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ModMMax 11-25-2006 12:28 PM

Air filtation
We have purchased a 47' cruiser and will begin living aboard April/07. The boat has an odour that we noticed on most boats we considered during our search. It could be the head or a combination of the head and a warm salt climate. Anyway, it has to go and the admiral is already plotting her javex/Mr Clean strategy. We were wondering about the value of the Ionic Breeze by Sharper Image air purification system. They claim to deal with odours, mould and all other evil airbourns. Does anyone have real experience with this product in a boat. Thanks in advance.

Faster 11-25-2006 01:39 PM

I don't have experience with that particular product, but have seen powerful ozoneaters used in a couple of cases.

One case was a strong "smokers" smell in an otherwise pristene boat. The (rented) ozone generator was placed in the boat for 3 - 4 days, during which time no one entered, and then let to sit for a couple of days more before using the boat. This appeared to get rid of this particular smell.

In the second case it was more of a general "boaty" odor such as you describe - a cocktail of head odour, fiberglass, teakoil, bilge etc. - and though some improvement was noted, it did not eliminate the smell.

The differing results are likely from the fact that in the first case the source (the smoker) was eliminated, in the second the source(s) is/are likely still there and contributing to the odor again.

So it sounds to me like you'd be best off to try to eliminate the source and use the ozone treatment to remove any residual odor.

ModMMax 11-25-2006 03:00 PM

Thanks Faster. I think we will scrub this tub from one end to the other and go from there. Your suggestion of renting an ozone generator is a good one. Thanks again.

Giulietta 11-25-2006 03:12 PM

here is something that is going to make you smile, but give it a try, and find out. You will not loose a thing.

I learned this from the guy that built my boat. check this out, as it worked for us.

He allways had the problem of glass fiber smell in his house and peculiar boat smells when he has to work on boats that require maintenace.

As soon as our boat was made, we started sailing it. My wife has all kinds of sinus problems and does not tolerate strong smells such as glass fiber and gas/diesel fumes. So I called the builder and asked him what we could do te reduce the smells inside the boat.

He recommended that we half filled a bucket with water and just drop half onion in the water. Close the doors and let it there for a day or so.

We did. We left 2 buckets with the onions and the smells went!! I have no idea why, but now, every time we have weird smells, here comes the onion!!.

And no, the room will not smell of onions after!! LOL

It will not get rid of mildew, but helps with the smells.

Try it. you wioll be amazed

sailingdog 11-25-2006 04:12 PM

Another similar trick is to stop by a local coffee bar and get a five-pound bag of used coffee grounds. Leave them in an open Tupperware bin or bucket and let them absorb/eliminate the odors on the boat over a few days. Like the onion, it does not leave the boat smelling like coffee. Also, coffee is a bit more pleasant to smell if you have to be on board while doing this. Onions can be a bit hard on the eyes. :D

hellosailor 11-25-2006 10:22 PM

Is this a NEW boat or an older boat? A new boat might have fiberglass odors, an older boat probably smells from mildew and molds, and the only way to cure that is an intensive sterilization and cleaning program from stem to stern, followed by sealing any porous surfaces (like unpainted plywood). Only after you've gotten the boat cleaned out and the problem removed, can you control the odor with "ordinary" steps, which usually mean keeping it well ventilated and reasonably dry. That means open ventilation at *all* times, or better yet a couple of solar vent fans that ensure airflow all the time.

Chasing down mold and mildew is really a DIY "biohazard decontamination" project, but it you really attack it and get rid of it, it is much easier to prevent it from coming back. Attack it halfway--and it will always win.

ModMMax 11-25-2006 10:47 PM

The boat is a 1990 and as Faster said, probably a cocktail of fiberglass, head and other odours. Hellosailor, I think you have it figured out. Clean clean clean, eliminate possible sources and ventilate well and often. This is a new experience for us and maybe this boat aroma is something that goes with the territory. Interesting that while we were having the boat surveyed I asked both surveyers and the broker about the smell. All replied "shat smell". Anyway, thanks for the advice All. We are spending Xmas on the boat and I'll bet we will spend considerable time scrubing bilges and bathrooms. I'll let you know how it goes.

camaraderie 11-25-2006 10:47 PM

Mod...after you do all that stuff and it still smells...replace your head hoses! <grin>

sailingdog 11-26-2006 07:41 AM

Have you checked the head hoses to see if they're contributing to the stink. Wet a rag with really hot water... wrap it around the hose, and then after a few minutes take the hose off and sniff it... If you don't like the smell of the rag... replace all the hoses in the head. Sealand OdorSafe hose is probably the best hose to use—it is expensive, but is the most odor proof of the hoses available, according to Practical Sailor tests.

ianhlnd 11-26-2006 09:46 AM

I like that onion solution, and the coffee trick too.

I've had a couple of problems with bilge smell, diesel, head overflows, kerosene cooker smells, alcohol both denatured and spilled wine, broken head hoses, dead animal smells that come from not wearing socks in sneakers-you know the one I'm talking about- then there's the rotten fish smell from cleaning the catch in the galley and little pieces get lost, or even getting stuck in the galley sink hoses, the Raritan electro scan, etc., etc.

My answer to all this is MOUTHWASH. I went to the local 99 cent store and bought 4 quarts of the strongest mouthwash I could find, mixed it at 1 qt to one gallon of water and made up a little spray bottle for the rugs. Poured it down all the bilge hatches, anchor locker, heads, everywhere. Voila! smell gone, didn't clean, but sure made the interior smell a lot better. Even saved enough to gargle with.

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