Dirty deck lines

Warren Beverung, of Cary, North Carolina, asks:

"I’ve been getting my Sabre 38 back in shape after it weathered some recent hurricanes, and I’ve noticed a lot of mold on the running rigging, particularly on the lines that go across the deck. What’s the best way to clean the lines and minimize the chance that they will grow mildew in the future? I don’t want to put them in anything that might damage them."

Win Fowler replies:

First soak the lines in warm water with a mild detergent like Woolite; use the proportions recommended on the container. The longer you can let them soak in this solution, the better. In many cases this soaking will be enough to clean the lines. If not, soak the lines in a solution of one part chlorine bleach to ten parts water. The length of the bleach soak depends on how bad the infestation is. I would put them in the solution for 30 minutes and then check on them. It might take an hour or more to remove the mildew. This should kill off any leftover mold and remove any discoloration. There is a chance that the bleach solution will cause your colored lines to fade. If this is a concern, test a line’s color-fastness by inserting one tip of the line into the solution and watching what happens. Always rinse lines thoroughly in fresh water after removing them from either solution. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them.

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