View Full Version : How much bleach is too much for a stinky bilge?

09-08-2003, 04:26 PM
I've read most of the archive posts on bilge stink and cleaning and I have tried Simple Green, Dilute bleach and Spic and Span and TSP. I've run lots of sea water and fresh water thru the bilge to pump out the BLACK water that lives there. It just comes back in a week and smells like rotten eggs.
My head plumbing is all new and has no leaks.
The area where I am docked had a huge algae bloom that preceded a massive fish kill last month and I think some of the algae may be in the bilge.
So, when folks say bleach is bad for the wood, what sort of concentration are they talking about? How strong do you mix the bleach to kill off the nasties in your bilge?

09-08-2003, 05:41 PM
Sounds like you've used everything BUT what you should use--a strong solution of detergent and water, in severe cases a power washer may needed too--followed by a THOROUGH hosing out.

Sea water, btw, is the worst thing you can do...it only adds micro-organisms to the existing primordial soup.

The recent algae bloom in Narragansett Bay is a unique situation. So this time, you prob'ly should use bleach in the rinse water--a strong solution of it--at least 8 oz to 10 gallons of water. Let it stay for at least 3 hours, but no longer than 24, then hose it all out. It's not a single "shock treatment" that's damaging...it's the cumulative effect of bleach and other corrosives used constantly over time that does the damage.

The best thing you can do to prevent it coming back is to keep the bilge as dry as possible--not easy to do in a wooden hull, I realize. But it is possible to do a lot better than just leaving the water the bilge pumps leave behind in the bilge to ferment. Use a hand pump and bucket or a shop vac to get as much as possible. Leave hatches open wherever you can when you close up the boat...fresh air is the enemy of primordial soup makers.

If you plan to come to the Newport show this weekend, stop by the Defender booth and say hi.

09-09-2003, 08:49 AM
Peggy, you have been the one missing piece to The Forum. Now it is perfect. Well maybe our own Forum Bilge needs some cleaning from time to time but....

Good to see ya from the old Compuserve Sailing Forum.

09-09-2003, 04:52 PM
Hiya Norm...thanks for the kind words! smile.gif

I really MISS the old OLYC! Not to take anything away from this site, but nothing since even comes close to what we all had there.

Great to reconnect with you!

Scott Rosen
09-09-2003, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by HeadMistress:
I really MISS the old OLYC! Not to take anything away from this site, but nothing since even comes close to what we all had there.Not to take anything away from OLYC, but nothing even comes close to what we once had here . . .

Good bilge advice.