. Alternatively, you can hang it up on a drying rack. Make sure not to expose the rope to UV rays as they’ll damage the rope.

Tip: Consider using the daisy chain method when storing your ropes.

Washing Your Climbing Tent

How to Hand Wash Your Tent

It’s best not to place your climbing tent in the washing machine. The agitator can easily tear or stretch the fabric and seams. The same thing goes for dryers; you want to avoid them at all costs.

Rather, you want to wash it by hand with a sponge, mild soap, and some cold water.

Start by saturating the sponge with the detergent mixture (we recommend using ACTIVE Detergent). Holding it in your hand, gently scrub the soiled areas, paying extra attention to the fly and floor.

Do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals.

When you’re done scrubbing, rinse the soap residue away with water and let the tent air dry.

How to Clean Your Climbing Shoes

how to clean climbing shoesThe first step is to fill a large bucket or tub with clean water (lukewarm is best). Do not use hot water; the heat can soften the sole material and melt the glue.

Add a bit of ACTIVE Detergent powder and mix.

Use a small soft brush to brush away dust and dirt from the surface. You can remove any trapped debris by turning the shoes upside down and tapping gently.

Scrub the outside of the shoes with the brush afterward. Pay extra attention to the tongue, sole, and upper as they tend to be the dirtiest. Try not to brush too hard or you can damage the materials.

Rinse the shoes under the faucet and continue until the water is clear.

Finally, let them air dry, away from direct sunlight. You can use a clean towel to absorb some of the excess water.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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