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Rope Care & Cleaning Tips

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life safety rope is an essential tool for rescue operations. It is your responsibility to learn and understand the capabilities and limitations of your life safety rope before using it. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the use, care and maintenance. Always double-check that the specifications of the rope match the intended use.

Keeping your rope clean is essential. Dirt rubbing into and against the fibers of your rope will deteriorate it. Here are some suggestions from PMI for cleaning static kernmantle rope.

Wash it: You can wash dirty ropes by hand or in a front-loading commercial washing machine using cold to warm water with a mild sap. Non-detergent soaps are best, but a mild detergent is acceptable if used sparingly. In any case, the soap used should not contain bleaching agents. Avoid top loading washing machines with agitators because they tangle the rope severely and might even cause damage from friction produced by rubbing of the synthetic rope against the synthetic agitator.

Lubricate it: Ropes may dry out and lose some flexibility as a result of washing. You can prevent this by occasionally adding a little fabric softener (about a cup of Downy Fabric Softener) to the rinse cycle during rope washing. Do not use more than this, or it might damage the rope.

Dry it: Dry your rope in a clean, dry area out of direct sunlight. Avoid: (1) commercial dryers, (2) placing wet ropes on a concrete surface, and (3) exposure to exhaust fumes. For best results, the rope should be laid in a loose coil or coiled around two objects in a low-humidity environment.

Write it down: Remember to record the cleaning on the Rope Log.

Keep it clean: After repacking, store your rope in a clean, dark, dry environment, away from exposure to acids, other harmful chemicals, noxious fumes or other abuse.

NOTE: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, inspection, care and maintenance of your rescue rope. Your life (and the lives of others) may depend on it, so take it seriously.




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