Leather is a luxurious material that often adds an air of sophistication to furniture and accessories. However, leather can also be quite smelly. If you’ve just bought a piece of leather furniture or got a new leather jacket, you may be wondering how to remove the smell. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of the stench and make your leather items smell fresh again!
Why Can Leather Smell
Leather is a natural material that can be used in many applications, from clothing to furniture and accessories. It is strong, durable, and fashionable but it also has its drawbacks. Leather has an inherent smell that can be quite unpleasant for some people.
The smell of leather is caused by the tanning process. Tanning is when hides are treated in a series of chemicals to make them durable and pliable enough to use for various purposes, such as upholstery, clothing, and accessories. The process involves soaking the hides in a bath with salts, oils, dyes, other additives, and sometimes formaldehyde-based products. This can give off an odor that often lingers on leather items. Not all types of leather have this strong smell but it can be difficult to remove once it has settled into the material.
More often than not, the natural odor of leather is well-liked by many people, but there are those who don’t enjoy it too.
And besides the natural smell, leather can also absorb other odors. Cigarette smoke, pet smells, and other household smells can easily get absorbed into the material causing an unpleasant smell on leather items.
Mold is another culprit, and it can occur when leather items are stored in damp and humid places for too long. Mold growth causes an unpleasant musty smell that is difficult to remove from the material. Not only this, but mold can also damage the leather, making it more difficult to remove any unpleasant odors.
But why does the smell stay? Well, leather is a porous material, which allows the odors to become trapped within its fibers. This makes it difficult for air or other cleaning agents to penetrate and remove the smell.
Smells not only linger but also can get stronger over time. This is because the smell-causing molecules get trapped on and within the leather material, binding to the proteins and staying there. And when those smells become ingrained in the material, they can be hard to remove.   
How to Get Rid of Smells From Your Leather?
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help combat the unpleasant odor of leather. Read on for our top tips on how to remove the leather smell from your items. We will discuss methods specific to various types of leather, so you can find the right one for your situation.
Identify the leather type you have
The first step in removing the smell of leather is to identify what type of leather you are working with. Leather comes in many forms, from full-grain to faux leather and more. Each type of material requires different methods for getting rid of unpleasant odors.
For example, suede leather requires a very specific method for cleaning. If you are unsure of the type of leather you have, it is always best to consult with a professional or do some research online.
This is an important step as the wrong cleaning method can cause damage to the material. To identify your leather type, look for tags or labels on the item that will tell you what kind of leather it is made from.
Sometimes the solution is that simple: the smell of leather may dissipate over time if it’s allowed to air out in a well-ventilated area. This is especially effective if you’ve recently purchased a new item that has an off-putting smell. Move the item to another room or somewhere away from people, pets, and strong odors, and open a window or door for ventilation. If you can, open or remove any zippers and leave your items outside for several days. The sun and wind will help waft away the unpleasant odor.
Get rid of excess dirt first
For stubborner stains, you may use a solution of water and pH-neutral soap. Again, make sure to avoid soaking the leather.
Do not skip this step as it will help ensure that the other methods you use are as effective as possible.
Vinegar solution method
One of the easiest ways to remove odors from leather is using a vinegar solution. Vinegar is an acidic liquid that naturally cleans and disinfects surfaces. It also has deodorizing properties, making it useful for getting rid of smells from leather items.
To make your own vinegar solution, mix one-part white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle or bowl. Shake or stir well before use to ensure the mixture is combined properly. Spray or dip a soft cloth into the solution and gently wipe down the affected area on the leather item. You may want to try this method on an inconspicuous spot first just to make sure it won’t cause any discoloration.
If you find that straight vinegar is too strong for your leather, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the solution. This will both help mask the smell and make the vinegar solution less harsh on the material.
Wrap and stuff the leather in a newspaper
This method is best used for items that cannot be washed or soaked, such as furniture cushions. The idea is to stuff the leather with newspaper and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. This will help to absorb any odors that are trapped in the material.
To begin, stuff your leather item with crumpled-up newspapers. Make sure the paper reaches all parts of the item and fill any crevices or gaps you can find. Once the item is stuffed full of paper, carefully wrap it in plastic wrap. Secure the ends with tape if necessary.
Leave the wrapped item to sit overnight or longer if needed until you no longer smell the odor coming from it. When finished, remove all newspapers and plastic wrap and discard
If you are trying to get rid of the smell from leather shoes, one method is to stuff them with newspaper. The paper will help absorb the odor and also maintain the shape of the shoes.
Remove the laces and any other removable parts from the shoe, then fill them with newspaper pages that have been scrunched up into balls or strips. Do not stuff them with too much paper as this can cause damage.
