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Magical Kanberra Gel Cleans Mold, Mildew or Bad Odors

We first discovered Kanberra gel at the Annapolis boat show. My first reaction was that it seemed expensive, but I liked the smell (very fresh and clean) and the salesperson’s explanation that it cleans and disinfects and goes after odors, mold and mildew without chemicals so I bought the smallest size to try. Now I’m a believer and because a little goes a long way, I consider it an essential and inexpensive part of our continual boat maintenance plan.

What Kanberra is Made Of

Kanberra is made of pharmaceutical-grade Australian Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Lemon-scented Tea Tree Oil (Leptospermum petersonii) . Their natural antiseptic properties do the work as the oils to become airborne through evaporation.

How it works

At the microbiotic level, Kanberra works by diffusing its oils into the air. As the air circulates and lands on the source (the mold, mildew, things that cause odors, etc.), Kanberra begins neutralizing and eliminating these undesirables. It also acts as a preventive against mold or mildew developing.

Testing and Side-by-Side Comparison

Thanks to ecofamilynews.blogspot for sharing this mold experiment. They put equal-sized pieces of moldy bread in separate containers and added various mold/odor eliminating products into each. Voila! Kanberra was the only one that killed the mold.



The brilliance of Kanberra Gel is that it can be placed anywhere, as long as you have a flat surface. It’s a gel, so if the container tips, it will spill – although not immediately.

What’s recommended by the company is these three ways to use it:

Shock Mode (2-3 days) – Uncap the product and place it open without the diffuser lid.
Maintenance Mode (up to 30 days) – Place the diffuser lid on the container to slow overall evaporation.
Protection Mode (30 to 90 days) – The application area is effectively ‘clean’ and the product will now provide airborne protection against any re-growth.

How Long Does Kanberra Last?

Kanberra gradually evaporates into the air as it does its work. Depending on how much you have exposed to the air, this rate will vary of course. It lasts a long, long time though. What I’ve observed is that if we put Kanberra in an enclosed, damp place, such as our forward generator locker, it works “harder” and doesn’t last as long. That’s okay by me because it’s there to do a job and I’ll happily replace it because I know it’s working. Similarly on the other side of the boat in our forward sail locker, Kanberra Gel is brilliant for how it keeps our sails from mildewing when they’re stored.

That said, here is a chart from Kanberra the company that may be useful.

Typical Size Usage Chart
Container Size

Appropriate Usage

Two (2) Ounce
Small Areas (100 sq ft or less)
Examples: Cars, Closets, Bathrooms, Sport Bags
Marine: Bilge, Head, Small Cabins, Compartments, Storage of small boats up to 15′
Four (4) Ounce
Medium Areas (100-200 sq ft)
Examples: Smaller Rv’s, Small bedrooms, Baby Changing Areas, Small Basements/Storage Areas, Offices
Marine: Medium Cabins,, Air Handling Units, Storage of boats up to 25′
Eight (8) Ounce
Larger Areas (200 sq ft or larger)
Examples: Living Rooms, Large Bedrooms, Great Rooms, Pool Houses, Larger Basements/Storage Areas, Larger Rv’s

How Much to Use?

I used to buy the little sizes but now I find it’s more cost-effective to buy the large refill package (we get it on Amazon when we can’t get to a boat show).

It lasts me a year or two. I put small amounts around the boat when we leave it shut up for any length of time.  When we come back, the light green kanberra has turned dark green and looks drier and if I stir it and there’s not light green left, I throw it away and squeeze out a little more.

Where we Buy Kanberra

If we’re at a boat show we can usually find 5-7% off prices. In the non-boat show world, we rely on Amazon to buy Kanberra and find their prices are competitive. This link will take you to the full array of Kanberra products:

The small containers with the holes in the lid are great for lockers 24/7 . I use the refill large size and fill my own containers inside the boat. In a pinch, if we’re out of Kanberra, we’ve also put pure Tee tree Oil out in dishes. It’s too strong and leaves too much odor we find. We do find it’s nice to wipe down anything that has the beginnings of mold or mildew.

2 Comments on Magical Kanberra Gel Cleans Mold, Mildew or Bad Odors

  1. Marlies Rapps // June 15, 2019 at 9:48 am // Reply

    Can it be used to eliminate ferret odors

    • That’s an interesting question, Marlies. We’ve never used Kanberra to eliminate animal odors because we don’t have pets on Golden Glow, but it might work. The worst smells we’ve had (which still made us smile : ) was whale breath coming in through our windows when the humpbacks hung out near the boat all night long in Palmerston, Cook Islands. Try the kanberra and let us know if it gets rid of ferret odor – and please tell us how you come to interact with ferrets…are they pets? Best, Ellen

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