Rope Allergy.

By LaRasa


Citing my sources:

The original of this piece had parts which in retrospect were nearly verbatim from bones and rope over at Anatomie Studio. Check out their article here:

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In 2014 I was dating Wolf. She had very sensitive skin and occasionally would have harsh reactions to natural fibre rope, coming out in a rash. We initially put this down to the fuzzy bits on the rope but after some research and looking around, I found out about the chemical processing of natural fibre rope.

Most natural fibres produced worldwide are processed with a mineral oil called Jute Batching Oil, specifically JBO(p) which is heavier than JBO(c), but doesn’t have the kerosene smell.

JBO(p) is a derivative of crude oil containing just a ton of hydrocarbons which you don’t want against your skin and which have actually been linked to tumours and cancer.

The topical application of neat JBO(p) three times a week has been found to produce skin tumours locally with 13 weeks of treatment on Swiss albino mice.

The thing is the oil does little (if anything) for the rope; it’s used to help the machines process the jute and speed up the process. Mo’ product, mo’ money.

Due to it’s versatility, jute is one of the world’s most produced fibres, used to make cloth, sacks, curtains, chair coverings, etc etc etc and of course (get it? Coarse?) for our favourite thing ever: rope!

But again, JBO is toxic and is linked to skin irritation, dermatitis, ulcers and cancer.

This is why treating your raw jute is a good idea and being a Chemistry graduate, I would be remiss if I didn’t do it with SCIENCE!!!


So, let’s go for a nice little quote from basic chem: ‘Like affects like’.

What this means is that polar compounds disperse best in polar liquids and non-polar in non-polar. What we are going to do is span the range of polar and non polar to try and grab everything out.

For an easy rinse method, get some sandwich bags, alcohol (isopropanol for instance is easy to find in computer hardware stores or in alcohol hand-rubs, a staple of any good first aid kit), water and patience.

So, pop your rope in one of the sandwich bags, add in your alcohol to cover roughly 1/3 of the rope and then a bit of lukewarm water.

Seal the bag and agitate it a little, leaving it to sit. Easiest thing really is just to leave it overnight.

Next day, remove the rope from the mixture (if you re-seal this bag and pop it in the freezer, the isopropanol won’t freeze, so this can make a nice little ice pack, just in case…) then dry or go straight to boiling your rope.


Ok, so you should have leeched a fair amount of whatever is left on your rope off by this point, but that’s not enough for you?

Then let’s go one step further and get some surfactant up in here.

Surfactant is so called because it is a surface active chemical: it breaks down the barriers between polar and non polar chemicals by interrupting the viscosity between the two

Grab another bag, rope in, 1/3 alcohol, 2/3 water and just add a few drops of fairy liquid.

This will break down the barriers between the very heavy chain carbons and the alcohol/water mixture even more easily, allowing the mixture to leech even more out.

Seal, agitate, leave it overnight.

Next day, remove the rope and go straight to boiling it.

Wolf was hypersensitive to the stuff, so remember to ask your rope supplier about whether they have treated it, and their treatment process. If you are in any doubt at all, treat them yourself as soon as you get them home.

An alternative to this is to buy jute ropes that are made by hand (i.e. hand woven), because these are less likely to contain JBO as this is applied before the rope is spun into yarn.

Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can actually start from scratch and make your own rope, which I have done on a couple of occasions, starting with jute twine from the 99p store, but that is a write up for another time.

Ok guys and gals, that’s all from me in this post: be foolish, happy, wild, sexy & naughty together.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. m15550ph13 says:

    How do you cook your jute rope afterwards?


  2. m15550ph13 says:


    How do you boil your ropes afterwards?



    1. LaRasa says:

      The easiest way is to put them in a pot on the hob, and ensure that the water boils for at 10 minutes.


    2. LaRasa says:

      If you want to grab me on twitter, I am @kinkycon there too, and I can answer any questions you might have? X


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