Clean Air Without Chemicals

Kanberra Gel can spruce up your boat naturally.

November 23, 2011

Kanberra Gel

The polymer-based Kanberra includes tea-tree oil. Kanberra Gel

The hairs inside my nostrils twitched in anticipation, but they detected nothing.

Nothing? Mold is a longtime foe aboard Land’s End, my 1935 wooden Crocker ketch. So when an old-fashioned print advertisement for mold-and-mildew assassin Kanberra Gel caught my eye, I perked up.

It’ll never work, I fretted, glancing around the main saloon, gazing woefully at cushions and pillows I faithfully haul off the boat each fall and launder each winter.


Now it was spring, and I’d dragged every sweet-smelling thing aboard again, but with fading optimism that by September, all would stay fresh as a daisy.

But I learned that the polymer-based Kanberra includes tea-tree oil, which attacks airborne mold spores and bacterial growth and actually breaks them down. Note: Kanberra Gel isn’t a deodorizer. The proof that it’s working isn’t the scent of pine or lemon or fresh linen; it’s nothing but clean air.

That’s the point, says product developer David Levesque. Levesque, who’s worked in indoor-filtration and air-purifier systems for clients ranging from the U.S. Navy to the health-care and hospitality industries, devised the product after “drinking lots of rum on a hiking trip.” His first foray into the marine industry was via the megayacht market, and he struck a nerve. The product is available at coastal chandleries and on line.


Any sailor can relate to the rum-drinking bit, so I gave it a go. Sold in self-dispensing jars ranging in volume from two to eight ounces, the gel is easily distributed belowdecks. Eight ounces, enough for a boat of about 40 feet, lasts for two to three months, and that period can be extended with each reapplication.

The verdict? After placing it in the saloon and shutting Land’s End up tight, I gleefully admit—it does work, and it keeps working. For more about this natural gel, log on to the product’s website. Also available at


More How To