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Old 06-23-2011, 06:46 AM   #1
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Vinyl (we think) ceiling odor?

So we bought a '95 Excella 30' a week or two ago and took it on our first trip last weekend. It performed well, except for two issues - one is the water heater, the other is that it has a smell from sitting closed up for a long time before we bought it.

We've tried airing it out, but that's not good enough. We think the smell is from the ceiling covering (which we think is vinyl), especially since the cabinets seemed to be the worst of it and the only thing in those is wood and the vinyl. We had some Twizzlers yesterday that tasted like camper...not good.

We bought some vinyl wipes to wipe it all down, and we did that last night, stem to stern, and in all the cabinets. We're hoping that cures the smell problem, though we're ready to move on to heavier-duty cleaners if necessary.

When I went to close up the camper last night, though, some of the vinyl came down. It looks like it separated from the foam backing. I'm thinking of getting some headliner glue for cars and trying to glue it back in place. Do you think that would work?

Also, do you think the vinyl is likely to be the source of the smell? I sniffed a couple of the curtains and couldn't detect the odor on that. We've hit the couch and chairs and mouse fur with a bunch of Febreze, but I'm not ruling those out. Unfortunately I don't know how to describe the smell - I'm familiar with the smell of mold, and it's not that. It doesn't smell like a dead animal or anything like that, either. It's really more of a chemical smell...
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:22 AM   #2
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We had a similar issue in our first Airstream. I used the wipes on the ceiling and walls, had the carpet cleaned, febreezed the couch and dinette and mattress It wasn't until we replaced the mattress that the smell went away. The smell was in the whole trailer and it was difficult to pinpoint where it was coming from. You,d think we would have known it was the mattress since we slept on it - but the mattress just smelled like the rest of the place - no worse.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:38 AM   #3
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We've also noticed a smell in other units, our trailer does not smell like that. The units smell like a horse barn to me, and I just can't figure out what the smell is. Hope you can find the culprit soon.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karenjude View Post
We had a similar issue in our first Airstream. I used the wipes on the ceiling and walls, had the carpet cleaned, febreezed the couch and dinette and mattress It wasn't until we replaced the mattress that the smell went away. The smell was in the whole trailer and it was difficult to pinpoint where it was coming from. You,d think we would have known it was the mattress since we slept on it - but the mattress just smelled like the rest of the place - no worse.
Thanks for the input. Our impression is that the smell is more in the dining area in the front of the trailer than the back - we noticed it a little bit on our clothes but not as badly as it was on the food, for example. We need to replace the mattress anyway so perhaps this will just move up that schedule!

Quote:
Originally Posted by krlajwvater View Post
We've also noticed a smell in other units, our trailer does not smell like that. The units smell like a horse barn to me, and I just can't figure out what the smell is. Hope you can find the culprit soon.
Horse barn may be exactly right - it was stored in a barn for a year or so before we bought it.

We were just talking and decided we'd open some windows (with awnings to prevent rain from getting in) and put fans in to move a lot of air through the camper.

Thanks for the quick suggestions. If anyone has other ideas, we'd love to hear them.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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it would not be wise to leave the trailer with the awnings deployed.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f442...uch-49862.html

falling headliners are an issue in that era.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f39/...lue-27939.html

use it and it will smell better :-)
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:14 AM   #6
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You might try running an Ozone machine for a day or two. A commercial type unit is best and can possibly be found at a rental store or an auto/rv detailer. These break down odor causing bacteria and reoplace it with ozone. Be sure to wait an hour or so after running before entering your trailer and then open the door and windows.

Good Luck !
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:40 AM   #7
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Our 98 31' has the same smell, we have tried gallons of Fabreze and cleaning the carpets and ceiling, and we even washed the curtains thinking it was the stiffener in the curtains. But so far nothing has helped. I'm very interested in trying the o-zone, but curious if anyone has tried it, and did it work?

We have just become accustom to the smell and when we bring in items from the Airstream we can tell it has that Airstream smell.

