How Can I Clean My Mountaineering Gear

How Can I Clean My Mountaineering Gear?

Mountaineering gear is an essential investment for any outdoor enthusiast, but keeping it clean and well-maintained is crucial for ensuring its longevity and performance.

In this blog post, we’ll cover how to clean and maintain different types of mountaineering gear, including ropes, harnesses, climbing shoes, climbing hardware, backpacks, and tents.

By following these simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep your gear in top shape and ready for your next adventure.

How Can I Clean My Mountaineering Gear?

When it comes to cleaning mountaineering gear, it’s important to use the right techniques and products for each item.

For example, you’ll need to clean your ropes and harnesses differently than your climbing shoes or hardware. We’ll cover each item in detail to ensure you know exactly how to keep everything clean.

How to Clean Ropes and Harnesses?

Your ropes and harnesses are two of the most critical pieces of mountaineering gear, so it’s essential to keep them clean and well-maintained. To clean your ropes, you’ll need to use a rope-specific cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

For harnesses, you can use a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to gently clean the fabric. Be sure to check for any signs of wear and tear while you clean.

Clean and store your ropes

After every use, you should clean your ropes to ensure they are free from dirt, dust, and debris. Once clean, hang them in a cool, dry place to prevent them from getting tangled or damaged.

Avoid storing your ropes in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as this can cause them to degrade faster.

Tips for cleaning your harness

To clean your harness, fill a bathtub or large sink with warm water and a small amount of mild detergent. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the fabric gently, being careful not to damage any metal components. Rinse the harness thoroughly with clean water and hang it up to air dry.

Do’s and don’ts of washing your harness

DO use a mild detergent and warm water. DO use a soft-bristled brush. DO rinse your harness thoroughly. DON’T use bleach or fabric softeners. DON’T machine wash or dry your harness. DON’T use harsh chemicals or solvents.

How to Clean Climbing Shoes and Boots?

Climbing shoes and boots are an essential part of any climber’s gear, allowing them to grip onto the smallest of edges and make their way up steep pitches. However, all that climbing comes at a cost – dirty and smelly shoes.

It’s essential to keep your climbing shoes clean, not only for hygiene reasons but also to maintain their performance and longevity.

Remove dirt and grime

Climbing shoes and boots can get dirty, especially if you’ve been climbing on dirt or rock. The first step to cleaning them is to remove any loose dirt or debris. Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently remove the dirt.

Cleaning Climbing Boots
Cleaning Climbing Boots

Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the shoes. If there’s caked-on mud or grime, you can use a damp cloth or sponge to help remove it.

Tips for washing and drying

Once you’ve removed the dirt, it’s time to wash your shoes. Fill a bucket or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle detergent. Place your shoes in the water and use your hands to gently agitate them.

Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Avoid using a washing machine or dryer, as the heat can damage the shoes. After washing, rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water.

To dry your shoes, stuff them with newspaper or a towel to help them keep their shape. Avoid drying them in direct sunlight or using a heater. Allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Properly care for leather boots

Leather climbing boots require a bit more care than climbing shoes. To clean them, first, remove any dirt or debris using a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Next, apply a leather cleaner or conditioner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be sure to test the cleaner or conditioner on a small, inconspicuous area first, to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage to the leather.

After cleaning and conditioning your leather boots, allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Don’t place them in direct sunlight or use a heater to dry them, as this can cause the leather to crack or warp.

How to Clean Climbing Hardware?

When it comes to cleaning climbing hardware, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure you’re using the right cleaning products.

Second, you want to avoid damaging the gear in the cleaning process. Third, you want to make sure you’re cleaning your gear regularly to keep it in good condition.

Clean carabiners and other metal gear

Carabiners and other metal gear are the backbones of any climbing kit. They are used to connect climbers to ropes, anchors, and other pieces of gear.

Carabiners and other metal gear should be cleaned regularly to remove dirt, grime, and other debris that can accumulate on them during a climb.

Start by filling the bowl with warm water and adding a few drops of dish soap. Place the carabiners and other metal gear in the bowl and let them soak for a few minutes. Use the soft-bristled brush to scrub away any dirt or grime that has accumulated on the gear.

Rinse the gear with clean water and dry it off with a towel. Make sure you dry the gear thoroughly to prevent rust from forming.

Tips for removing rust from climbing gear

Rust can be a serious problem for climbing gear. If left untreated, it can weaken the gear and make it more prone to failure. If you notice rust on your climbing gear, it’s important to take action right away to remove it.

Start by using the steel wool or wire brush to scrub away as much rust as possible. If the rust is stubborn, you can try soaking the gear in vinegar or lemon juice for a few hours.

The acid in the vinegar or lemon juice can help dissolve the rust. After soaking, rinse the gear with clean water and dry it thoroughly.

Take care of your ice tools

Ice tools are an essential part of any ice climbing kit. They are used to climb up frozen waterfalls and other icy terrain. Ice tools require special care and attention to keep them in good condition.

After a climb, you should wipe down your ice tools with a dry towel to remove any snow or ice that has accumulated on them. You should also check the picks and adze for any nicks or cracks. If you notice any damage, you should replace the pick or adze before using the tool again.

When storing your ice tools, make sure they are dry and free of any moisture. Moisture can cause rust to form on the tools, which can weaken them and make them more prone to failure. Store your ice tools in a dry place, away from any sources of moisture.

How to Clean Backpacks and Tents?

Backpacks and tents are made from a range of materials, and depending on the type of material, the cleaning method may vary. Here are some general tips on how to clean backpacks and tents.

Before cleaning your backpack, make sure you empty all the pockets and compartments. Shake out any loose debris or dirt. Next, remove any detachable straps or accessories and set them aside. If your backpack has removable frame sheets, take them out and clean them separately.

Most backpacks can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Make sure to use a front-loading machine and avoid using bleach or fabric softeners.

For backpacks that cannot be machine washed, you can hand wash them using a soft brush and a mild detergent. Rinse the backpack thoroughly and hang it up to dry. Do not put your backpack in a dryer or expose it to direct sunlight.

Before cleaning your tent, make sure you empty it of all gear and sweep it out to remove any loose debris. Spot clean any dirty areas with a damp cloth or sponge and mild soap. Make sure not to scrub too hard as this can damage the tent fabric.

Read more about Fixing or Repairing Gear If It Becomes Damaged.


Mountaineering gear is an investment, and proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for ensuring its longevity and performance.

By following these simple tips and tricks, you can keep your ropes, harnesses, climbing shoes, climbing hardware, backpacks, and tents in top shape and ready for your next adventure.

Remember to always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and never use harsh chemicals or solvents on your gear.


Can I clean all my mountaineering gear in the same way?

No, different types of gear require different cleaning methods. For example, ropes and harnesses should be hand-washed with mild soap and hung to dry, while sleeping bags and tents may need to be washed in a washing machine with a gentle detergent.

What should I use to clean my mountaineering gear?

The cleaning method and products you use will depend on the type of gear you are cleaning. In general, mild soap, warm water, and a soft-bristle brush are good options for cleaning most mountaineering gear.

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