You can do the same with leather bags, wallets, and other items. However, you may want to use a different material such as cotton balls or fabric scraps instead of newspaper, as these can be more gentle on the material.
Let the leather age
Chances are that you have a new leather item and wonder how to get rid of the smell. In this case, time is often your ally. The leather will naturally age and the smells will dissipate over time. This can take several weeks, but patience is key in this situation.
The smell that comes with new leather is one of the most discussed topics. Many people feel that it is a pungent, unpleasant odor.
In some cases, manufacturers will add additional oils and dyes in order to enhance the color and texture of their product. These additives also contribute to a strong smell that can be difficult to remove.
Finally, when leather products are stored in warehouses, they may become infused with the smells from the surrounding environment. This can make it even more difficult to remove the smell from leather items.
Try to keep the item stored away from any other scented items and make sure it gets plenty of air circulation. You may also want to use a fan or open window to help speed up the process.
This is especially effective for furniture items, as the leather will slowly “breathe” and let out any odors that are trapped inside. It may take several weeks or longer to see results, but it is an easy and natural way of getting rid of smells.
It is important not to speed up the aging process with chemicals or other methods, as this can cause damage to the material. Instead, just give it time and air it out whenever possible.
Use a leather cleaner
Another effective option at your disposal is to use a leather cleaner. These products are specifically designed for cleaning and deodorizing leather items without damaging them.
First, check the instructions on your product of choice to be sure it’s safe for the type of leather you are dealing with. Then apply the cleaner on a clean cloth. Rub gently in circular motions until all of the cleaners have been absorbed by the material.
When finished, wipe away any excess cleaner with a dry cloth to prevent it from causing discoloration. Allow your item to air dry before using it again. Leather cleaners are often scented so you can get the added benefit of a pleasant, fresh smell.
Remember to spot-test all cleaners in an unseen area first just to make sure they won’t damage the material. Different leather items may require different cleaning products so be sure to do your research before buying any cleaner.
If you find that one application isn’t enough, let the item sit overnight and then reapply as necessary. You should notice a significant decrease in odors after multiple applications if done correctly.
Seal the item in baking soda
For smaller leather items, such as wallets, purses, and shoes, an effective way to remove the unwanted smell is by sealing the item in baking soda. Baking soda is one of the most popular agents for removing smells, including leather. It is an effective odor-absorbing powder that can be used to eliminate odors from leather and other materials that have been trapped within the leather material.
Simply place your leather item in a sealed bag or container and sprinkle some baking soda on top. Seal it up tightly and let it sit for 24 hours before opening and discarding the used baking soda.
If you still notice some traces of smell after this method, try repeating this process with fresh baking soda every few days until the smell has completely gone away. This method is best used when removing smaller smells like cigarette smoke or pet odors.
Be sure to completely wipe the baking soda after you’re done, as it can leave a white residue on the leather if not removed properly.
Condition your leather items regularly
Leather conditioners are products designed to protect and enhance the look and feel of leather. They can help nourish the material so it remains soft, supple, and attractive for years to come. Leather conditioners also help repel water and prevent excess moisture from seeping into the material. This helps keep the leather looking its best and prevents bacteria from forming on the surface, which could lead to an unpleasant odor.
And yes, you can use leather conditioners to help get rid of odor from your leather items. By regular conditioning and cleaning your leather, you can prevent any bad smells from sticking around for too long.
When choosing a leather conditioner, consider selecting one that is specifically designed for your type of leather. Different types of leather may require different types of conditioning products in order to maintain their look and feel over time. If you’re not sure what kind of product is right for your leather item, ask a knowledgeable sales associate at a leather store or contact the manufacturer directly.
Using a quality leather conditioner on your items will help keep them looking beautiful and smelling great for years to come. For best results, always follow the instructions provided on the product’s label. Doing so will help ensure that your leather item is properly protected while also retaining its natural softness and beauty.
It’s important to note that you should not over-condition your leather as this could cause it to become too greasy and attract dirt. To clean off any excess conditioner, simply wipe down the surface with a damp cloth.
You should aim to condition your leather items every six months or so, depending on how often they are used or exposed to direct sunlight and moisture. This will help keep them looking their best while preventing bad smells from setting in.    
How to Prevent Leather Odors
While there’s a variety of solutions available for getting rid of existing odors, it’s important to remember that prevention is the best method. Taking steps now to protect your leather items from bad smells can save you time and money in the long run.
Dry wet leather as soon as possible
If the leather gets wet, it’s important to dry it as soon as possible. Not only can moisture cause the material to degrade faster, but it also increases the chances of unpleasant odors developing. To speed up the drying process, use a hair dryer on cool or warm settings (not hot).
