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Aluminum oxidation is usually a white powder.

Practical Sailor had good instructions on washing running rigging. Here is a link (requires membership):
What's the Best Way to Clean Rope? - Practical Sailor Article

Here is the summary: mild detergent, gentle cycle, tie it into a daisy chain and put it in a pillow case (to prevent tangling), don't use a dryer.

I did this with the original halyards that came with my boat after replacing them. The old rope isn't like new again, but it is a whole lot better.
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