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  #11  
Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

I flushed my bilge with lots of hose water after first using paper towels and spray Simple Green to remove any oil coating. Works like a charm!

I have also used ordinary liquid hand dish detergent, the kind with a citrus odor - orange or lemon, and a sponge. I am not quite sure what a specialty bilge cleaner could contain that you could not match with some other less expensive household/garage cleaner.

Adding on to Brian's comment - it is a reassuring test of your bilge pump(s), too...to run a garden hose at full volume into your bilge. You might have to disconnect them to fully fill the bilge/hull under the floorboards.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-27-2014 at 02:39 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

A brief review of what causes 'boat stink' -

1. Probably the greatest cause of boat-stink is allowing shower water to enter the bilge. Shower discharge is loaded with zillions of exfoliated human skin cells, which if allowed to be mixed with water will eventually produce a god-awful smell .... the skin cells will eventually 'putrefy' in this mixture and all the fats, proteins, etc. will become dissolved into a 'foul soup'.
Rx: NEVER EVER allow shower water into a bilge. Consider to pump such directly overboard or into a thick walled 'grey water tank' which then is pumped overboard. See General Bilge clean up (below) to remedy.

2. Holding tank lines where the 'aroma' is now permeating through the rubber hose
Wrap your holding tank hoses first with paper towels then with a clear plastic wrap ... wait a week or so and if the paper towels smell like you know what replace those hoses with 'sanitary' non-permeable hose.

3. Inlet line to head --- do the same as #2.

4. Refrigerator and AC drains .... Spilled food and stagnant AC drains will be filled with bacteria. First flush with an alkaline/caustic soap to dissolve the 'lifeforms living there', then flush well.

5. Mold and Mildew living under the sole ---- use respiratory precautions, use CAUSTIC soaps/detergent (to dissolve the fungi), let dry, and then 'spritz on' but do not wipe or rinse and let the caustic soap/detergent dry --- this will be a modern equivalent of whitewashing and will prevent/retard future fungus infection. Problem is that many boats have 'pan liners' that makes it impossible to 'get behind' and clean the undersurface. NEVER clean mold/mildew or other 'boat fungus' when its dry ... spritz to wet it then scrub it, etc. Clean or disturb it when its dry and you only massively spread the spores.

5. Bilge water from stuffing boxes is aerobic, and shouldnt be and usually are not 'stinky'. Correctly adjust the 'adjusting nuts' on your stuffing box so that you have the minimum water intrusion while the shaft is not rotating - 1 to 2 drops per MINUTE.


General bilge cleaning: forget perfumes, vinegar, etc. as such can become 'food' for microorganisms living there. Use CAUSTICS such as TriSodiumPhosphate - TSP, Sodium Silicate based detergents (Roll-on or Tuff e'Nuff), Old fashioned LYE soap, etc. SOAK time is the most important aspect of such 'cleaning' as it takes time to kill and DISSOLVE the offensive growth. All these caustics will dissolve the cells (and the skin on your fingers, eyeballs etc.) and emulsify oils/greases/and hairballs. Use STRONG alkaline detergents - available from janitorial supply ... wear protection such as goggles and gloves and plastic apron.
After cleaninlg and rinsing and allowing to dry, Spritz on one of the sodium silicate based detergents, and let dry but dont rinse. Same reason that limestone caves dont 'smell' - alkalinity of the surface walls.

hope this helps.
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  #13  
Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

Often bilges have very little ventilation. This, IMHO, is usually part of the cause for such aromas. Figure out how to keep fresh air flowing through the area and you will both: 1, help to dry out the bilge, and; 2, keep any residual water from going anaerobic.

On my boat, I snaked the bilge-blower hose down into the lowest bit of the bilge (where it should be anyway, to pick up stray fuel fumes). Even with the blower off, but with the cowling pointed away from the prevailing winds and the "inlet" cowling facing the wind, enough airflow is induced to keep things nice and fresh.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

Definitely the white vinegar. You want to increase the ph in the standing water so it will kill off the bacteria causing the smell in your bilge. Increased heat will only work for a while. I've even heard of orange juice and adding hot sea water.


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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuelmonosov View Post
Definitely the white vinegar. You want to increase the ph in the standing water so it will kill off the bacteria causing the smell in your bilge. Increased heat will only work for a while. I've even heard of orange juice and adding hot sea water.
Vinegar is an acid and will LOWER the pH.

Caustic/base cleaners like lye will RAISE the pH.

If you alter the pH far enough either way, high or low, it will kill off bacteria and funk, but I would be inclined to go RichH's way and RAISE the pH with a base.

EDIT: I have never dealt with a smelly bilge, so take my advice for what it's worth. Very little.
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Last edited by Minnesail; 03-28-2014 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

I keep a mesh bag with orange peel hanging in an area with good airflow gets rid of bilgey smell in boat nicely
get better air flow through boat when not in use to keep condensation, smell and mildew down
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Last edited by white74; 03-28-2014 at 01:41 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

Just a thought, but if there is concern around stainless steel keel bolts, you might try PWB " powdered brewery wash" or similar products. These Are stainless-safe cold water cleaners available at your local home-brew shop meant to clean stainless steel ( and everything else) equipment. Easy to use and effective.


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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

i toss vinegar into mine occasionally, especially as i am sitting with stale bilge water .... when i sail and am mobile, the water circulates...some in , some out, not sitting, as it does when you are not wandering.
vinegar neutralizes salt water, somewhat. bleach does not.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

Remove the floorboards and clean out decades of crud. It will make a big difference!
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Old 03-29-2014
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Re: Preventing smell from bilge

I've been using Kanberra Gel the last couple of year and put a few in various locations of the bilge and it seems to be doing the trick for my boat.
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