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Old 06-06-2017, 09:06 PM   #1
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How to clean dock lines?

I have several double braided lines that are stiff as a board? Any suggestions on how to best clean and soften them. They are in very good condition other that this.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:09 PM   #2
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Greetings,
I'd like to know as well. I've tried detergents and fabric softeners without much success...
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:15 PM   #3
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I have asked this question of Yale before and they suggested a simple rinse with fresh water only.
They suggested that fabric softener is a bad idea and should never be used with lines...
Just passing on what I was told,
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:21 PM   #4
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I've never tried, but I've been told to throw our salt-encrusted lines in the washing machine with just water. Run them through a cycle and see what happens.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:22 PM   #5
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I clean my lines all the time. Just lay them out on the dock and hose them off and let them dry. Works fine.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:24 PM   #6
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I tried running through the washer with Tide and Downey softener and again with just Downey. They are somewhat better, but still awfully stiff.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:52 PM   #7
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I have put mine in the washing machine many times. They often come out severely twisted, but always soft and clean. I have never tried detergent or softener on them.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:18 PM   #8
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Throw a few at a time in the washer, I put a double dose of liquid softener and they come out nice and soft and smell right Purdy. Then hang em on the railing to dry out.

At least that's how I do it.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:48 PM   #9
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We wash ours in the machine at the end of each season with no detergent and no spin and they come out clean and soft, although I did have a snag once. But we're in fresh water. YMMV.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:39 PM   #10
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Synthetic lines have a lube in the interior strands that reduces friction and heat when the lines are stretching. Washing with soap and other laundry products makes them nice and clean, but greatly limits the life and reduces their breaking strength.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Synthetic lines have a lube in the interior strands that reduces friction and heat when the lines are stretching. Washing with soap and other laundry products makes them nice and clean, but greatly limits the life and reduces their breaking strength.
Good points...especially when nylon looses up to 25% of its strength when wet and also looses strength when heated during cyclic loading.

I remember from my climbing days that ropes should never be around fuels because even the fumes could damage them. There are even special felt pens and tapes for marking climbing ropes. It's always surprised me that boaters aren't aware of how these things can weaken their ropes, particularly nylon rodes or snubbers.

I'd contact the rope manufacturer directly.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:20 AM   #12
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Due to my being afraid of my wife, I have only put my dock lines the washing machine once. Now I put them in a 5 gallon bucket at the dock with a little boat soap. I agitate them a lot and then rinse them the same way a half dozen times.

I recognize that it is NOT the best way to treat the lines. However, my dock lines will never break from heat and strain. They have only needed to be replaced due to chafe.

My new system for my home docklines appears to have solved any chafe issues and at the end of the summer will wash them in a bucket (no soap this time) in a bucket of fresh water. During the fall, winter, and spring, the docks lines that are suspended between boat and dock get regular rain water rinses.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:34 AM   #13
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Stiff dock lines I've come across are from salt crystalizing inside. I doubt that a wash cycle in a machine is long enough for the crystals to all melt away. I suggest you coil them loosely and toss them in a tub or bucket large enough to soak them in fresh water for a few days. Change the water a few times.
I had a salvaged piece of anchor rode from a commercial boat that was so stiff you could stick a piece straight out 6 feet before it would bend. I used it as an example in rope and knot classes. Some idiot (me) left it outside in the rain. A couple weeks later I discovered my error but by that time the salt had melted away and the rope had gone flexable.
Another reason they could be hard and stiff could be because they have been grossly overloaded. Highly doubt this would be the case unless you had really stressed them due to high wind and wave load at the dock. Then the ropes should be replaced, no softening them is going to help.
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Old 06-07-2017, 04:10 AM   #14
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Mix alot of fabric softner with water in a five gallon bucket., let soak for 4-5 days. then throw them in the washing machine, they come out soft, clean and ready to go. Got this trick from my Dad, he has been doing his dock lines like that for years and it works great. Have not seen anty damage to the line from this method.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:42 AM   #15
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We've run ours through the washer over the years, with and without soap and fabric softener... with and without the extra pre-soak cycle... Almost all the available options have always worked, but usually we've gravitated toward one dollop of soap and one of fabric softener, with pre-soak, and with extra rinse and high-speed spin-dry.

BUT... one brand of lines (Sampson) is always much stiffer than the other brand (New England).


BTW, doesn't hurt to wrap those suckers separately, but even then, they usually all end up tangled up with each other...

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Old 06-07-2017, 08:19 AM   #16
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Soak in a large tub of plain water with a few drops of blue Dawn for a day then squirt down. Blue Dawn can fix anything.
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:40 AM   #17
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I've had good results with green or dirty lines by soaking them in bucket using laundry detergent and Oxyclean. Soak for several hours and stir a few times. Rinse by hosing off with a strong spray. I also cleaned the main cover from the sailboat we just sold using the same mix. It came out amazingly cleaner. A bucket wasn't big enough so I used an aluminum canoe for a wash tub. Oxyclean seems to be the secret elixir.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:58 AM   #18
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Soak mine for a few weeks in water with Joy dishwashing soap, several rinses over several days in fresh water, then several weeks in fabric softener.

Soap and water breaks down salt and dirt over time, then it needs to be soaked / rinsed out. This works well for maintaining lines. Have never had great success at restoring totally abused lines.

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Old 06-07-2017, 11:21 AM   #19
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Has anyone soaked lines in a solution of Salt Away or similar product?
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:47 AM   #20
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I put them in the washing machine (it has no center agitator)
add some Sea Solve (like salt away) let the machine fill with water and sit for an hour Then do a gentle wash for 15 min and put it on hold for an hour and then start it again with extra rinse with a high speed spin
My lines are 20 to 50 feet long and 3/4 inch so I place about 2 in at a time
Do it every 2 years and try not to drop the lines in the water at all times
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