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Old 09-04-2020, 07:16 PM   #1
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Cleaning white docklines

So my dock lines are nasty and need cleaning. What is the best method? Use bleach?

Thanks
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:32 PM   #2
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For the long term, acquire dark-colored lines.
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:43 PM   #3
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I've heard of throwing lines into a washing machine but haven't tried it. Drip dry.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:03 PM   #4
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I've heard of throwing lines into a washing machine but haven't tried it. Drip dry.
No no no.
Don't do it unless you put them in mesh bags first. Tried it once and the resulting mess was not desirable.
Either soak in bleach / detergent or pre package in mesh bags to machine wash. After clean use fabric softener to soften.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:03 PM   #5
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1. Dark colored lines are hard to see on a dock at night. I have dark colored lines so I know. 2. Put the lines in a mesh bag and put in the washing machine with soap and fabric softener.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:06 PM   #6
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We have done the mesh bag with fabric softener too. Helped a bit but not as much as I had hoped for. But it is easy to try it.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:39 PM   #7
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Drag ‘me offshore until clean. Soften by soaking a few days in the kill box with lots of Downy, rough passage to agitate.
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:04 PM   #8
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Tom, I wash my lines in the washer, sans mesh bag, and just sit on the back porch and untangle the mess of lines. Then I just loop them over things for a day until they're dry. With white lines I don't think I'd use bleach, just a good laundry detergent.
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:24 PM   #9
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Do you all think bleach would not be good as it would affect the strength of the lines?
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:32 PM   #10
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Here is a write up on Practical Sailor on cleaning dock lines........
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Old 09-05-2020, 07:33 AM   #11
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No bleach. Woolite, in our case.

We didn't use a bag, but probably would have... had we had mesh bags. Instead, we just made them up for hanging (as from a rocket launcher) as we always do. They do slightly (to mostly) un-make themselves, it can take some work to untangle the lot... but it wasn't ever horrible.

We do use fabric softener, sometimes even soaking in fabric softener in advance of washing... but I think I've seen pro/con discussion about that, too.

We also gravitated away from plain white lines, as we replaced them over the years. We ended up with mostly black (to match our canvas) and some gold. Some colors are less strong than white or gold, but then again we were within the right limits so I didn't worry much about that.

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Old 09-05-2020, 10:51 AM   #12
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Here is a write up on Practical Sailor on cleaning dock lines........
Thanks. Very informative. I think it would be better to replace the lines as they are getting old.

Bottom-line don't wash your lines if you don't need too.
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Old 09-05-2020, 07:10 PM   #13
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We do freshwater soak/rinse for the anchor bridle and at least a saltwater soak with freshwater rinse for the dinghy painter on every trip out - they both see saltwater immersion or beach gunk. Same process but usually a couple times a year maybe for other lines. The dinghy painter just gets so dirty sometimes if I don't clean it it becomes a source of mess after a while. The anchor bridle I fear would get weakened being stored with dried salt crystals over time, so I try to keep it as clean as possible after use (we usually deploy the bridle so half of it is down in the water.) We also try to rinse salt off a lot of our gear regularly, and are quickly heading toward a watermaker to help facilitate keeping the salt off everything on long trip, among other things.

We'd tried the washing machine/soak process and found that the freshwater rinse as effective without being destructive. I recall my one washing machine mess of lines and vowed never again! Although I admit I do stay away from white dock lines...
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Old 09-06-2020, 12:51 AM   #14
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Straight into the washing machine, once a year, with plenty of conditioner. Has worked for over 30 years.

No need to add bleach, not the least that it might affect the rope and reduce it's strength.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:28 AM   #15
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  • Washing machine in mesh bag, set on "Delicate".
  • Woolite or other delicate (PH-neutral) detergent.
  • Drip dry - NO DRYER (I have ruined a set of lines this way)
  • I have tried with and without fabric softener in the wash and for the Liros "Handy-Elastic" lines I use, they actually felt worse with the fabric softener. Liros recommends against fabric softener anyway.
https://www.liros.com/catalog/en/sup...hnische-infos/
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:40 PM   #16
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I wash mine in the washing machine
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:59 AM   #17
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We wash them in the washing machine in mesh bags. I've lost lines to chaffe by not using the delicates bags. We've also hand soaked them in woolite then rinsed them by hand. We prefer the machine.

I wouldn't use bleach. I'd be afraid it would break down the material. The same with fabric softener.
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Old 09-18-2020, 04:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
So my dock lines are nasty and need cleaning. What is the best method? Use bleach?

Thanks
Rope manufacturers have lots to say on this subject. They are all pretty conservative about what you can do to clean without weakening your rope. For the first few years, they advise a simple soak in water for a few hours, and then rinse because the individual fibers of your line still have coatings the manufacturer used to make the rope more flexible and reduce friction. Soaking does not remove the coatings but does dissolve the salts and chemicals that make ropes stiff. Many of them talk about soaking in a bucket then rinsing with a hose. When that doesn't work anymore, they talk about using moderate amounts of MILD detergents -- Woolite or a gentle laundry detergent at half-strength. Don't be concerned so much about looks. The fact is that mildew and algae don't weaken synthetic ropes -- they just look ugly -- but the salts and chemical increase friction and wear, shortening the rope's life if left in place.

Once clean, sane doses of fabric softener can improve flexibility, leaving ropes easier to handle. However, it doesn't make much difference when a rope is near end of life.

Both strong acids and strong bases are a bad idea all around. A high molar solution of Muriatic acid will melt a nylon rope in a few minutes. Soaking polyester ropes for an hour in weak acid cleaners such as Lime Away or Shower Power reduces a rope's strength by as much as 50%, according to Practical Sailor. Since cleaning green stains from your ropes is for looks, why do it since the stuff that does so inevitably damages the rope?

As to cleaning techniques, a plunger and bucket is good. Hot water at household temperatures is fine and will not damage rope, as it is usually below 135F. I soak my ropes for a day in the bath tub and sometimes add Woolite late in the soak, then either use a plunger and bucket or use the soak and rinse cycle of my washer, with no spin. I then hang them in the foyer from the 2nd floor banister (out over tile) and let them drip dry. If this hand-powered action is too much for you, you can use an automatic washer on its gentlest cycle, but unless you coil the rope, daisy chain it, or put the rope in a mesh bag or a pillow case that you can close, you get a tangled mess; worse, sometimes a section in the middle of double braided line will unlay, making that section useless and forcing you to cut the rope. Also, if you don't constrain the rope's movement in some way as described above, you it can break your washer when it wraps and binds the agitator (ignore this part if you have a modern machine with no agitator).

Never put your rope in a dryer! Heat and tangles will not help your cause.

If you can't hang your, fake the line loosely on a flat surface for drying. Don't leave it in a bite -- I like the Navy's shipboard faking method myself, either figure 8 or long fake -- as they maximize exposure, minimize ground used, and prevent getting your line in a bite. It will be easy to coil when it is dry. See page 7-13 in the link below.


http://www.navybmr.com/study%20mater.../14325_ch7.pdf
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:41 PM   #19
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A FRONT loading washer, just in case you were wondering.

Soaking in boat soap for a day before washing also helps a lot.
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:22 PM   #20
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Pressure Washer

I have good success using a pressure washer. Clean one side then roll over to do the other side. This will clean better than other techniques and does not appear to create damage Just don’t use a high PSI machine. The smaller electric one do great.
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