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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Musty boat smell under floor
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Thread: Musty boat smell under floor Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-02-2012 12:32 PM
PorFin
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

Bleach and stainless steel don't play well together...
09-02-2012 10:23 AM
zeehag
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

my favorite killing agent is difficult to find in reality--is named concept 2 5 6. kills everything. bleach kills NOTHING. hiv demise out of corpus was attributed to 1:10,000 bleach in water--but that dies within 10 mins of leaving body anyway.
molds and fungus do not die in bleach.
whiten your clothing in bleach, but it will not kill mold or algae.
09-01-2012 10:57 PM
hellosailor
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

I'm not bashing you, I'm just saying you are taking things out of context. Bleach is alkaline, vinegar is acidic, they both push the normal ph about the same amount towards the extremes--just in opposite directions. The effects of bleach (or soap) on cell membranes and other direct "attacks" is something else again. Bleach physically attacks many things including the wallpaper or paint or plastic of environmental surfaces, and as such it may be less suitable as an environmental cleaner in hospitals.

Then again, considering the state of septic control in most hospitals, I'd have to question the attention paid or research done in any of them. Yes, there are many secondary infections still needlessly killing hospital patients and even in ICUs I've seenplenty of them that could not pass a simple white glove inspection. How yours was? I don't know.I do know that most hospitals are good places to get infected because they just don't practice basic hygiene unless someone has forced them to do so.

There are exceptions, like the Hospital for Special Surgery (NY) which has been putting entire surgical teams in moon suits in order to protect ortho surgery patients. They're not the only ones--but they are among the rare ones that take infections seriously.

Check out Biohazard Level 4 decontamination procedures if you want to talk about clean and sterile. And on the way there, you'll find bleach--not vinegar--used at the more casual levels. Neither one is good enough for BHL4 but if you ask anyone in that end of the business, they'll go for bleach over vinegar every time. And unlike hospitals, they're quite serious about results.

Hospital disinfection? "While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 1.7 million hospital infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year, he says, those numbers don’t calculate deaths caused by, rather than merely associated with infections patients get in the hospital. "
From the disreputable folks at the Wall Street Journal.
Study: Half of Infection Deaths Linked Directly to Hospital Care - Health Blog - WSJ

You take a petri dish, you take a microscope, you'll see that vinegar is better than water, but best as a salad dressing.
09-01-2012 10:19 PM
zeehag
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

bleach is bleach. it turns mold WHITE doesnt kill it. not even what it can reach. it turns it white by bleaching it. isnt dead--just bleached,,LOL if you think is dead--keep up the attempts to kill it by using bleach.
i dont have any trouble in my wet boat with mold or mildew--i washed it well in vinegar when i got her and no more mold. i have done this since 1990 with each boat i have owned, and never had to repeat the operation.
this formosa is wettest boat i have had because no one paid attention to it-- vinegar KILLS the mold AND changes its environment so it doesnt come back is easy and simple.
if you cannot understand it, consider researching studies in germ control put out by cdc and various hospitals as they have to make sure these microbes are not alive when performing surgery on you and feeding you and keeping your ice machine clean. many studies have been done. yes i participated in them as i have been rn in emergency and icu and manager in post anes care for ever.
i know all about what kills what organism, as we had to kill em in our workplaces.
wanna bash me some more?????? LOL
09-01-2012 10:12 PM
hellosailor
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

zeehag, bleach isn't paint. It doesn't "color" anything, it removes color. Put a couple of drops in a cup of cola, watch it turn clear. That's what we call bleaching things out--removing the color, not adding color (white or otherwise) to anything.

As to whether it kills mold or not, the answer appears to be that it does kill the mold it can reach--but that it doesn't penetrate as well as other things do, so it won't kill the mold that has gone below the surface in porous surfaces.

See Chlorine Bleach Effects for some cites on that.

Put some mold in a petri dish. Add bleach. The mold dies. Yes, it is that simple, in that context of non-porous surfaces. If there's bare wood, that's porous. It there's only FRP, that's not. YMMV.
09-01-2012 08:31 PM
zeehag
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

bleach does not kill mold -- it just colors it white.
spores still live.
vinegar changes pH of the environment so no more mold. spores die.
i have been doing this since 1990 with excellent results and i learned from someone who did it for decades before teaching me to do vinegar.
soap and water killeth not molds.
enjoy.
09-01-2012 05:58 PM
hellosailor
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

Boise-
Understand that simply killing mold, whether you use bleach, vinegar, or any common chemical, will simply result in dead mold. Ah, you say, that's what you want! Wrong.

Dead mold is just more food for live mold to re-establish itself in. You do not want dead mold, because it is just a buffet for the next batch of mold to feast on.

Now, if you kill the mold and lay down some chemical that will keep killing it, like arsenic or tin or some other toxin that's not so good for humans either, that will kill the mold and make the buffet toxic for generations to come. I suspect that's why old-sailer has good luck with vinegar--followed by a chemical fungicide! The fungicide is doing all the work.

So it comes back to killing the crud, which is EASY, and then eliminating it, which requires washing and scrubbing in an inaccessible place. A refrigerator coil brush might get in there, or a steam cleaner. You want to wash as best you can, to remove the "buffet". And then you need to keep that space clean and dry, well ventilated, or else stuff enough fungicide in there to keep what remains toxic to the crud.

The process is simple, and sequential, and there are no shortcuts. "Crud" is some of the most widespread and effective lifeforms on the planet. Set a buffet out, and it will grow. Keep the space clean and dry? And it doesn't grow there. Doesn't matter which tools you use, as long as they do the same jobs.

(Fungicide, mildecide, quaternary compounds...whatever, they tend to overlap on "crud" killing.)
09-01-2012 05:34 PM
zeehag
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

can it be rinsed with vinegar.....even bilge soap will help. but vinegar will really help a lot.
09-01-2012 05:13 PM
Boise137
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

Quote:
Originally Posted by old-sailer View Post
Can I pass on a little chemistry that was given to me.... take the advise of leave it. Up to you....

When fighting mould chlorine actually feeds the mould. It bleaches the mould so it appears to disappear but in fact it's still there and will return quickly.

Vinegar, plain white vinegar kills 95% of mould on contact. Buy a garden weed sprayer and a 4 litre jug of white vinegar and using a fine spray do all those hidden places on your boat. Yes it will smell like french fries for a couple of days but with good ventilation that will dissipate.

Follow up with a mould preventer sold at any good marine store.

Mount a solar fan in the top of a hatch to ensure good continuous ventilation and you will keep mould to a minimum.

Try it..
I like this idea, it's not actually my bilge that I am talking about. Its the area under the floor Forward of the bilge. I did install a mini 12v computer fan to a through hull passive vent line in the engine compartment area. This seemed to really help with the overall smell so far.
08-24-2012 05:03 PM
hellosailor
Re: Musty boat smell under floor

"or using spa chlorine tablets in the bilge..."
Minne, I've had the same temptations to pull a blanket over the keel and chuck the tablets in to kill critters. But also the same reservation, chlorine tends to make things come apart. Stainless keel bolts should prove that very quickly.

A musty smell is likely to be mildew. Plenty of threads about how to get rid of that. Clean it, dry it, keep it ventilated, no magic there. No shortcuts, either.
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