How to Clean Climbing Holds

Written by larry parr
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How to Clean Climbing Holds
Climbing holds can become covered with sweat, blood, chalk and grime. (mini climbing wall image by Scott Williams from

If you have a climbing wall, or if you run a commercial climbing wall, you know how dirty climbing holds can get. Grease, grime, caked-on blood and chalk--it all adds up to climbing holds which can be slippery and make your climb difficult and even dangerous. The answer is to clean your climbing holds on a regular basis.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ratchet
  • Bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Nylon scrubbing brush
  • Power washer

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  1. 1

    Remove the climbing holds from the wall. In most cases, this requires a ratchet to remove the T-nut holding the climbing hold to the wall.

  2. 2

    Put 1 cup hot water and 1 cup white vinegar into a bucket. Add a squirt or two of dish soap and then place the dirty climbing holds into the bucket and allow them to soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. 3

    Remove the climbing holds from the bucket and scrub any that require it with a stiff nylon brush. Rinse all holds with water.

  4. 4

    Place the cleaned holds in the dishwasher and run a full cycle using dishwasher soap.

  5. 5

    Replace the clean and dry climbing holds on the wall.

  1. 1

    Leave all hand holds in place on the wall.

  2. 2

    Put 1 cup of white vinegar plus two squirts of liquid dish soap into a power washer with a scrubber attachment. Fill it the rest of the way with hot water and spray your hand holds while they are still on the wall. Use the scrubber attachment to scrub the holds as you wash.

  3. 3

    Fill the power washer with clean, hot water and spray your hand holds a second time to wash off all vinegar and soap.

  4. 4

    Allow the wall to dry thoroughly.

Tips and warnings

  • Running the climbing holds through the dishwasher after soaking and scrubbing is optional.
  • Power washers can be rented at most home improvement centres and some hardware stores.

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