Climbing slings, lengths of sewn or tied webbing, are critical pieces of equipment that you use every time you go climbing. Slings, an integral part of the climbing safety system, are used to create belay and rappel anchor systems, to reduce rope drag and for quickdraws, and to attach yourself and your rope to trees, chockstones, nuts, and cams.
Slings Get Dirty and Wear Out
Slings, the work horse of your climbing gear rack, get dirty, frayed, wear out, and get damaged by sunlight. You need to regularly inspect your slings for wear and tear. You also need to regularly clean them so they're safe every time you use them.
Clean Slings by Washing
After climbing for a few days, especially in sandy places like Red Rocks, Joshua Tree, and Moab, your slings and webbing get coated in dust and dirt. How do you clean them? You simply wash them.
How to Wash Slings
Clean dirty slings in warm water (best if it's just hot to your hand or about 100°) in a sink or washing machine. Use a small amount of mild detergent and soap. If you put slings in a machine, use the delicate cycle. You might want to put them in a mesh bag to keep the slings from getting twisted on the machine's spindle. After washing, rinse the slings thoroughly in clear cold water. Air dry in a shady or dark place, not in direct sunlight.
Learn How to Store Slings
Read How to Store Climbing Slings to learn how to properly store your slings and webbing and when to retire them from use.