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Sabreman 09-29-2013 03:29 PM

Tea Tree Oil Recipe
I really like Kanberra Gel (thanks chef2sail!), but I really don't like the cost. So, ever the DIY-er, I want to make my own. Tea Tree oil can be found at Target, CVA, Walgreens, etc.

Does anyone have a proven recipe? I have one that I found on the 'net but am looking for something that someone has used on their boat.

We've found that Kanberra Gel has eliminated the musty boat smell by about 90%! After we bought the boat in 2005, we attacked mold that was growing everywhere due to countless leaks and rotted shelving and bulkheads. After resolving the source of the problem we used gallons (literally) of bleach and shower mold spray, but the boat had a traditional musty smell. After one season of using two 4oz tubs of Kanberra Gel in the v berth and main cabin, the boat is odor free. Even the foul weather jackets smell neutral.

eherlihy 09-29-2013 04:04 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe
I use 1 teaspoon of Tea Tree Oil to 1 cup of water. I keep it in a small spray bottle, and give the lockers a couple of sprays once a month...

Sabreman 09-29-2013 04:40 PM

Tea Tree Oil Recipe
Have you ever made a gel?

Minnewaska 09-29-2013 04:50 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe
According to Kanberra themselves, you're barking up the tree that makes their product superior. They claim competitors products either don't dissipate well, harden into a ball or contain toxic chemicals too.

If you figure out how to make an effective home recipe, they're headed for the dust bin. I don't like dropping the $100 on refills, but I just loaded up for the winter. I refill 2 - 3 times per year now. It's expensive, but works.

Sabreman 09-29-2013 05:52 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe

If you figure out how to make an effective home recipe, they're headed for the dust bin.
The challenge has been made and I accept!

Seriously, I've been around long enough to understand how marketing works. The reality is that often times, the difference between a marketed product and what I can make at home is that the vendor took the time to develop and market the product. I hold two copyrights to data analysis tools. My customers tell me that they could have done the same thing. It's true.. if they set aside two years and $250k. But I did and they didn't and that's how I make my living. :D

I have no desire to compete with Kanberra or West Marine, it's just a drag to have to order that stuff all the time. And if I fail, then that's ok. At least I tried.

Minnewaska 09-29-2013 07:52 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe
I'm rooting for you.

Jgbrown 09-29-2013 08:33 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe
The water and tea tree oil was a huge PITA for me. It always separated requiring shaking and it didn't spray nicely. I tried mixing it with some mild de-greasers and cleaners I used, thinking that if it was emulsified it might be a bit better. That reduced it's effectiveness as a cleaner, and it didn't really help the tea tree oil work any better. It seemed a bit silly to me spraying water everywhere when the whole point is to have a dry, clean smelling boat.

My current recipe for use in the bilges and lockers is really simple. It works for me.

1 small bottle of tea tree oil.
1 300 mL spray bottle of 99% isopropanol from the drug store. I could only find a link to the 70% but it's the same bottle and brand.

Spray I use

pour out a little alcohol, pour in the tea-tree oil and shake.

It works great, doesn't seem to separate like water and tea-tree oil! Spray in all the lockers and the bilge. Might not be as good as a gel for some things, but it coats everything with a light coat of tea-tree oil, and I think the alcohol helps dry stuff out and kill things too. I've used a quick spray on cuts as well, when I had nothing else.

pdqaltair 09-29-2013 09:56 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe
$7.95 for 2 ounces is better!

* save the old tubs
* add about 1/2 oz. mineral oil (to keep it from drying completely)
* gel with cabosil (works on any petroleum/oil product)

On the other hand, Forespar dilutes with DI water (most probably with an emulsifying agent) and gels it with something like SAP (the powder in diapers).

I'm sure there are better ways, but you might have this stuff on hand.


Personally, I don't care for the smell and in testing I've found dehumidifiers to work better, but it does have some very slight biocide effectiveness. My wife likes it.

Sabreman 09-29-2013 11:17 PM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe
I just made a batch using the recipe in the following link, increasing the tea tree oil to 50 drops.
Things we did today: Homemade Air Freshener Gel

pdq - I like the idea to use mineral oil and silca. I have some West System Colloidal Silca so I can use that in place of the Cabosil (same thing from what I read). I'll definitely try that in my next batch. Right now, I'm thinking that the gelatin will evaporate quickly so your idea might work better.

The whole house smells like tea tree oil... good thing that Vicky likes the smell.

Minnewaska 09-30-2013 07:05 AM

Re: Tea Tree Oil Recipe

Originally Posted by Sabreman (Post 1095951)
I just made a batch using the recipe in the following link, increasing the tea tree oil to 50 drops.

Your link says it lasted for two weeks. I find Kanberra lasts for two months.

I think that's what one pays for, they're dispersal technology.

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