The work horse of any adventure or challenge course operation, the customer harness is the first line of security for the climber. Perspiration and other bodily fluids, chemicals, oils and lotions, tree sap, etc., compromise the integrity of the webbing and connectors. Customer harnesses should undergo regular cleaning, but some circumstances (wetting accidents, for instance) require immediate attention for obvious sanitation reasons.
Proper sanitation is not just about removing the "ick" factor, but is a main component of maintaining the safe integrity of the equipment. Over time harness webbing soiled by bodily fluids, grease and chemicals will degrade in strength. Additionally, regular cleaning preserves the legibility of identification (serial numbers, etc.) and standards markings. And it is far easier to inspect the stitching and condition of the straps on a clean harness.
How to properly clean a harness:
- Gently wipe off any surface dirt first then, using a mild solution of water and liquid detergent in a washtub or bucket, dip harness in as needed.
- Note, do not use laundry detergent, solvents, stain removers, de-greasers, etc. as they are too strong and can damage the webbing.
- Rinse the webbing in clean water until all soap is removed.
- If necessary use a small brush to remove stubborn spots (oily dirt or mud).
- Dry the harness by hanging it away from direct heat and out of the sunlight.
- Once dry store, hanging if possible, in a clean, dry area, free from fumes, sunlight, corrosive materials, and sharp edges.
Properly cared for and inspected, your harnesses will give you many years of productive use.