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How to Get Rid of Boat Odors

How to Get Rid of Boat Odors

How to Get Rid of Boat Odors

Sailing over the water on a clear, sunshiny day on your own vessel is one of the best experiences you can ever have. The illusion might end, however, once you go down below decks and you are greeted by the smell of years and years of neglect.

Whether you use your boat regularly or only for short periods of time throughout the year, you need to make sure that your boat does not become the permanent residence of unwanted odors.

Getting rid of bad smells in your boat is both simple and challenging.

There are little things that you can do, such as throwing out the trash after every trip, not leaving food to rot on board, cleaning up stains quickly before they set in, and other such general upkeep chores.

On the other hand, you also have to battle other kinds of odors that will prove more difficult to get rid of. If your boat smells, there is usually a reason for it. You just have to follow your nose to determine where the culprit lies, and deal with it appropriately.

If your boat has been sitting in storage for the past several months,

you can most definitely expect that stale cabinet-y smell when you first take it out of the trailer or the boathouse. Allow the boat to air out for a day or two before using it, because the not-so-lovely smell will definitely tone down the fun for you. Open all the lockers, drawers, cabinets, and windows to allow fresh air to circulate freely throughout the boat.

To speed up the sanitizing process, you can fill a large glass bowl with charcoal briquettes or activated charcoal. For the areas where the smell is awfully strong, place a bowl filled with vinegar. Both charcoal and vinegar will pull the bad odors from the air, giving your nose a break from the locked-in scent.

Washing your carpets, curtains, and mats

will also contribute to improving your boat’s overall odor. Sprinkle baking soda on all fabric surfaces that you can’t wash and let it sit for an hour or two. Afterwards, vacuum everything thoroughly to pull up the dust and baking soda powder.

Finally, check you boat’s bilge to see if there’s scrum that needs to be disposed of immediately.

Your bilge is the smelliest and nastiest place on board, so you have to make sure that you get rid of the greasy water every now and then. The bilge may also be home to microorganisms and contaminants that will make your boat smell even worse than it normally does. Use a heavy-duty bilge cleaner to get rid of the yucky odor, or hire the services of a steam detailing company to do the job for you.

Other areas with specific boat odor include

the chain/rode locker, which will of course smell of the sea and of mud every time you pull up anchor, as well as the engine compartment, which will be reminiscent of every time you’ve greased the engine block. You can use a bleach solution for the first, and a vinegar-and-water mixture for the second.

If you have mold odor in your boat, check out our post on the topic or better yet – call the pros to handle it for you!

Schedule your appointment for boat detailing with us today!


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