You are currently viewing The Importance of Cleaning Your Wire Ropes

The Importance of Cleaning Your Wire Ropes

If you’ve read our blog on the importance of lubricating your wire ropes – you are already one step closer to safe and thriving wire ropes. 

Understanding the importance of using a wire rope lubricator with the right lubricant for your wire rope is one of the best things you can do to extend the rope’s life and function, but many miss an integral step: cleaning the wire rope. In this blog, we’ve detailed why it’s important to include wire rope cleaning in your maintenance program, and how it can ultimately save you time, effort and money.

Why You Should Keep a Clean Wire Rope…

Wire ropes should be cleaned of any external contamination before lubrication application. This can include the removal of old lubricants or surface debris and is best achieved using a wire rope cleaner. Cleaning your wire rope properly will remove foreign material and expired old lubricant from between the strands and among the outer wires. This will allow the lubricant to flow more freely between the wires of the rope, giving your rope the best chance at soaking up all the lubricant’s benefits.

Properly lubricated wire rope will be able to bend easier around hoist drums and sheaves without wearing too quickly. For a wire rope to truly do its job, the strands within the rope should be allowed to move freely and work with each other to provide strength. Without proper wire rope lubrication, the lifespan of your wire rope will be dramatically shortened. Proper lubrication isn’t achievable on a wire rope that is coated in old, contaminated lubricant or covered in debris from a dirty, dusty, or salty environment. Effective lubrication simply cannot occur until the build-up of crust and old lubricant is removed and replaced with a high-quality lubricant.

If contamination is left to build up in the wire rope, it can act as an abrasive and increase the rate at which your rope begins to fail. Additionally, if you use wire ropes in the marine industry, your rope will be more susceptible to water ingress which will increase corrosion. The combination of built-up old lubricant and foreign material can form a trap on the rope for keeping in water, increasing the rate of corrosion beneath the surface.


How to Maintain Wire Rope Cleanliness

Viper WRL lubricating a wire rope

If you’re like most industrial business owners, you’re always looking for ways to save money and improve efficiency. One way to do both is to make sure your wire ropes are clean and in good condition. Cleaning your wire ropes may not seem important in the grand scheme of things, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Visual inspections are an important aspect of wire rope maintenance, where a nominated trained employee or wire rope inspector will check the rope at regular intervals to ensure its health and function. Lubricant and contaminant build-ups conspire to make visual inspections of the rope more difficult, giving a false sense of security without telling what the condition of the rope is beneath the surface. This can result in a delay of service or maintenance including re-lubrication, creating a wire rope that is no longer functional or safe. 

Deterioration from corrosion or rust can be much more dangerous than that of wear because it is difficult to detect, especially on a dirty wire rope. Wear deterioration will often reveal itself through a reduction of the circumference of the rope, as well as flattening, fraying, or splitting of the external wires of the rope, yet corrosion can hide beneath layers of debris build-up.

If your wire rope gets dirty and particles work their way toward the essential core of the rope, the entire element must be cleaned with a proper wire role cleaner, such as our VRC Rope Cleaner. Until now, getting old rope lubricant out from in between the strands and freeing the surface of contaminants was highly impractical. It was almost impossible to do a proper job. 

Make Your Lubricant More Effective

We set out to change this and make wire rope cleaning simpler than ever. Pre-cleaning with a rope cleaner that is fitted correctly for your wire rope will make your lubricant more effective, so you aren’t wasting time and money or risking the life of your wire rope.

Pre-cleaning the rope will remove contaminants instead of pushing them further into the rope, which is what used to be the case with manual cleaning methods. Moreover, it will open a pathway for the new, fresh, specialty lubricant to penetrate further towards the essential core. With the range of sizes and rope structures catered for and high-density polyurethane material, wire rope cleaning has never been more simple, more durable, or better value.

Wire rope cleaning is an essential part of any wire rope maintenance program and ignoring it will put your budget, workers, and worksite at risk. Make the change to the VRC Rope CleanerVMRCS Manual Cleaner, or Smooth Bore Cleaner today to experience the difference for yourself.

For more information on our products or services, get in touch with our friendly expert crew here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why should steel wire ropes be maintained?

Wire ropes should be maintained through proper cleaning and lubrication to ensure a long working life. This will reduce wear, fatigue and corrosion  .

How do you clean wire ropes?

The best, most effective way to clean wire ropes is by using the VRC Rope Cleaner, in conjunction with any Viper WRL or  Manual Rope Cleaner. 

How do you care for and maintain wire ropes?

There are a few standard methods that should be included in the maintenance and care of your wire ropes, including visual inspections, regular lubrication with a wire rope lubrication system, use of the right lubricant for your wire rope, and cleaning prior to lubrication.

How often should wire rope be lubricated?

Wire ropes are lubricated during their initial construction, and they should be regularly lubricated throughout their lifespan. However, the rate at which you should lubricate your wire rope will depend on the environment, the weather conditions, and the application of the wire rope.