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  • Washing ropes and webbing

    Hi all. Whats your protocol for washing ropes? Some advocate putting mild detergent, while some have a strictly-water-only policy.

  • #2
    Washing rope

    I recommend using Simple Green to clean your rescue software. You can buy official "rope soap" from the various rope manufacturers at around $36 per gallon. For that price you get about one quart of official "rope soap" in a one gallon jug with instructions to fill with water to make one gallon of official "rope soap".

    Suspecting that this might be a rip off I requested an MSDS for the official "rope soap" from one of the nationally known rope manufacturers. According to the MSDS their official "rope soap" is Simple Green which can be purchased at Walmart a whole lot cheaper than $36 per quart.

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    • #3
      We do just that, simple green water and all by hand. Lay out to let dry. Works and isn't breaking the bank on the "special" stuff.

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      • #4
        Thanks. I'm from the Philippines and we don't get Simple Green here. Right now we just wash our ropes with plain water. Will mild laundry detergent do?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by iancg1 View Post
          Thanks. I'm from the Philippines and we don't get Simple Green here. Right now we just wash our ropes with plain water. Will mild laundry detergent do?
          A very mild detergent, like Woolite. Only if needed.

          Most dirt will easily be removed by water, using a commercial extractor works well. Daisy Chain the rope and toss it in. Dry it in the bay, not the sun.

          If there is contaminates on the rope, there is little need to clean it; petroleum contaminates being most common, they kill the rope and it needs to be placed out of service, cut out the contaminated parts and used for shorter rope/body cords.
          ~Drew
          Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
          USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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          • #6
            From the Bluewater Rope website:

            Protect your rope from exposure to harsh chemicals Do not allow your rope to come into contact with any compounds containing acids, alkalis, oxidizing agents or bleaching compounds. Be especially careful to avoid contact with battery acid or fumes.

            Testing done indicates salt water, acetone, benzene, chloroform, freon, gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, mineral oil, paints and pine oil do not appreciably affect nylon and should not damage your rope.

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            • #7
              After all, your rope IS a petroleum product...

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              • #8
                Huh, always been taught different. Something about petroleum bonding to the nylon in the rope... kind of like velcro?

                Just don't dip your rope in anything dirty. (Take that any way you want to.)
                ~Drew
                Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
                USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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                • #9
                  Good habit to get into, if you haven't already. Have a TOTALLY seperate pair of gloves for rope use. Seems we have gloves for everything now a days but it is nice and that way you keep a good pair of gloves clean as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FiremanLyman View Post
                    Huh, always been taught different. Something about petroleum bonding to the nylon in the rope... kind of like velcro?

                    Just don't dip your rope in anything dirty. (Take that any way you want to.)
                    For sure, good practice to keep the ropes out of anything yuckie (that's a technical term I think). But it is good to question all the information passed along as gospel in this business, especially when turning around to tell it to someone else. Blue Water was probably doing just that. Kind of like the Myth Busters TV show or Jim Kovach's myth busting test years ago regarding stepping on a rope.

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