I am doing the same thing and the diesel smell is one that prevails and the crew finds most objectionable. After some testing on things like lines, canvas
and fixtures, here is what works for me.
- Simple green or Fast Orange with Calgon water softener in the water. Soak for about 30 minutes. (Some people have used Tide laundry
cleaner) The odor
from the cleaner was gone when using Calgon. If you like the Orange (or Green?) smell sorry.
For the bilge my approach once the engine work is done will be:
(Before starting - Turn off the bilge pumps.)
1. Simple Green mixed into water - fairly strong, with Calgon as recommended on box/bottle.
2. Scrub everything down, starting with the engine room and switching to new scrubbers between the engine room and the bilge.
+++ using a new toilet brush and toothbrush was recommended and you will want to throw them away the first time.
+++ Ensure you get the underside of the floor boards, (sailboat where the the 1" of water is spread on the sides of the bilge for 90% of any trip. )
3. Rinse well with fresh
4. Dry it out
5. Replace/install oil absorbers.
My understanding is all the water you are "washing out" needs to be captured and legally disposed of or you should be fined for sheening the water. This means you will need an old shop vac to dry out everything and somewhere to dispose of the outcome.
Thanks to S/V Antares
for the great idea - that will save a lot of effort in getting rid of the waste. (Amazing how simple ideas are overlooked)
I like the idea of steam cleaning as it may eliminate many of the extra chemicals in use and minimize the water discharge. However, steam cleaners (like pressure washers) are notorious for getting past seals
, damaging light plastics, penetrating electronics
, etc. So keep clear of those if they are in the bilge or on the engine.
Here is what has been suggested preventatives:
++ Toss Calgon in the bilge from time to time and let it work its magic while sailing. Many claim it works great as a preventative without soap.
++ Mix 50/50 Water/White Vinegar in a garden sprayer and spray the bilge, under the floor boards, etc. once or twice a year. (Then leave for a few days because you made the air acidic.)
++ Bilgebuster with all the ozone issues that may occur. (and it is expensive). This gets rid of the odor
, but I may not smell an even bigger issue.
I wish I could give credit but I have been looking into this issue across so many sites I am not sure where they came from.