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Old 03-05-2008, 09:50   #1
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Smile Keeping your boat fresh and clean

Hi Ladies,

I have been living on my Beneteau 393 with my lovely finance' now for 3 weeks and this is the first time I have lived aboard.

Things are going really well and I am feeling more and more at home everyday. We are currently anchored in Saint Martin in the Caribbean which is just lovely.

I was wondering if you had any home made cleaning ideas and solutions for boats that I could try.

I have found vinegar is great for cleaning the mirrors in the heads and I have even tried using baking soda for cleaning too which is great! I prefer to try and use more natural and environmentally kind products than harsh chemicals.

I have been keeping the boat really well aired, as it is a Beneteau it has lots of large hatches which are just wonderful and the Caribbean fresh breeze fills the boat and makes it feel fresh.

I also find lemon disinfectant is good for wiping over the head and other areas that need a good clean. I got some from the chandlery it makes everything smell fresh and clean.

One little problem I am having at the moment though is with one of our heads. We have two. Our arft head has a slight odour which seems to come and go our other head smells like a rose!

So far I have tried various solutions, baking soda, vinegar etc, a good clean, lots of flushing with fresh water and lots of pumping to clear out anything. I have also flushed the sink and the shower drain with fresh water, and cleaned them out with baking soda etc. I think it may be either the head or the plumbing cupboard which may be the problem. Something strange I noticed when we finished a day sail was that the head was filled with a yellow/brownie smelly water and when we left for the sail the water was crystal clear. So I am not sure what to do, the holding tank is clean as it has just been emptied/cleaned with a treatment/flushed out with fresh water etc. I want to get rid of the nasty odour and was hoping someone may be able to help me as I am still new to boat house keeping.

Other than that I am having the most wonderful time in my new life. I love living on a boat and enjoy the little challenges and the relaxing moments all the same. I have seen some of the most beautiful sunsets in my whole life since living on the boat and it is so wonderful to have the time to sit and really appreciate their beauty.

I am having the time of my life!

Any other cleaning tips, suggestions, cooking tips and general ideas for living aboard etc would be much appreciated!

Have a wonderful day and happy cruising!

Smiles

Nicolle
www.ourlifeatsea.com
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:06   #2
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nicollej I know this post was for the ladies but i am sure all the men get stuck with these types of jobs i know i do. we had the same issue with this smell and depending on how old the boat like not brand new I would say it is the hose from the head to your seacock. I was told if you run a paper towel over your hoses and it changes color, like brown, or smells afterwards this means grey water has saturated it. Anyhow I changed them and we noticed a difference. another good one that came which we havnt done is install a inline filter on the head intake line ,like the raw water filter and put one of those smelly pucks in it. limmer
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:07   #3
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Two possibilities. First, what is the smell like? Does it smell bad when you are pumping the new seawater in? Smell like sulphur or rotten eggs?

Or... is there just a general smell of well... old, stale stuff that goes through the head's plumbing to the tank and/or the sea?

If it is the first possibility, then as you use it more and more (and pump it many extra times each time), the smell will go away. That technique will work also for the second problem BUT... and Mark will want to find me and shoot me later... ha ha ha... BUT...

If you pump lots of water through and it's smelling like old stinky stuff that has flowed through the head's exit plumbing over the years, Mark's got a messy job ahead of him. The only way to get rid of the stink in that case is to replace the hoses.

(I say the above, knowing that you have already tried all the easy stuff)
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:19   #4
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Try Borax. I am using it in the bilge and other places. The stuff has no smell but it kills odors.

By the way I learned about Borax from ssullivan .

Paul
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:30   #5
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Try Borax. I am using it in the bilge and other places. The stuff has no smell but it kills odors.

By the way I learned about Borax from ssullivan .

Paul
Ha ha ha! Yes, it's a miracle substance! Works well on laundry too.

My gut says Mark will be hunting me down soon, though.. haha

Another thing to maybe try (if he doesn't feel like changing the plumbing) would be to at least spray some kind of freshener onto the plumbing directly. It can mask the smell temorarily...
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:36   #6
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Another thing to maybe try (if he doesn't feel like changing the plumbing) would be to at least spray some kind of freshener onto the plumbing directly. It can mask the smell temorarily...
Good idea. Try a mixture of Borax, water, Lemon Joy and bleach.
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:46   #7
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I am assuming that by the placement of the aft head, it is more frequently used. Since it gets more use, it will have a greater tendency to build up calcium in the lines and valves, especially the joker valve. Pour some fresh water and vinegar into the bowl and pump just enough to get the solution into the valve area. Let it sit for several hours to disolve the build-up and then flush. If this does not solve your problem, the joker valve must be replaced. I have found the joker valve to be easily plugged, due to its design. When it is kept open by built up crud, the "yellow/brownie smelly water" will leak from the hoses back into the toilet.
As an aside, when you flush, remember that there is a six foot length of hose between the toilet and the tank. You should flush enough water to push the waste all the way to the tank so it does not sit in the hose and cause problems. We have found that thorough flushing will eliminate most head odors without the addition of chemicals.
Jim

