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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 08-16-2008
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washing halyards / line / sheets

I bought an older sailboat that's in pretty good condition. However, the halyards, lines and sheets are grungy but are still usable. I don't have the money to buy new but would like to wash them and perhaps make them softer. I'll probbly take them to a laundrymat with the big round sideways washers but don't know if one type of soap or a softener is better to use. Need advice.
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I've just used a big bucket and soaked my old lines for a couple of days in water with Joy brand dish soap followed by another soaking with downey fabric softener. Good results.

I'd be a little worried that a commercial clothes washer could chafe and work the lines, causing them to weaken. Good luck.

Hank
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Washing lines in a machine is fine. Use a mild soap. It is best to put the lines in a mesh bag when you wash them.
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use as mild a soap as possible, as strong detergents can harm the lines. Also, don't recommend using a washing machine, since the agitator can damage the lines as well. Best choice would be a big tub or kiddie wading pool.
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Use the washing machine. If the lines are so bad that the washer is going to cause abrasion problems they probably need to be replaced in any event. However, I usually don't see washers with anything but rounded corners, so abrasion should not be a problem.

Put them in something to prevent the spaghetti effect. Either a mesh bag or a pillow case works just fine. Mild detergent, and downy smells nice and makes them softer . Hang them to dry them!
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I have coiled them first and then plaed them in our washing machine.

I do place them in a mesh dive bag as well, then re-coil them and air dry, they even smell all fresh, handy for when you happen to have a sheet in you teeth!!
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have been washing halyards and lines in the washing machine for years with no ill effects to the lines. I put them in mesh bags with an old sock tied around any shackles. hang in the garage to dry. They come out great. you may have to include some old towels in the load to balance it out for the spin cycles.
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Good idea on the old socks, got plenty of them with this dalmation puppy around!

I have been getting away with washing lines in the machine, The Admiral did come unglued when she caught me washing my koi pond filters in there tho!
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Might be wise to do the washing on gentle cycle just in case though.
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True confessions

Years ago, before I knew better I decided to wash the running rigging in the washing machine. Not having the sage advice given above I just dumped them in, put in the soap and let her rip. No mesh bags, no tightly coiled line to interfere with the washing action.

Result: a very clean, multi-colored rat's nest that took hours to untangle.
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