How to Clean Dock Lines

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A dock line is a rope that ties a boat or watercraft to a dock. The rope is made out of either nylon or polypropylene. These are the materials of choice for dock line because they do not stretch, and that is an essential feature of dock line. Ropes should be cleaned as needed to remove dirt, mold and mildew. Another reason people like to wash dock line is that it helps to soften the rope, making it easier to tie. When cleaning dock line, it's important to never use bleach, as bleach can weaken the rope.

Items you will need

  • Laundry detergent or liquid dish soap

  • Sponge or soft-bristled brush

  • Fabric softener

In a Bucket or Tub

Fill a bucket or a bathtub with room-temperature water. Add 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap or laundry detergent per gallon of water.

Place the rope in the soapy water. Allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Use a soft-bristled scrubbing brush or sponge to remove all dirt, mildew and mold from the dock line.

Rinse the rope under cool running water to remove all soap residue.

Rub liquid fabric softener onto the rope using your hand if rope softening is desired. Allow the fabric softener to sit on the rope for 15 minutes. Rinse the rope under cool running water to remove all residue.

In a Washing Machine

Set the washing machine settings for the smallest load possible, cold water and regular wash cycle.

Place the appropriate amount of laundry detergent in the washing machine. Add fabric softener if desired. Place the dock line in the machine and start the washing cycle.

Remove the dock line from the machine when the cycle is completed. Allow the rope to air dry.