p.s. many of your questions can be answered by looking in the Yahoo/Groups page for the Beneteau 393. The link is http://groups.yahoo.com/mygroups
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:48   #8
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I recommend filling the plumbing lines with vinegar and letting them set. close the sea cocks and fill the sink with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Fill the head with straight vinegar and let it sit for an hour or two. Then slowly pump the vinegar into the plumbing lines. The goal is to fill the plumbing lines. Calculate out the volume of the hose and try and keep it full. This may work and is not very expensive. It is worth trying it will only cost a few bucks and it may work.
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:38   #9
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There are a whole bunch of posts on the board on dealing with head and holding tanks odors. Do a search and you will get some great info.
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Old 03-05-2008, 15:14   #10
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Becarefull with vineger and stainless steel fittings. It will corrode them. Stainless also doesn't get along with bleach. I learned that the hard way....Allan
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Old 03-05-2008, 18:20   #11
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Here I am meant to be cruising the Caribbean like a Corsair, wind in the hair, hand on the wheel, the other grasping a beer bottle like a cutlass.........

Instead you lot force my head down the head for a day!!!!

Woe is me!

Nicolle yelling: There’s another post: Shove BiCarb Soda down the dunny! Wait, shove vinegar. Wait…. Here, just shove the whole galley down the toot!

And Joker valves. That’s the joke! The Chandlers don’t have ‘em. “Buy a whole new ThunderBox ya cheapskate!” I just was a Jabsco Joker valve – they ought to have them by the truckload.

Of course no matter what was wrong I will now need a new Joker valve – I just shoved a can of Baked Beans down….


Woe is me.




Mark
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My gut says Mark will be hunting me down soon, though.. haha
Give me your lat and long, Sean. I'm preparing a broadside!
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Old 03-05-2008, 18:39   #12
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Nicolle yelling: There’s another post: Shove BiCarb Soda down the dunny! Wait, shove vinegar.

Give me your lat and long, Sean. I'm preparing a broadside!


Think back to grade school (6-8 yrs old) making a "volcano" for science class. BiCarb and vinegar. I don't think you want a brown volcano!!

(preparing for the broadside... all hands on deck to battle stations!)
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Old 03-05-2008, 20:23   #13
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I agree with others that the hoses and joker valve are probably due for replacement.

On the general cleaning front, find the shower sump and put it on your "clean regularly" list.

I also use vinegar for most regular cleaning. I keep a spray bottle of Marine Spray Nine for tough things (like the shower sump). Swiffers sheets are good dust cloths.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:43   #14
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A quick, and inexpensive fix to the hose might be saranwrap them?
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Old 05-05-2008, 13:50   #15
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Nicolle, if you look on the web for Peggy Hall, former owner or Peal Products, now a division of Raritan, Peggie goes by the nickname of "The Head Queen" for her knowledge of marine heads.

Boatsafe.com

Heads do need rebuilding once in a while, they use rubber parts unlike household toilets and rubber doesn't last forever. With long gloves, bleach, some paper towels and plastic bags, you can play "Hazmat disposal team" and if you need to, fully rebuild a head without getting any waste on you OR the boat. (It helps to keep one person with clean and dry hands to step and fetch and hold and bag the garbage.)

If seawater enters the head, as it normally does when we flush with seawater, that becomes ugly green-brown and smells of sulphur just like a low tide on a mud flat. If the valve that keeps waste in the waste tank goes bad, waste comes back into the bowl and it can be hard to tell the two apart.

Personally I would say rebuild it all at once, order a complete parts rebuild kit, and sanitation grade hoses (because all hoses go permeable and stink sooner or later) and be done with it for five years or so.

As you say the holding tank was empty, I would assume that was seawater doing the "low tide" routine in the bowl. The only ways to prevent this are to use a fresh water day tank, and flush with fresh water, or to make sure the bowl is pumped DRY and the intake manually shut off to make sure it stays dry.

Some folks shut the head intake every time they leave the head; others with guests or children aboard may leave it open more often. You'll find plenty of discussion about this here and on other forums.

The other major factor in "no head smell" is good holding tank ventilation, which is Peggy's real forte. The holding tank vent(s) MUST be clean, air must circulate through the tank to prevent that "low tide" effect. Sometimes a vent hose is plugged with waste, or insect nests. Sometimes a hose has simply collapsed or been pinched. Check those out first.

frolic's mention of Saran Wrap is a common one for smelly hoses. Genuine Saran Wrap is a different plastic from the other wraps--it blocks smells, the others don't. As a short term kuldge for smelly hoses, it is about as good as you can do. Short-term.
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