SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,593 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have to admit, I've not done this much over the years. Last I recall, I just soaked them in a tub of some concoction and was underwhelmed.

Most of my lines stay aboard, but are covered in the winter, so they stay pretty clean. One set control the adjustable genoa cars and get pretty funky, even in season. The spot they lay inside the track is a collection point for dirt, especially pollen in the Spring.

These lines had gotten stiff, moldy, even black along some stretches. I removed them to buy new this winter. For giggles, I thought I would toss them in the washing machine. It's a front loader, as I'm sure a top loading agitator would wrap them into a knot.

I daisy chained the line and tossed them in one at a time. I used regular Tide detergent and maybe a tablespoon of bleach (influence by the mold). I figured I had nothing to lose, as a few hundred dollars of new lines and splices were sitting in my online cart.

I was amazed how well they came out. Zero dirt or mold. Consistently flexible along the entire length. They look as near new as conceivable, although, I suspect they've broken down somewhat. The outer covering shows a slight amount of fuzz, so they aren't new, for sure. But they don't show any notable chafe. I'm reinstalling and saved myself quite a few bucks.

My only regret is that I cut one splice off, assuming they were being replaced and now I have to redo it. Even though they are a decade old, I believe they are soft enough again to take a new splice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,593 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Interesting experiment. Were these all nylon lines?
Good question. Yes, these two were double braid nylon core. Might have been old Sta-Set.

Forgot to mention, I was also prepared to retrieve a rats nest of knotted line, which I would have tossed. These lines were 70ft long, each. While some of the daisy chain links got longer or shorter, it came back apart pretty simply.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,188 Posts
I haven't tried it, but I have heard you can put lines/ropes inside an old pillow case or similar. Depending on the size of the lines I guess.
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,138 Posts
Somewhere in my past I remember reading that you can clean lines in a household dishwasher. Knots and fraying are not an issue, and dishwashing detergent, supposedly, will not harm the line. I have not tried this, however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,777 Posts
Great method.
I can't see why it would reduce the strength of the lines.
Bleach doesn't affect them so u can use more.
I ran a test program with New England ropes. Bleach DOES weaken them about 3-5% with each use, depending on concentration. The act of washing also typically weakens the rope, depending on age. Overall, the ropes were probably weakened 10-15% by washing, possibly more, depending on age. The effect on newer ropes is less, but still often 5-8%% if bleach is used, depending on the details.

Not sayin' they didn't need washing, just sayin' their is an effect.

Sails are NOT cleaned with chlorine bleach for this reason, and they too are polyester. Percarbonate is used instead. Dishwashing powders use percarbonate. So does Oxiclean.
----
The least damamging method is a LONG presoak, short cycle in a pillow case, and NO bleach. What are we, women? Clean enough is better than weakened.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,593 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I can’t say for sure the bleach was even necessary. I didn’t try a control. I have to wonder if the weakening is impacted by the amount of bleach used. I used only a tablespoon for a load.

In any event, it the only time they’ve been cleaned in 10 years. The dirt and grime were undoubtedly weakening the line too. I’ve never seen a line like this part in the middle, unless it was chafed. I bet the over engineering will likely accommodate the loss. I’m going to redo the eye splices, as they are minorly chafed inside.

I washed one line at a time. If I had two in there, I think I’d prefer the mesh bags for each. Pillow cases can’t allow as much flow and these lines had some real dirt I would presume would be captured inside a pillow case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
I washed my four halyards this fall. I put them in mesh laundry bag, used a half dosage of our regular detergent, and washed them on hot. They came out great. I should have daisy chained them, since they did tangle a bit, but it wasn't too bad.

My halyards are Control DPX from Samson.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,777 Posts
I'm not sayin' I have not washed lines. I have.
* Not often. 5 years.
* No bleach. Long soak, then wash in bucket or pillow case.
* Treat with water repellent like Nikwax. Or don't even bother washing. It REALLY helps.

Heck, probably 80% of the line I have used in the last 25 years has come from the recycle bin. People throw line away because it is dirty, and some of the racers bin it because it was from last year.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,911 Posts
Somewhere in my past I remember reading that you can clean lines in a household dishwasher. Knots and fraying are not an issue, and dishwashing detergent, supposedly, will not harm the line. I have not tried this, however.
When we had our smaller boat I washed the lines in the clothes washing machine. I decided to skip the mesh bag/pillow case step. BIG MISTAKE. I invented one new giant knot (aka a knotted mess).

The lines were wonderfully clean, however. Just a touch of clothes detergent. No bleach. Dishwasher detergent is mostly bleach.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,593 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
One should tie the line into one of these first. No knots after washing for me at all. Some of the links elongated, but that was it. Came right apart.

https://www.animatedknots.com/chainsinnet/

I'm trying to put the new eye splices in this morning, but my fids are on board and my improvised pen cases, etc, are not working well. Looks like I'm ordering a home set of fids. Can't believe how many things I have on the boat and at home. Ugh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
I tried washing my jib sheets in a mesh bag in my top-loading washer, and they came out just as dirty as they went in!

I can see how a front-loader might do a much better job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,187 Posts
I tried washing my jib sheets in a mesh bag in my top-loading washer, and they came out just as dirty as they went in!

I can see how a front-loader might do a much better job.
Washing machine? How about a 5-gallon paint bucket, or they have those 15 gallon Rubbermaid storage boxes. I would recommend carpet cleaning shampoo, as it is designed to not leave residue and to leave synthetic fibers pliable. Also has a grease cutter and an antifungal agent.

Then you can hoist it over a tree limb or haul it up the halyard on the mast, to let it drip dry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,777 Posts
One should tie the line into one of these first. No knots after washing for me at all. Some of the links elongated, but that was it. Came right apart.

https://www.animatedknots.com/chainsinnet/

I'm trying to put the new eye splices in this morning, but my fids are on board and my improvised pen cases, etc, are not working well. Looks like I'm ordering a home set of fids. Can't believe how many things I have on the boat and at home. Ugh.
I tested washing lines secured different ways; whether bucket or machine, the chain sinnet (daisy chain) seemed to best protect the line from damage and allowed it to move around just enough to scrub. It also dries faster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,908 Posts
R&W Ropes has a sale... I bought new reefing lines - 4 of them... from ends... over 200' x 3/8" staset... $80. Good deal...

Old lines will be given to cut up for fender lines... dinghy pennants and so forth.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top