A longtime listener recently asked me for advice on cleaning hemp rope. Now, for starters: I am not the expert, I just know experts. So nothing that I say about how I do things should be taken as the right way, just my way. That being said…
OK, for myself, I usually will simply take an antiseptic germ-X wipe and run it across the ropes – I don’t want all the oil to be out of it, you see, but I do want bugs, etc, out of it. I once made the mistake of running it through the washing machine, which wasn’t bad per se, but did take a while for the rope to go back to the same feeling of softness it had before.
Other people have other methods, for example:
If you want to wash it (for example if you have used it as torch rope), use hand warm water and a soft detergent (one for wool). If there is any blood on it, put it for 3 hours in cold water, than wash the rope with hand warm water and a soft detergent. If you want to sterilize the rope, put it in a quick cooking device for about 45 minutes (there is more pressure in it, so the water comes to 145 degree Celsius). After cooking, it could be good to wax it a little bit once more. If there is any colored wax (like candle wax) on the rope, you can use hot water, to soften the wax and pull it away. – The Bondage Project
Or, this one:
Cleaning rope is easy, just chain coil the rope, place it in a pillow case (pick one you don’t mind getting messed up), and wash. Drying is a bit more complicated, synthetics need to air dry for a couple of days, natural ropes handle the dryer fine, but hemp needs to be dried under weight. Natural ropes also need treated with oil (mink oil is common, but you can also use other oils). – Twist of Wyrd
Note- as I said, this changes the feel of the rope – makes it feel more “dry”, and it’s hard to unchain, and also can weaken the rope. The “dry under weight” is absolutely necessary, and if you can’t use mink oil, you can find other varieties at sites like jugoya.com.
Now, your own method may vary…but just about every method I’ve heard of comes down to one of these two. What about you? What do you use to clean rope?
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re: washing in the machine. I do not recommend daisy chaining natural fibers when washing. We like our rope kinky, but not literally.