In light of the current situation regarding the Covid19 pandemic we recognize that our customers are concerned about how they can stay safe while using our products.
The information regarding the virus and the transmission paths is constantly evolving as the results of research becomes available. At the moment, transmission from objects is not considered to be the main way the virus spreads. However, it is considered possible.1
There are a number of ways to reduce the risk of contracting Covid19 from ropes and other equipment that do not require the rope itself to be disinfected.
Basic hygiene measures:
In order to spread, the virus must come into contact with a mucus membrane. This means that transmission from a rope can be prevented by handwashing or sanitising after contact with the rope and before touching the face. Therefore, in many situations, hand washing after contact with ropes may be more practical than attempting to disinfect the rope itself.
The SARS-CoV2 virus does not survive for a long period of time on surfaces.2 This means that simply quarantining the rope between periods of use will reduce or eliminate the risk of virus transmission. The longer this quarantine period is the more effective it will be. 72 hours will, in most cases, render the virus unviable. Recent studies have shown that when on a surface the virus is sensitive to temperature, 3 this suggests that a warm dry place is most effective for quarantine storage.
Cleaning and disinfection:
If ropes do need to be cleaned and disinfected, then the following methods may be used:
Marlow have always recommended that ropes are washed in pure soap. Based on the current guidance we believe this will be effective at combating Covid19 as soap breaks down the virus’s lipid shell rendering it unviable.4
To wash a rope, immerse the rope in warm soapy water, up to 30 deg C, and agitate well. The rope should be left to soak for at least 20 minutes allowing the soap solution to fully penetrate the fibres. After washing, the rope should be rinsed thoroughly to remove any soap residue. The residue will not harm the rope but may alter the friction properties which could cause unintended consequences in use. After rinsing, the rope should be hung up to dry. Elevated temperatures (greater than 40 Deg C) should not be used to dry the rope.
While wet, a nylon rope will be weaker than when dry and will have less ability to absorb the energy of a fall. Nylon ropes will shrink and become firmer after washing, this is normal.
Normal laundry detergents are not recommended due to the presence of additional chemicals such as surfactants and optical brighteners. If nothing else is available, then detergents can be used as these additives are not anticipated to affect the strength of the rope however, they could cause the rope to be more susceptible to moisture absorption and other minor effects.
Isopropyl alcohol: Marlow Ropes have tested Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) on type 6 Nylon ropes including Static ropes, polyester ropes and HMPE ropes.
In these tests exposure to IPA has been shown to have no detectable effect on the performance. Therefore, it is possible to disinfect ropes with a solution of 70% IPA and water.
This solution can be applied by either dipping the rope into the solution and allowing it to air dry or it can be applied as a spray to the rope surface.
Caution must be taken when using any Alcohol disinfectant.
IPA is highly flammable. Inhalation of the vapour can be harmful. Use only in a well ventilated area and not in the presence of any source of ignition or heat.
Disinfection in this way should not be done on a regular basis as IPA can be absorbed by Nylon fibres and may act as a plasticizer weakening the ropes over prolonged exposure.
Cualquier lavado o desinfección de cuerdas hará que se degraden ligeramente, aunque solo sea por la acción mecánica del lavado. Por lo tanto, el proceso debe hacerse lo menos posible.
Do NOT expose ropes to bleach. This can cause severe damage to rope fibres, in particular the polyester used in in many of Marlow’s arborist products.
Do NOT expose ropes to oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide. These can severely damage fibres like Nylon without any visible indication of harm.
Do NOT use UV lights to sterilize ropes, the UV will damage fibres, in particular UVC used in industrial sterilization equipment can be expected to do more harm than other types of UV.
Do NOT use elevated temperatures to sterilize a rope. High temperatures can affect fibres, particularly materials like HMPEs. As always, if there is any reason to think a rope’s performance may be in question it is best to retire that rope from service.