Cleaning climbing holds
The first step when cleaning climbing holds is to determine what material the hold is made of. Polyester and polyurethane (PU) are the most used materials.
To recognise which is which: polyester is the basic material of most older hold shapes and is the heavier material that breaks and chips rather easily, whereas modern shapes are often PU, they don’t chip easily, weigh less and are more flexible. PU holds are usually brighter in color compared to polyester holds which lose their original brightness in color after the first use.
Cleaning polyester holds
Polyester is hard to clean and will need acids and firm brushing to become presentable. Polyester will never get back the out of the box brightness, no matter how hard you try. The best practise for this material is to soak in plenty water and hold cleaner (Benky Grip Wash, HRT Hold Cleaner, Bluewash and many other acids are available). Always follow the holds cleaner manufacturers’ instructions and always use protection gloves and protection goggles. After soaking rinse off with clean water and after that use a spray gun (cold water) to remove the last dirt. Leave to dry before use. Dispose of the acids in a nature friendly way.
There are ultrasonic machines and washing machines on the market that will take parts of this process out of your hand, but best results are still seen soaking in acid fluids.
Cleaning PU holds
PU is very easy to clean and after cleaning PU will look as new. Use a spray gun (cold water) and all dirt comes flying off as if it weren’t there. Leave to dry before use. Don’t use acids or other chemicals as it may damage the surface layer of the hold.
Cleaning macros and fiberglass volumes
Clean with cold water. When using a spray gun keep a distance of at least 50cm between nozzle and macro or volume in order not to damage the surface layer. In case dirt doesn’t come off, applying some holds cleaner on the dirty spots (and leave it there for 15 minutes or more before rinsing it off) usually does the trick. Don’t use holds cleaner unless you must because it may affect both friction and brightness.
Cleaning wooden volumes
Wooden volumes (maybe not home-made ones) are easy to clean using a spray gun at least 50cm distance from the volume surface.
General cleaning guidelines
Safety data sheet for holds and volumes