Natural ropes. Aren’t they just great?
Soft-to-touch, with a traditional sandy-brown appearance. Strong, yet biodegradable and kind to the environment. They can be used for a wide range of practical and decorative purposes and it’s easy to understand why they’ve become one of our most popular products, here at Ropes Direct.
But do you know how to look after them?
Just as the name suggests, natural ropes – such as jute rope, manila, flax hemp, sisal etc. – are made from natural fibres (typically taken from a plant). As such, they’re much more susceptible to environmental factors and will need proper care and attention to maximise their lifespan. Here we offer a few top tips on how to keep them in optimum condition.
Keep them dry
All of our natural fibre ropes are hygroscopic. That means, they can soak up water and moisture very easily. In fact, jute ropes can absorb up to 34% of their mass in water – without even feeling wet. And, as a result of this property, they shrink whilst wet and are vulnerable to water damage and rotting.
With this in mind, try to keep your natural ropes dry at all times. For indoor applications, this shouldn’t be too difficult. But for outdoor applications, it can be a little trickier.
The best option is to place the rope under a shelter (where it will be protected against the elements) or store it away after use. If this isn’t possible, you will need to account for the shrinkage by adding 10-15% to your required length. It’s also a good idea to put the rope in situ and leave it for several days. This allows plenty of time for the shrinkage to occur naturally, before you secure it into place.
Clean them regularly
One of the main benefits of natural rope is its pleasant, natural appearance. But to keep it looking nice – whether used indoors or outdoors – it will need to be cleaned from time-to-time.
Vacuuming is a quick and easy way to get rid of any surface dust. To tackle stubborn dirt and stains, we advise using a mild soap and cold water to wash the rope by hand. Once you’ve covered the full length, rinse it well and leave it to dry naturally (away from direct sunlight).
It’s important to note, you should never use a washing machine, tumble dryer or strong cleaning chemicals (e.g. bleach) to clean natural fibre ropes – as these can damage their structure, strength and colour.
Store them correctly
Finally, to get the most out of your natural ropes, you must remember to store them correctly.
Folds should be avoided as much as possible. If stored for a long time, these will be retained by the natural fibres – making the rope more difficult to work with in the future. The best method is to create a loose coil. This can then either be stored inside a rope bag or hung over a large wall post.
Natural ropes are typically resistant to UV light and heat. But, to keep them in prime condition, you should also aim to store them in a dark, cool, and dry place (with a humidity level below 65%).
Contact the ‘natural rope’ experts
As a leading online stockist of natural ropes – here at Ropes Direct – we have excellent knowledge in this area. And our team of experts are always on hand and happy to help in any way they can.
So, perhaps you have a question about natural fibre ropes and the best one for your needs? Or maybe you’d like further guidance on how to care for them correctly? Whatever your query, you’re welcome to get in touch at any time. Either give us a call on 01692 671721 or send an email to [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can with more information.