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Old 23-10-2020, 07:45   #1
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interior smell from bilge

I had a crack in water tank (built into keel) allowing water to enter from aft bilge. Patched it with flex seal and dropped in new water tank (much smaller. No more bilge water but having a hard time getting rid of bilge smell in main cabin. Air fresheners only work for awhile. Any ideas to get rid of smell?
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Old 23-10-2020, 08:38   #2
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Hey Taoist,

There was a great thread on this topic a month ago (Sept 2020) which should be of help:

Help - Super Funky Smell
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ll-240361.html

In particular for you - Peggie Hall's Post #19.

Good luck,
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Old 23-10-2020, 08:52   #3
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Well, surprising that fresh water would cause much problem, but you could have a lot of things going on in there.
My fix is to use a garden sprayer to spray Joy or Dawn/water mix up under all the under floor places, all the fiber glass and including the bottom of the wood that is the floor. This is mostly for if you have oily residue.
If not oily, water with a little bleach kills stuff.
Then hose it out everywhere with pressure and leave it open to dry.

Are you sure it isn't the cushions? They are infamous for holding mildew /mold smell.
An ozone generator works wonders on smells, but they are expensive. Dont know if you can rent one for a week?

I bought a damp moldy smelling 44 footer and after replacing all the cushions I bought an ozone generator and man it worked great. I left it on for a few months.

I used to put a bit of Pine Sol in the bilge occasionally just for general small.
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Old 23-10-2020, 08:57   #4
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Many thanks for the reply and directing me to that earlier post - very helpful.. I do have Peggy H's book. It's like the Seinfeld episode with the car with body odor he couldn't get rid of.
Actually not really that bad but it bothers me more than anyone else.
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Old 23-10-2020, 09:44   #5
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Clorox bleach at about 1/4 cup per gallon should kill off most mold and their smell. I'd pour it directly into the bilge and also use a spray bottle to spray down surfaces. Just don't get it on fabrics or it will take out the color.
cheers,
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Old 23-10-2020, 10:00   #6
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim King View Post
Clorox bleach at about 1/4 cup per gallon should kill off most mold and their smell. I'd pour it directly into the bilge and also use a spray bottle to spray down surfaces. Just don't get it on fabrics or it will take out the color.
cheers,
jim
That's a lot of bleach, you may never get rid of the bleach smell!
A cup +/- per 500 gallons is used for drinking water. You can do more than that ratio though for cleaning.
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Old 23-10-2020, 12:35   #7
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Ozone generators work great for eliminating smells but...
DO NOT LEAVE IT ON FOR TOO LONG!
When strongly concentrated ozone will eat rubber and vinyl, destroying them.
Our HVAC company owned a large commercial ozone generator that worked great. I loaned it to a friend who was trying to eliminate smoke odors from his home and I warned him not to leave it on for over 24 hours. Against my warnings, he left it on for 48 hours and it turned all of his new modern vinyl furniture very sticky. This ruined his new furniture
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Old 23-10-2020, 12:52   #8
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim King View Post
Clorox bleach at about 1/4 cup per gallon should kill off most mold and their smell. I'd pour it directly into the bilge and also use a spray bottle to spray down surfaces. Just don't get it on fabrics or it will take out the color.
cheers,
jim
Jim King!

What is with you and your bleach-cures-everything advice? You sure you're not British?

Oh no, then it would be a cuppa TEA cures everything! (Don't pour tea in your bilges, Taoist.)

Taoist - be careful with bleach on boats. Not only does it produce toxic gas that can be harmful to your lungs in the small space of an enclosed cabin (although it must not bother Jim, as he's still alive and kickin'); it also will gradually destroy hoses - such as those used in marine heads. (But Peggie's book would have told you that.)

Maybe after properly powerwashing/cleaning the bilges, try the ozone generator suggestion? There sure are a lot of people on that last thread who suggested and endorsed them. (Never even heard of them until that thread.)

Warmly,
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Old 23-10-2020, 12:55   #9
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim King View Post
Clorox bleach at about 1/4 cup per gallon should kill off most mold and their smell. I'd pour it directly into the bilge and also use a spray bottle to spray down surfaces. Just don't get it on fabrics or it will take out the color.
cheers,
jim

Bleach does not kill mold, and can actually feed it. Vinegar is the best solution I have found for killing mold in a boat.
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Old 23-10-2020, 13:08   #10
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Re: interior smell from bilge

don't be afraid to take a garden hose in your boat with a high pressure nozzle and dishwashing soap , it all runs into the bilge . spray away into every crack and crevasse ,using a wet and dry vacuum you can pick all the crap that ends up at the bottom of your boat , I do it once a year when I change the motor oil ,
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Old 23-10-2020, 13:29   #11
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadrille in JB View Post
Ozone generators work great for eliminating smells but...
DO NOT LEAVE IT ON FOR TOO LONG!
When strongly concentrated ozone will eat rubber and vinyl, destroying them.
Our HVAC company owned a large commercial ozone generator that worked great. I loaned it to a friend who was trying to eliminate smoke odors from his home and I warned him not to leave it on for over 24 hours. Against my warnings, he left it on for 48 hours and it turned all of his new modern vinyl furniture very sticky. This ruined his new furniture
I think I used my Little Panda for a year living on the boat with no issues. But sure, excess ozone can deteriorate some things. We just left it on when gone, probably 10 hours a day.
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Old 23-10-2020, 19:19   #12
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by taoist View Post
I had a crack in water tank (built into keel) allowing water to enter from aft bilge. Patched it with flex seal and dropped in new water tank (much smaller. No more bilge water but having a hard time getting rid of bilge smell in main cabin. Air fresheners only work for awhile. Any ideas to get rid of smell?
Might be late in suggesting but, after cleaning bilge areas, scrubbing with a brush and rinsing with fresh water, drying.
In every boat I've owned, I've painted the bilge with bilge paint.
It changes everything.
It's like new again.
It may be hard to get to every cranny, but it will definitely get rid of the bilge smell.
So coat everything you can.
Let the paint cure a couple days and it'll lose the solvent smell quickly.
Worked for me.
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Old 24-10-2020, 05:25   #13
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Re: interior smell from bilge

If you have any standing water in the bilge, drop in a bromine tablet. They sell them in the pool and spa section at WalMart, or any spa (hot tub) supplier.

As I understand it, bromine is preferred in spas because it's less corrosive on the different metals and hoses. Same thing applies on a boat.
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Old 24-10-2020, 05:35   #14
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Instead of a bromine tablet that is corrosive, drop an AC Pan treatment tablet in it as it is non corrosive. Just a thought.
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Old 24-10-2020, 06:04   #15
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Re: interior smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazerbrains View Post
Bleach does not kill mold, and can actually feed it. Vinegar is the best solution I have found for killing mold in a boat.
Thanks for that, Lazerbrains.

I'd forgot to include that essential component in my post (but had remembered in the Help - Funky Smell thread:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ll-240361.html.

What you get when you bleach mould is... white, bleached out, mould!

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