I will check out the mattress, never thought about it being full of plastics. We use a 4" foam topper on it because it's so hard. (and it's not the topper we added that later)

Damon
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
it would not be wise to leave the trailer with the awnings deployed.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f442...uch-49862.html
Believe me, I know firsthand the kind of damage an awning can sustain.

Quote:
falling headliners are an issue in that era.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f39/...lue-27939.html

use it and it will smell better :-)
Thanks for the link. We are trying to use it, but there are limits.
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:36 PM   #9
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We've been working on this. I instituted "Operation Fanalot", which involves turning on the roof fans, opening some windows, and turning on some house fans inside the camper. It seems to slowly be getting better.

Today I ran the carpet cleaner (Bissell machine) on the carpet in the bedroom, bathroom, and wheel well by the dinette. That's actually not very much carpet, but due to the restricted spaces I had to do it all with a small brush, so it took as long as doing the entire house does! But I think it helped quite a bit.

I also pulled some curtains and ran them through the delicate cycle and now having them drying on the rack. I definitely feel like we're knocking down the smell, if not eliminating it. Unfortunately the curtains didn't take too well to being washed (they're 16 years old and have been sitting in the sun...) - they're still usable, but are definitely coming apart.

Anyone have experience cleaning the mouse fur? I did a couple small patches of it with the steam cleaner to see what would happen, but I'm afraid to hit it too much for fear it will unglue itself or something.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:16 AM   #10
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Quick update on this - Operation Fanalot and the other cleaning helped, but we still noticed the faint smell of camper (as we call it) on our hamburger buns that were in a cabinet in the camper. We're continuing to air out the cabinets and are going to blow air into them to air them out better using a clip on fan we just got. Still, it's far, far better than it was!
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:24 AM   #11
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Ive always heard that several shallow saucers of Vinegar or Baking Soda help to remove odors..ooh Charcoal too.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:10 AM   #12
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Smile Smells in a trailer

Hi, I'm The Big Guy's wife. We bought a 1975 23ft. Safari a little over a year ago. We had a smell that we couldn't get rid of. We cleaned everything. Replaced all cloth surfaces. The Big Guy took out the gaucho couch in the front of the trailer so we could change over to a dinette. With that we pulled up the old carpet. Ah ha! the floor under the gaucho where we couldn't see was all rotten. So we had to replace the front portion of the floor. What a mess. Under the floor is insulation, this was soaking wet. New insulation, new sub floor, new flooring. Now no smell. Not sure if this is your problem. Your trailer is much newer than ours. Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Big Guy View Post
Hi, I'm The Big Guy's wife. We bought a 1975 23ft. Safari a little over a year ago. We had a smell that we couldn't get rid of. We cleaned everything. Replaced all cloth surfaces. The Big Guy took out the gaucho couch in the front of the trailer so we could change over to a dinette. With that we pulled up the old carpet. Ah ha! the floor under the gaucho where we couldn't see was all rotten. So we had to replace the front portion of the floor. What a mess. Under the floor is insulation, this was soaking wet. New insulation, new sub floor, new flooring. Now no smell. Not sure if this is your problem. Your trailer is much newer than ours. Good luck.
Thanks. The smell is almost certainly not rot - we know this one firsthand from some leak issues we had in the B190. The 'horse barn smell' someone mentioned above really does describe it well.

Plus, it's currently strongest in the cabinets where there is obviously no rotting at all.

We may try the vinegar/baking soda suggestion next.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater View Post
Anyone have experience cleaning the mouse fur? I did a couple small patches of it with the steam cleaner to see what would happen, but I'm afraid to hit it too much for fear it will unglue itself or something.


we've used Woolite spray foam carpet cleaner (grocery store item) with excellent results.

mouse fur will absorb virtually "no" water at all, so a wet vac might be handy for rinsing & drying. I'd stay away from "steam".


also, this post may be useful - http://www.airforums.com/forums/f431...ml#post1023519

best,
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