Posted on Leave a comment

How to clean your washing line rope

Clean washing line rope

When spring comes around, it’s time to get the washing line out again. But, is it looking a bit dirty and in need of a clean? Maybe you’ve kept it stored in a dark shed gathering grime and dust, or have you left it out in the winter months? 

To avoid dirt transferring onto your washing, here’s how you can get your washing line rope squeaky clean and ready for those warmer months.

Cleaning PVC washing line ropes

Let’s get the easiest of the washing lines to clean out of the way first. With a PVC clothes line (or any plastic or steel-core clothes lines), it’s a simple wipe down with a tissue or cloth. For tough stains, dampening your cloth or sponge with soapy water will do the trick – otherwise it’s pretty quick and easy to clean down the PVC lines. 

With natural and traditional washing line ropes, it’s a bit different. We will go into more detail about that next.

Cleaning a cotton washing line rope

As cotton clothes lines are made of a fabric material, they need a slightly stronger and more caring cleaning process. When dirt can soak in and stain, it’s no wonder they need a bit more of a helping hand.

What you’ll need to clean your cotton washing line


  • Bucket of hot, soapy water
  • Bleach (2-3 tbsp) or tea tree oil (8 drops)
  • Cup of vinegar
  • Rags, cloths or sponges
  • Protective cleaning gloves

How to clean your cotton washing line rope


  1. Mix together the vinegar, bleach (or tea tree oil) and hot, soapy water in the bucket
  2. Soak your washing line rope in the mixture, leaving it for at least 30 minutes or until you see the water changing colour
  3. Wearing protective gloves, use your rag, cloth or sponge to wipe down the washing line rope in the mixture to remove stains, dirt and grime etc.
  4. Once you’ve wiped and washed the rope, drain the bucket and fill it up with hot, soapy water
  5. Use a clean sponge or cloth to wipe down the rope again, making sure to remove anything that may have been left behind
  6. Drain out the bucket again and fill with warm water
  7. Rinse the rope a few times until there’s no soap
  8. Hang the washing line rope up to dry 

Make sure the rope is completely dry before putting any clothes on it to dry. If you’re using jute clothes lines and don’t want to bleach it, use tea tree oil or a strong disinfectant instead.

You can also put it in a pillowcase or mesh bag to give it a run through the washing machine before hanging out to dry. Putting your washing line straight into the washing machine probably won’t remove deep rooted dirt, so it’s best to follow our method above first. 

How to keep your washing line rope clean

Making sure that your washing line is clean all month long means keeping up with some rope TLC. From dirt build-up to pesky critters, we have a few sustainable ways to keep up with weekly or monthly washing line care.

Preventing insects on washing lines

No matter what the material of washing line rope, there is a handy tip to help keep insects and spiders off them. Use duct tape around the ends of your washing line with the sticky side up to deter or trap any creepy crawlies from getting on your line and into your clothes. 

Keep your washing line clean

For plastic and PVC washing lines, wipe them down regularly to keep them from collecting dust or grime. For traditional washing lines, you may want to do a little soak every so often. But, it may be that they just need a wipe down, too. If any stains build up, that’s when a soak or a more generous wipe will do the job.

Need help deciding what washing line rope to get your hands on? Talk to Rope Source; we’re the experts in all things rope and lines! Contact us here, or call us on 01204 897642

Leave a Reply