Cleaning your aerial equipment for post-lockdown use

With many studios and training spaces beginning to open up to limited numbers of people over the coming months, these are Firetoys’ recommendations for how to keep your equipment as low risk as possible.

Disinfecting your shared apparatus for the COVID-19 virus involves the use of high temperatures or harsh cleaning agents like bleach, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

These will all have an adverse effect on aerial silks, yoga hammocks, ropes, and straps.

While it may be possible for us to test various temperatures/disinfectants and the effect they have on the strength of samples, we can’t test for repeated exposure to increased hospital level cleaning.

Considering this we cannot recommend increased cleaning to remove the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from any shared fabric apparatus.

We are basing our guidance on the following studies. As the Covid-19 situation is developing and more studies are being published, this guidance may change.

  • New England Journal of Medicine study published March 17, 2020 showing plastic is the surface the virus remains viable on for the longest, which is up to 72 hours.
  • The Lancet study published April 02, 2020 found that they could detect the virus on plastic for longer — up to 7 days. This study says no infectious virus could be detected from treated wood and cloth on day 2.
  • A not yet peer reviewed paper posted May 12, 2020 says “No infectious virus could be recovered from cotton clothes after 4 days"

GUIDANCE FOR SHARED AERIAL APPARATUS

Fabrics (Firetoys Aerial silks, Prodigy Aerial Silks, Firetoys Aerial Yoga Hammocks, Prodigy Aerial Yoga Hammocks)

We advise quarantining fabrics for 72 hrs – 7 days.

Our standard cleaning advice remains in place but this advice is not a protection against Covid-19 transmission.



Fabrics (Firetoys 3-Ply Aerial Rope, Firetoys Cotton Covered Aerial Rope)

We advise quarantining Ropes for 72 hrs – 7 days.

Please note - this information below is general cleaning advice and is not advice intended to prevent Covid-19 transmission.

  • The rope can be hand washed with non bleach washing agents.
  • The rope needs to be dried slowly and thoroughly before use, ensuring that internal fibres are completely dry before use.
  • Ensure the rope has no grit particles left within the fibres if the rope should it come into contact with any floor surfaces.

If your covered rope gets dirty we recommend wiping down the outer tubing with a mild detergent and drying off. Do not submerge the rope, or soak in any liquids as it may not dry fully, leaving the interior vulnerable to mould and decomposition.

Fabrics (Firetoys Aerial Straps, Firetoys Long Loop Aerial Straps, Prodigy Cotton Covered Aerial Loops, Prodigy Premium Cotton Covered Aerial Straps)

Polyester webbing can, and should, be cleaned, especially if it is in regular contact with any substance that can cause wear or compromise its functioning such as abrasives, corrosives and oils. 

Please note - this information below is general cleaning advice and is not advice intended to prevent Covid-19 transmission. Therefore we advise quarantining Aerial Straps for 72 hrs – 7 days.

The cleaning process is a good time to inspect the webbing for damage. Cleaning should be carried out by hand washing and natural drying not machine washing and mechanical drying.

First remove the supplied Maillon Rapide quick links and check for wear and tear. If you are in any doubt about the safety of a quick link after checking, replace it with a new one immediately.

Note - Prodigy Cotton Covered Loops and Cotton covered straps have a Polyester webbing core. You can treat the cotton in a similar way as below, with gentle hand washing.

  • It is recommended that the webbing is placed on a flat surface, thereby facilitating visible inspection.
  • The webbing should initially be wiped down with warm water to remove excess dirt and dust using a moist sponge or cleaning rag.
  • Using a mild diluted laundry detergent or dish soap as the cleaning medium, each portion of the webbing should be scrubbed with a sponge or rag until a soapy lather is generated. Dampen but do not soak the webbing as the excessive expansion of the fibres by soaking and their subsequent contraction through drying may compromise the webbing’s performance, effectiveness and shorten the webbing life.
  • The use of any cleansers that contain chlorine, bleach, disinfectants, solvents or abrasives is not recommended.
  • Using a sponge dipped in clean water, the webbing should be wiped down in order to remove suds and residual soap.
  • The webbing should be left to dry at room temperature, preferably in a shaded area with good ventilation that will facilitate the drying process. Exposing the harness to long periods of drying in direct sunlight is not recommended.
  • When drying the webbing ensure it is hung to minimise creasing.

These cleaning instructions, when combined with a thorough inspection of the webbing prior to each use, will preserve the webbing performance, functionality and lifespan. 

Prodigy Aerial Net

The Prodigy aerial net is made from a polypropylene netting, with a dyneema edging, and a polyamide sling around a stainless steel eye.

Step 1 - 72 hour quarantine. 

Step 2 - Wash the product in a washing machine with natural soap only (pH range of 5.5 and 8.5) at 30°C for a minimum of 30 minutes. To reduce the risk of abrasion damage whilst cleaning, place inside a protective fabric cover e.g. pillowcase. Always ensure the washing machine is free from other washing liquid/tablet and softener residues to avoid contamination.

Step 3 - Allow to dry naturally, away from direct heat and out of direct sunlight or other sources of UV light.

General spot cleaning advice for the polypropylene netting only, not the dyneema edging or polyamide sling, so keep this in mind only if you need to remove any stains from your white netting:

The netting is made from polypropylene that doesn’t absorb water and has a high resistance to alkalis and acid so the netting can be washed. Polypropylene is inert to a wide range of chemicals. It’s high crystallinity tends to make it more resistant to chemicals that degrade olefin fibres.

 

Firetoys Aerial Hoop

It is possible to disinfect an un-taped aerial hoop. We cannot test the efficacy of any of these methods against the risk of transmission. We cannot guarantee the longevity of the powder-coating with repeated cleaning using any of the disinfects recommended by any health authorities. The coating should be able to take repeat cleaning but please keep in mind that the black hoops are epoxy coated, which is a harder wearing finish. The white and pink hoops are polyester coated, which is slightly softer finish but it means we can have the sparkle.

Therefore we advise quarantining a hoop, with or without tape, for 72 hrs – 7 days.

General cleaning advice for Firetoys Aerial Hoops is to use Isopropyl Alcohol.

If you choose to disinfect an un-taped hoop then please see guidance from Public Health England, ECDC, and EPA.

Using a hoop without tape is very different and does introduce new risks and challenges. You will need to get yourself comfortable with it before you can safely teach students who are new to it. Clothing may need a rethink for bare arms and legs. Some moves that previously felt secure may not, and this could take your students by surprise.

Firetoys Cotton Static/Extended Trapeze

The cotton ropes we use for our trapezes are made by Langman Ropes. We contacted them for cleaning advice but they find the ropes usually get more dirty when you try to clean them!

With ropes that are difficult to clean and a bar that is too narrow to comfortably use without tape the only solution for shared trapeze is to quarantine for 72hr - 7 days.

For general spot cleaning of your ropes you could try wiping them down gently with a mild detergent and drying off. Do not submerge the ropes, or soak in any liquids as it may not dry fully.

Rigging hardware

Several of the manufacturers have issued their own guidance for disinfecting PPE including Petzl and ISC

 GUIDANCE FOR SHARED JUGGLING EQUIPMENT

We advise quarantining for 72 hrs – 7 days where it is not possible to disinfect or hot wash without adversely affecting the materials according to health authority advice.



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