First of all, let me explain, I don't do washing. The reason is not because I am lazy, which of course I am, but because I am not a fit person to be in charge of a complicated washing machine. I tried to be clever once and put all my dirty clothes into the machine on a boil wash (well you would of course it makes sense) also in went a Red jumper. The result was, I was the person antifouling dressed in pink socks, pink trousers and a pink jumper. I then put a halyyard type rope into a bucket of boiling water, it came out very clean and Very stiff, you could have done the Indian rope trick with it, it had to be thrown away! I still dont know why it did this, I now leave my ropes dirty.
Dirty ropes (halyards, sheets etc.) look that way because of mould growing within the fibres. A quick immersion in diluted Patio Magic or similar anti-mould cleaner and then left for a few days, will make them look like new. No washing machine, or even removal from boat, required!
Yes, I guess we've all tossed the ropes into the washing machine at the end of the season ... some may even have added a bit of 'Comfort' to give them a treat.
While talking to English Braid's technical director I discovered that both actions are to be avoided.
The 'Comfort' not only makes knots come undone but destroys the essential friction between strands and reduces the breaking strain. Meanwhile giving the ropes a thorough wash in a machine disturbs the layup of the ropes and again weakens them.
The manufacturers suggest a thorough hand wash in cold water to get rid of the salt and then coil and hank the ropes to dry. The ropes prefer to be under a slight tension when stored to preserve the lay-up and strength.
Oh dear, there goes another myth.