Cleaning and Disinfecting your Climbing Equipment

Sterling Solid May 26th 2020
Pile of rope

We put together the following recommendations to help answer some of your questions about your ropes and equipment regarding the novel Corona virus, COVID-19 and other contaminates.

Sterling has conducted testing on two disinfectant cleaners and have identified that these two cleaners, when applied properly, do not significantly degrade nylon or polyester ropes. It is important to note that we have not conducted specific testing on the Corona virus or COVID-19 and therefore cannot guarantee that the below procedures will, in fact, eliminate the virus or stop the spread of infection.

Oxivir Five 16 Hospital Grade Disinfectant:

This disinfectant is commonly used in the cruise line industry for disinfecting climbing ropes. Our testing demonstrated no measurable reduction in strength on nylon ropes when spray applied at a 1:64 concentration.

Lysol IC Concentrated Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner:

This disinfectant was tested using a washing machine at a 1:128 concentration. No measurable reduction in strength of nylon and polyester ropes was measured.
Other disinfectants may also be compatible with synthetic ropes however; at this time we only have reliable test data on the above mentioned cleaners. It is the responsibility of the user to identify the safest and most effective disinfectant for your gear.

As with all life-safety equipment, when the integrity of your gear is in question, it is always prudent to replace it. Don’t touch your gear if you believe you are infected or bring it someplace where it may be contaminated.
Use of hand sanitizer before coming in contact with climbing equipment should have no negative effect on your gear.

Washing your rope and gear with Wicked Good Rope Wash is a good way to clean it but it is not a disinfectant. Check out blog post for an in-depth guide on washing your rope.

From the CDC Website: “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Please refer to local, state or federal guidelines for the best practices to minimize the spread of this virus.