Smelly Hatch.

I purchased a used kayak. It needed a good cleaning and I did that. However both the front and back hatches just reek. Stale river water. I’ve washed them out, but they still stink. This is a rotomold kayak. Do you think washing out w/Bleach would take care of it? I don’t want to use anything that would 1)Would be toxic to waterlife or 2)would destroy the glue etc… in the hatch.

Any ideas?


baking soda
try scrubbing with a paste of baking soda and water, rinse, and let dry completly.

Dilute Sodium Hypochlorite
Use a diluted solution of bleach in a clean weed sprayer that hasn’t been used for any kind of poison. Put about a 1/2 to 1 cup of bleach in a gallon of water, spray the inside of the hatches and let it sit awhile. Rinse well. The dilution of the bleach shouldn’t hurt anything environmental. You could make a solution in a quart spray bottle, too. You might get tired of pumping the trigger and the weed sprayer has a longer reach into the bow and stern. Keep eyes and nose out of mist.


Kill the microbes
Use the aforementioned strategies, or try Lysol. The lemon-scented version of their disinfectant mixed according to directions seems to kill off the river funk in my gear. Leaves it lemony-fresh as well!


InSole Odor Eaters
Hey, don’t laugh too hard until you think about it. If they’ll kill the odor in smelly combat boots then your hatches will be no problem. Put 'em in and seal the hatches for a couple of days.

If that doesn’t work then try some fabric softener laundry sheets.


…to work would be 4 or 5 charcoal briquettes in each compartment. Either lay them on a piece of paper or put them in a small container which is fairly flat so air can get at them all and circulate. If this doesn’t work, just take them back and tell them I said to give you your money back.

Rubbing alcohol
I don’t know if it would do the trick, but it reduces the funky-water smell in my neoprene booties. Bleach does, too, but I consider that a harsher solution.

Paint thinner
I used to detail boats and cars. heres a good trick.

Use paint thinner (or rubbing alcohol) but pain thinner is better. Rub all of the inside pretty thoroughly. Remember that pain thinner will dissolve the top layer (very very little amount) the top layer is what is holding in the smell. Once you give that a good once over cover the hatch for about and hour then open it and let it air out. Thats Used to work for me on boats that had plastic fish hatches. Make sure after it it airated for 24 hours that you rinse it thoroughly.

pet pee remover
Yeah I knw it sounds funny but it works. Pet Miracle or something like that…a couple of sprays in the plastic hatch and it cuts the funky smell.

Also, store your kayak with the hatches open if you have it inside.


The French
use eau de Cologne

Some of the aforementioned solutions
might work on the French, as well

I’ll put my NRS boundary shoes…
in there for a few hours.

That will take care of things!

Although that might be “toxic to wildlife”, so I better not.



Hey everybody, thanks alot. I have a bunch of good ideas and if the weather cooperates, I will try some of them this weekend.

My original boat, which is the same model, I try to wipe down the hatches after using them. I’ve never had the smell in them.

Don’t use paint thinner
While it WON’T dissolve the polyethylene (they ship paint thinner in polyethylene bottles), it may adversely affect the adhesive/sealant used on the bulkheads.

My vote would be for a weak bleach solution.