I am sometimes asked how I maintain my jute rope. Below is a brief guide of processes I use and/or recommend.
- Either wash by hand, or place your ropes in a pillow case and use a washing machine on a cold cycle with a non biological detergent. The pillow case will prevent any loose fibres from damaging your washing machine.
- Stretch it out across the room/garden (on a dry day). Then add tension to it by dangling a weight at a midpoint.
- Let it air dry.
- Stretch out the rope, pulling the rope through old rope/thick chains/ anything hard and firm, a few times each way. This will pull all the fibres that are in all sorts of directions and mess into one neat direction, smoothing out any kinks.
- De- fuzz the rope across a flame, the one on a gas cooker is pretty good for that (other flames can scar the rope). You might want to put some foil or something over the cooker because the fuzz can get everywhere!
- Treat your rope, as described below.
Warning : washing ropes may affect the strength of the rope and it’s longevity.
- Wipe them down with antibacterial wet wipes, should they be dirty. (But if they’re really dirty and need a wash, use the above instructions).
- A few drops of jojoba oil on an old rag and pass the rope through it, both ways. Add more oil when necessary. This conditions and softens the rope.
- I use a block of beeswax and rub the ropes across that too. This waterproofs the rope a bit.
- Leave to hang (as shown in cover image). This will help straighten the rope. Some riggers store their rope that way.
- New step: spray with a high concentrate alcohol spray (at least 80%). This will kill coronavirus and most germs.
- Tie with it. Rope also responds the the oils in our hands and continued use – which is why sone riggers never condition their rope.
I would recommend treating your rope after several uses or if you feel your rope requires it. This will maintain the longevity and durability of the rope.
Your jute rope will not last forever, sadly. It is a natural fibre that will suffer through wear and tear. Rope will need retiring if it becomes unsafe to use. You should typically look for these signs:
- The stands become thin or weak
- There are kinks that show there may be a breaking or loosening of the twists in the rope
- The strands are unravelling
- The rope is too soft, so that it might break.
Follow the dye manufacturer’s instructions. This generally (but not always) means:
- Mix the dye with the appropriate amount of water in a stainless steel pot.
- Add the ropes in the pot and heat over a gentle flame.
- Leave to soak for several hours, stirring occasionally.
- Wash the ropes as described above. Make sure all excess dye is rinsed away.
- Treat as above.
Jute is a natural fibre so it will dye, but the chemicals may affect the strength and integrity of the rope.
All guidance is based on personal experience, and I accept no liability to any actions you take nor damage caused to your rope. Try these methods at your own risk. Other riggers may have other recommendations.