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How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

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  • How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

    We purchased a used boat this spring, and the full canvas that came with it has a very strong musty smell. Does anyone know a good way to get rid of the smell? How about a good, safe way to clean up the vinyl side?Thanks, Zoomer


  • #2
    Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

    Install the full canvas on the boat then place your ozone generator inside it for 24 hours. Voila, no musty smell. Guaranteed!

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    • #3
      Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

      Put an ozone generator inside your boat with no idea what ozone is and no idea what size to use or what precautions to take. Voila! Kill yourself!The canvas should be taken off, washed with a stiff brush and mild soapsuds on a hard flat surface (like your driveway), rinsed well and allowed to air dry. This will get rid of the disease, not just the symptom.Mike PFrom Vancouver BC...no comment needed

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      • #4
        Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

        Whats an ozone generator???????? Jim

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        • #5
          Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

          The canvas need to be deep cleaned.If the canvas is white you can use a mild bleach and soapy water combo.The vinyl side can be cleaned well with softscrub or greased lightning.The other side is where the musty smell is probably coming from.You will need to kill any mildew or mold to get rid of the smell totally.Soaking in white vinegar will also kill some mildew.Charlie

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          • #6
            Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

            Originally posted by Stratocaster: Put an ozone generator inside your boat with no idea what ozone is and no idea what size to use or what precautions to take. Voila! Kill yourself!
            Ozone is simply an unstable oxygen molecule,O3, instead of 02. It will not blow up. It is an excellent oxidizer commonly used for such purposes. I wouldn't be without a generator. Use it to freshen up your autos, deoderize your bathrooms or pet areas. It does not act like a cover up spray, it actually kills the organisms or destroys the compounds (like tabacco smoke) that make the odor. If the boat covering has no stains there is no sense in compromising it's water repellancy by scrubbing it down. http://www.air-zone.com/?OVRAW=ozone...OVMTC=standard I have no interest or affiliation with this outfit. I just picked one off the internet for explanation purposes.

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            • #7
              Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

              Lots of air cleaners in bars etc, have ozone generators.Living Aire markets a line of models for home and commercial use.Don't know if it will work real well on mold or mildew though.But they work on bacteria and smoke.



              Medford, WI

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              • #8
                Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

                Boomyal, I never said it would blow up. The problem is that ozone is quite toxic when allowed to accumulate in enclosed areas with limited ventilation. I stand behind my comment, and discourage anyone from trying this himself. Ozone will, of course, work very well, but in the concentrations required to be effective on mildew, should only be used by a pro. Another consideration is that it deteriorates plastic and rubber. The word "oxidizer" is the key. It oxidizes everything it contacts!Canvas tops should be cleaned and re-treated every year anyway, so what's the problem with compromising its water repellency by scrubbing it?

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                • #9
                  Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

                  Thanks for the tips everyone. I don't have an ozone generator, so I'll try the soap and vinegar idea. The back really doesn't appear to be stained much at all, but it sure has an odor. Any suggestion on kind of soap, or should I just use dish washing soap or car wash soap? About what ratio of vinegar? Thanks again!

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                  • #10
                    Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

                    Once doneand all is clean and fresh, remember to ensure ventilation when cover is on.A well ventilated, clean & dry boat stays fresh and odeor free much longer. I make sure my boat is clean and tidy after every use, put on the cover and haven't had any smell issues for the 13 years I've owned the boat. It is stored in a carport (protected yet ventilated).

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                    • #11
                      Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

                      This may help, it's a post I authored at Bayliner Owners' Club. It is probably overkill for your application, but it should answer any questions you have.Mike P===========================================This is a set of instructions on how to clean boat accessories made from acrylic fabric.Sunbrella is a 'high-end' acrylic fabric used to make boat accessories such as bimini tops, mooring covers, cushion coverings, fender sleeves and windlass covers. Glen Raven Mills (Sunbrella's manufacturer) have cleaning instructions on their website as well. These instructions are from my own experience, gained through trial and error. After I do this procedure, the fabric looks like new, even when crusted with seagull crap and green mildew.If cleaned and treated properly, this fabric will last a very long time. Sunbrella is not typically used by Bayliner for the factory canvas but it is usually the fabric of choice for replacements. These instructions are only for Sunbrella. Your fabric may require different procedures. So here we go.......--------------------------------------------------What you need before starting:- Bar of Ivory Soap®- Cheese grater- Stiff brush- Push broom- 303 Aerospace Hi Tech Fabric Guard®- Razor blade (huh?)--------------------------------------------------1. Remove the canvas from the boat. This is very important. Both sides of the canvas need to be scrubbed while being supported from the other side. Leaving it on the frame will absolutely not provide this support and will result in a half-assed cleaning job. (If the frame pockets are sewn in, requiring disassembly of the frame to remove the top, don't fret. Take a deep breath and slice open the pockets with a razor blade. Then take the top to a canvas shop and have zippers put in where you've cut it. This is what I did, and I can have the top off in less than a minute now).2. OK you have the canvas off. Fill a 5 gal bucket with warm water. Using the grater, grate about ½ of the bar of soap into the water. Mix it up until the soap is dissolved. DON'T use anything other than a natural soap. It may harm the fabric.3. Lay the fabric on a clean, hard surface (the dock, your driveway etc) and wet it with a hose. Pour some soapy water on the fabric.4. Scrub it vigorously in all directions with the push broom until a good pile of suds covers the whole area.5. Scrub all the edges with the stiff brush. Edges concentrate the dirt and mildew and require this extra step. If severe mildew exists, don't use strong bleach to remove it. This will severely weaken cotton thread. Use a weak bleach/natural soap solution, just enough so it smells 'bleachy', scrub it in and let soak for at least 20 minutes.6. Hose off with a strong stream of clean water until no more suds appear.7. Flip it over and repeat everything above.8. Drape the canvas over something and let it air dry. Do not put in a dryer. I drape mine on a pool table and blow air over it with a fan. This dries my top in less than an hour.9. Take the canvas outside and spray it with 303 Fabric Guard until wet. Allow to dry and apply a second coat. This provides water-repellency to factory specs.10. When dry, re-install on the boat.--------------------------------------------------If you do this twice a year, the fabric will look like new almost all the time and will remain water-repellent.See Glen Raven's website for more info on Sunbrella:www.sunbrella.com/usa/

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

                        You can go full strength on the vinegar,it wont hurt anything.Stick with soap and stay away from detergent.Charlie

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                        • #13
                          Re: How do I get musty smell out of canvas?

                          Thanks everyone! I'll go with the grated Ivory bar soap and throw in some vinegar for good measure.

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