How To Clean Climbing Holds

Climbing Holds

If you have a small home gym you’ll probably start to wonder about how to actually clean the holds after a couple of months of intense use. A layer of chalk and rubber tends to build up on the holds making them slick and uncomfortable to use.

The good news is that magnesium carbonate washes right off with a little water. The simplest way to hand-wash climbing holds is to take a small bucket of hot water and hand-wash the with a good brush. You’ll want to make sure the water is pretty hot so solid gloves comes in handy to protect your hands. You’ll also want to keep the water hot, so refill the bucket between every ten holds or so. You can add a little dishwashing detergent to speed up the cleaning. This is the cheapest but most labor-intensive process.

Next up comes the power-washer. If you have a larger amount of holds you will want to lay them out on the ground and use a high-pressure power washer to clean them. The bigger holds can just be laid out on the driveway but you should put smaller holds in a small bucket or tray. The power washer will just blow away the smaller holds if you fail to do that.

If your significant other doesn’t mind you can also just load your holds in a standard household dishwasher. This is by far the easiest way to clean them but not everyone likes the idea of mixing food and climbing holds. Obviously don’t mix regular dishes and holds. This deserves a separate load. Until recently this was actually the go-to method of many climbing gyms. Some gyms actually added a little acid to the detergent to help clean the holds but we don’t recommend this.

Finally there’s the commercial option. Climbing gyms typically have dedicated hold cleaning stations which use a combination of detergent, high pressure and even ultrasound to make the holds look brand new.

Photo by Enric Cruz López