chlorine bleach and polyester

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chlorine bleach and polyester

Postby ek » Nov 26, 2008 5:21 pm

I remember there were studies (from a while ago) indicating that a 10-minute soak in a solution of 10% household bleach in water reduces a nylon rope's strength by only a few percent at most. I know that this is part of the disinfection protocol that some rescue teams use. So while there is still much danger presented by bleach to ropes, this specific exposure is OK.

Well, this specific exposure is also one of the ways you can perform decontamination to control the possible human-mediated spread of WNS according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Presumably other nylon items, like webbing and harnesses, would react similarly, and they could be safely decontaminated in this manner.

SUOC gear has been caved with in the northeast. We have some gear that's not been used, and other gear that we have ordered recently, so not all of our gear will have to be decontaminated before we go to TAG this winter, but much of it will.

The thing is, many of our harnesses are Petzl Fractios, and these harnesses are made of polyester.

Have there been studies done on the effect of a 10-minute soak in 10% household bleach solution, on polyester?

I'm interested in anything any of you know about this. However, Hank, if you could tell me something in your official capacity as a Petzl representative (or otherwise), I would appreciate it.

If I don't get the needed information through this post then of course I will follow the "proper procedure" and contact Petzl directly. But right now, I want to solicit both "official" and "unofficial" information on this matter.

Eliah Kagan
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Syracuse University Outing Club

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Re: chlorine bleach and polyester

Postby hank moon » Dec 7, 2008 7:42 pm

ek wrote:I'm interested in anything any of you know about this. However, Hank, if you could tell me something in your official capacity as a Petzl representative (or otherwise), I would appreciate it.

Hi ek

I'm no longer a Petzl employee, but bleach can certainly weaken polyester fibers. If you contact Petzl, ask them to do a destructive test on harnesses you provide that have been subjected to your disinfecting method. The results of one test won't be definitive, but may give some insight into the issue. If you send them a detailed proposal, they could probably be persuaded to donate the harnesses. This is a question that comes up from time to time (esp. with helmets), but has never been satisfactorily answered.

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Re: chlorine bleach and polyester

Postby DanZ » Dec 30, 2008 6:48 pm

I hope it's not too late! I've heard this question come up a few times, along with the effects of aluminum on rope. This is what I have found after searching with google for 5 minutes.

From a science project

From a website about dyeing fabric

Of course Clorox recommends the use of Clorox 2 for colors, which does not disinfect, since it's a non-chlorine bleach, which defeats the point of washing them in bleach.

Good luck figuring this out. It does look like Chlorine bleach (which you would need to use to disinfect something) would harm the structural integrity of the fabric. How much is up for debate, but it's up to as to whether or not you want to risk your life on it.

Please let us know if you hear anything from Petzl.

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