Nesting overload: Steam pipe edition

Nesting overload: Steam pipe edition

Anyone who has ever been in the 3rd trimester can tell you that the combination of hormones and knowing a baby is on the way gives you some wicked nesting urges. These urges combined with my heat blasting made me start wondering how we can best keep our kids safe from our exposed radiators and steam pipes.

I have something in the works for my radiators, but the steam pipes really had me stumped. I found a website ( that suggested using 1/4 inch Manila rope to wrap it. I did some basic research to see if it was safe and got ready to buy some rope!

Enter Mike from SGT Knots. I wrote SGT Knots, since they are the best reviewed rope company on Amazon and asked if he thought this was a good idea. Surprisingly, he asked me to call him and gave me a great lesson on rope development!

I should start by saying I LOVE SGT Knots as a rope company. Who takes the time to call some crazy pregnant lady when they have a business to run?!

So Mike gave me some great advice:

  1. If you choose to put rope on your steam pipes you are choosing to put a type of hay around something hot. He said he would never suggest that to anyone. In fairness, the internet says it is a safe choice, but Mike was against it.
  2. If you choose to put rope around your pipes, you shouldn’t use Manila rope. Why? Because rope is designed to be used outside and for utility. That rope smell you remember from any game of tug-of-war is the smell of the binding agent that keeps the rope fibers together. If you heat that up it smells horrible. Mike says people sometimes complain to him after doing this that the stinky smell is overwhelming. He gets pretty tired of telling people that they bought a stinky rope (Manila) and then wrapped it around a hot pipe.
  3. He says if you choose to do this (which he does not suggest) you should use 1/2 Sisal rope because Sisal has less of a smell. Sisal is also a little “hairier” so a thicker Sisal will have less shedding and will take less time.

So Mike got me set up with a less-smelly 1/2 inch Sisal rope and I got to wrapping. He even suggested a great knot to use to tie it off. I cannot say enough nice things about the SGT Knots customer service team. I got 600ft because we have four exposed steam pipes in our apartment, but I think 75 per pipe would get you about 6 feet up, depending on the pipe.

Here is the outcome:

It looked great and the rope was excellent quality. The rope was not stinky at all, until the heat came on. It smelled then, like a hot rope smell. I was very thankful I didn’t get the Manila, but unsure if it was safe to leave that smell in an apartment in the brutal winter when I can’t open all the windows.

I made an executive decision to destroy my hard work and attempt this project again when my family will be away for the weekend and I won’t be developing the brain of an unborn human.

Overall thoughts:

Even though this project is a bust for me at this time, I will never buy rope from any other company than SGT Knots. They were amazing and really went above and beyond to give me the best information and product for the job. I cannot say enough about them. I am so so impressed by their expertise and kindness.

Also, I will complete this project one day when I’m not pregnant and can make sure both kids are out of the house and the house can be aired out! My ugly steam pipes will be beautiful and safe for tiny hands.