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Old 12-01-2013, 10:52   #1
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How do you remove Diesel Smell?

During the purchase, survey and sea trial of the boat there was no perceptible smell of diesel. The week before we were to pick up the boat the dealer did us a favor and finished engine servicing and new batteries. When we picked up the boat it had a strong smell of diesel. I have cleaned the bilge with Dawn and water and vac'd out. As far as I can tell I got rid of the source (engine room smell is nil) but now still have the lingering smell when I step into the vessel and in the furnishings (sniffing books, bedding, pillows outside of boat the still have the smell. even washed sheet twice but could not get the odor out). I have fans and vents running now for a couple of weeks and getting only slightly better.

Any tricks or tips on how to get rid of the smell of diesel?
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:06   #2
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

On our boat as soon as you remove the diesel you remove the smell. Did you fill the tank(s) since you bought the boat? If so you may have a leak on the inspection plate, the fill hose (we do) or the vent is poorly located or the hose is leaking.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:34   #3
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

On our boat we sometimes find mystery diesel when the tank is overfilled. Check the aft bilges around the tank itself.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:44   #4
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

Wash the fabrics in calgon and it will clean the smell out of them. Good luck finding the smell sources.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:55   #5
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

Calgon is reported to work, but takes a lot of work.

Try Odor eliminator PureAyre eliminates cat, pet, smoke, skunk, cigars, gasoline, cooking and musty odors.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:59   #6
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

I had the unfortunate circumstance in which the fuel line became disconnected from the fuel fill deck fitting and had 60 liters of diesel pumped into the bilge. Flushed it out with de-greaser and bilge cleaner then gave it another flush with about 2 gallons of white vinegar. Craved french fries for 3 days but it got the smell out
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:11   #7
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

i found that if there is a diesel smell in my boat is directly due to a leak in the fuel system. that smell dissipates very rapidly after the leak has been repaired successfully.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:15   #8
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

Did his servicing include swapping any filters? Maybe you do have a leak.
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Old 12-01-2013, 13:27   #9
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

The tanks are about 900 gallons each and one had not been used so polished several hundred gallons. I did not add any more fuel. Working at using it down a bit to keep it from spoiling.

I am guessing that the diesel may have been an accumulation of things fixed and I will have to keep chasing down the areas that may have been spilled.

1) Bad fuel and water in tank resulted in filters being changed and engine being pumped out clear through injectors. Scrubbed bilge with Dawn thinking this was the source.
2) Diesel polishing as mentioned. The floors are carpeted (I have no idea why any would want carpet in a boat) so there may have been some spillage there as access to the tanks are through hatches in the sole. They pumped from one breather port to the other between tanks in the galley.
3) leak in the diesel furnace line. I got the system purged, cleaned and sealed. Again some diesel in the carpet.

Looks like I will be getting some Calgon and washing carpets. Just wish it was a bit warmer here in the Northwest. 30-40 F outside temps don't allow to much are flow.
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Old 12-01-2013, 13:29   #10
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

I like the white vinegar and fries comment .
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Old 12-01-2013, 14:15   #11
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

Find and fix the leak ya must have! then clean the area affected by the leak! I use dawn dish soap to start with and end up with Vinagar. easy to clean up but sometimes hard to find the leak! And it's most always a leak that starts the smell!! of course if ya have rug as mentioned above, thats a horse of a different color!! personaly I hate rugs aboard but the wife do like to have some throw rugs in some places aboard ! but then again no one gos below decks with shoes on anytime on my boat !! they come off at the cockpit before going below! I buy those cheap paper slippers at costco, and give them to all vistors before they go below ! But then Im old and hate extra work LOL
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Old 14-01-2013, 11:36   #12
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Have used this successfully
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Old 14-01-2013, 20:06   #13
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

+1 on the vinegar

Pinhole leaks in one of our tanks allowed diesel fuel to seep into the wood of the cabin sole. It was cleaned but some odor remained. Wiping down with white vinegar 2 or 3 times totally solved the lingering odor problem and it didn't come back. Inexpensive, environmentally sound fix!
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Old 14-01-2013, 20:24   #14
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

As others have said... If the Diesel smell is lingering, you likely have a leak. If the leak is not addressed, the Diesel fuel smell will continue to glisten your boat. And trust me, the smell can very easily travel from the engine compartment into your cabin. I recently had a small leak coming from my fuel lift pump and the smell filled my cabin within a few hours.

This is how I got rid of the smell from my bedding, curtains, and fabrics. I learned this from a Diesel mechanic. Wash your fabrics with generous amounts of Listerine. I was surprised at how well it works!

Best of luck in finding and getting rid of the smell! Keep us posted.
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Old 22-02-2016, 04:20   #15
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Re: How do you remove Diesel Smell?

I wonder if you have noticed any mould in your boat. Years ago, I was told that a smell of diesel was used by some sellers to cover up a mould smell but putting a few drops in the bilge. To find the mould, you had to open the cushion and stick your nose in there and breath in. If you have no smell in your engine compartment, but in the cabin, I wonder why that should be. An lingering smell in your clothes suggests diesel in the timbers/under floors and a lack of circulation. Possibly, time to replace the inner part of the cushions. To get rid of the smell, I have done three things;(assuming I have no visible leak)
1. Buy vents with solar chips/fan that circulate the air in the boat, especially when the boat is closed up;
2. Use clothes washing detergent in water to wash the bilge and remove the diesel;
3. After, clean the bilge with a water/vinegar mix;
4. If the smell has impregnated marine ply, then you could seal it with a sealer.
As mentioned by some, there could be a small leak so you must be diligent to track that down. One place to look is in the stuffing box area where a fuel leak might get to or if your fuel filter has a bleeder fitting, then it might have a small leak. Put tissues around suspect fittings to see if there is a stain.
I suggest time on board searching step by step will provide the best results.
All the best. Had that problem too and boy, is it hard to get rid of!
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