Only use specialized cleaning products
Leather is a delicate material, so it’s important to only use cleaning products specifically designed for it. Regular cleaning solutions could damage the surface and create additional problems with odors. If you’re unsure what type of product to use, check the label or consult with a leather expert.
Keep leather away from strong-smelling substances
Strong-smelling substances like perfume, cologne, and smoke can cause odors to linger on leather items. To prevent this from happening, make sure to keep your leather goods away from these types of smells as much as possible.
If you smoke, we suggest keeping your leather items outside or in rooms with good ventilation. You may also want to invest in an air purifier, as these can help reduce the amount of smoke and other odors in the environment.
And if you have pets, you may want to consider keeping your leather items in a different room or investing in furniture covers. This will help keep pet dander and other odors away from your leather goods.
Clean leather regularly
Regular cleaning is a great way to maintain the quality of your leather items and reduce bad smells before they start. Clean leather once a month with a damp cloth and specialized cleaner, then use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess moisture.
How do you get smells out of leather?
Removing smells from leather can be a tricky task, but with the right techniques and supplies, it is possible. The first step to removing odors from leather is to identify and remove the source of the smell. This could mean cleaning food or liquid spills promptly, eliminating any mold or mildew growth, and airing out pieces that have been stored in an airtight container.
Once you’ve located and eliminated the source of the odor, you can begin to use deodorizing methods to combat lingering smells. You can try hanging your leather item outside so that fresh air circulates around it. Alternatively, sprinkle baking soda over the area before vacuuming it away – this will help absorb odors and leave your leather smelling fresh. You can also place charcoal, coffee grounds, or kitty litter in a shallow bowl and set it out next to the leather item – these natural odor absorbers will help draw smells from the surface of the leather.
How long until the leather smell goes away?
The length of time it takes for a leather smell to disappear depends on the severity of the odor and the method used for removal. Generally, if you use natural solutions like baking soda or white vinegar to absorb the odors, it can take anywhere from 24-48 hours for the smell to dissipate.
For more intense smells, chemical deodorizers may be necessary it could take several days or even weeks before you notice an improvement in the smell. The key is to be patient when trying to remove any type of unpleasant odor from leather, as it may not happen overnight.
How do you get the old smell out of leather?
The best way to remove an old smell from leather is to use a combination of natural and chemical methods.
To start, you should clean your leather of any dirt, dust, or debris that may be trapping the smell. This can be done by wiping the leather down with a damp cloth.
Once your leather is cleaned, you should air it out in a well-ventilated area for at least 24 hours. This will help remove some of the smell naturally. You can also place an open box of baking soda nearby to absorb some of the odor particles as well.
For more stubborn odors, you might need to resort to chemical methods. A leather cleaner might be a good option. It will help remove deep-set odors, as well as any dirt or debris that may be trapping the smell.
Another option is to use a leather conditioner with an odor neutralizer. This can also help reduce the smell, while also protecting and softening the leather. Just be sure to test the product on an inconspicuous area of your leather first to make sure there’s no discoloration or damage before using it across the entire piece.
Why does leather have a bad smell?
Leather can develop a bad smell due to the accumulation of sweat, body oils, and other liquids that come into contact with it. In addition to these natural sources, some leathers are also treated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or tanning agents that may produce an unpleasant odor when exposed to moisture or heat. This is why it’s important to take care of your leather items by cleaning them regularly and storing them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Pets, smoke, and mold can also contribute to the smell of leather items. Pets such as cats and dogs may leave behind urine or fur that can get trapped in the fibers of the material and emit an odor over time. Similarly, smoking indoors or accumulation of dust mites can cause a musty smell to develop on leather goods. Mold is another common issue when it comes to leather; if moisture gets into the material, it will create a breeding ground for mold spores which will then release their own scent into the air.
Useful Video: 6 Quick, Easy Ways to Remove Bad Smells from Leather
No one likes dealing with a smelly leather item, but with a few simple steps and the right products, you can easily remove any leather smell. In this article we’ve covered the different methods to remove the leather smell, such as airing out the item, using baking soda and vinegar, or even specialty products. We’ve also discussed how to protect your leather from smelly bacteria in the future.
It’s important to remember that while these methods should work well for most cases, it’s always best to take precautionary measures such as proper storage or cleaning techniques if your leather items are exposed to moisture or other elements on a regular basis. Keeping up with routine maintenance will help improve the lifespan of your valuable leather pieces!
By following this guide, you now have an effective way to eliminate odors from leather items and prevent them from reoccurring in future. Leather is a strong material that requires proper care and attention to keep it looking its best. With these tips, you can maintain the quality of your leather items while ensuring they remain free from any unpleasant smells!
We hope that this article has been helpful in providing valuable information on how to remove the smell from leather. If you have any additional questions or need more assistance, we recommend consulting with a professional before taking any further action. Good luck!