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how to remove smell from a leather jacket

How to Remove Bad Smell from a Leather Jacket? | 5 Easy Tips



A leather jacket can easily add a touch of elegance and edge to a wardrobe. But what happens when the typical fresh leather aroma starts to fade, replacing it with an odor you don't appreciate? Some might not even like the smell of a newly bought leather jacket as it can be pungent and strong for their liking. Whatever the case might be we are here with some easy tips on how to remove bad smell from leather jackets so that can still adore this timeless outerwear. This guide will help you effectively remove the smell from your favorite outerwear and bring back its natural and fresh scent.

Why Does Your Leather Jacket Smell?

Before jumping in on the road of removing the odor, let's quickly discuss why they even start to smell in the first place. Leather is a natural material that is porous and has the ability to absorb a variety of different odors. From sweat and body oils to environmental smells, like, smoke and perfume, your precious leather jacket can absorb all these odors. If you don't maintain and care for your leather jacket then it will evidently start to have a smell.

5 Easy Steps to Freshen Up Your Jacket

1. Air It Out


Let's start simple. One of the simplest things you can do to remove a bad smell from your leather jacket is to air it out. Let your jacket hang in the fresh air to let it breathe and deodorize it from unlikable scents. Make sure to avoid placing it in direct sunlight as it can dry and fade the leather. Look for an open, shady, and place with no direct sunlight. The amount of time to air out a leather jacket depends on the intensity of the scent. As a general rule of thumb, try leaving your jacket for 24-48 hours and rotating the jacket after some intervals to ensure all parts get exposed to fresh air to have the best possible results.

2. Use a Leather Cleaner


Shop for a Leather Cleaner

There's no denying that leather-specific cleaners can do wonders. These cleaners are not only gentle on the leather jacket but also designed to provide a deep clean without damaging the leather. Not only that but it can be a good option to remove smell from your timeless apparel. Make sure to do a patch test for the cleaning solution before applying any product to ensure it doesn't discolor or damage the leather.

3. Baking Soda - Your Deodorizing Agent


Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and is a natural and safe way to eliminate any bad smell from your outerwear. However, try to avoid any direct contact with the jacket as it might discolor the leather jacket. Place your jacket in a large zip lock bag with an open box or a cup of baking soda. Seal the bag and let it sit overnight. The next day, remove your jacket and give it a good shake to get rid of any powder residue. You might also consider using activated charcoal in the same way, as it's another excellent odor absorber.

4. Try White Vinegar Solution


 Let's say you are on a budget and don't want to purchase one of those leather cleaners. Don't worry as we have just the right solution for you - white vinegar solution. White vinegar can be a great agent to remove bad smells from your jacket. Here's a simple DIY method to create a gentle white vinegar cleaner.

Materials Needed

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 2 parts water
  • A spray bottle
  • A soft cloth

Steps for Removing Smell

1. Mix the Solution: Combine one part of white vinegar with two parts of water in a bowl or into your spray bottle. The vinegar will help clean the leather, while the water dilutes the solution to prevent damage. 2. Do a Patch Test: Always do a patch test before applying the solution to the complete jacket. Try it on a small, hidden area of the jacket first to make sure it doesn't discolor or damage the leather. Wait for it to dry and make sure it it's safe to use. 3. Application: Now, spray the solution onto a clean soft cloth. You should try to dampen the cloth and not completely soak the cloth. Never spray directly onto the jacket as it could cause water spots or discoloration. 4. Clean Your Jacket: Gently wipe down your leather jacket with your damp cloth, this will not only remove any smell but will also clean your jacket from any dirt residues. 5. Dry the Jacket: Remember, vinegar has its own unique odor which is why you need to dry your jacket. Use a dry soft cloth to gently dab the jacket, soaking up any excess moisture. Avoid rubbing, as it may push the water deeper into the leather. If it's taking a bit longer for the vinegar's smell to dissipate then you can air out the jacket in a ventilated place. 6. Condition the Leather: After cleaning and drying, apply a good quality leather conditioner to the jacket. This will restore any lost moisture and keep the outerwear fresh.

5. Professional Cleaning


If it seems nothing is working or the scent is too strong to remove then consider taking your jacket to professional leather cleaners. They have all the right tools and professional knowledge to properly clean and deodorize your leather jacket without causing any damage. It is crucial to look for cleaners specializing in leather care, check reviews, and ask about their cleaning and deodorizing methods to better suit your needs to remove smell from your jacket.

Care Tips to Prevent Odors

You might have heard this before that prevention is the best of the treatments. The same goes for your outerwear as you can keep your jacket clean and wash it when needed to prevent it from getting bad odor buildup. Here are a few tips to care for your fashion piece.

  • Always hang your jacket in a well-ventilated area after wearing it.
  • Use a good leather conditioner to prevent the jacket from drying out and to maintain its freshness.
  • Try to keep the jacket away from strong and pungent orders as leather can easily absorb them.


A leather jacket is a style statement and is the must-have clothing article for every fashion-forward person. But it is no fun if it has a smell that no one likes. Banishing unpleasant odors from your leather jacket is a breeze with these 5 effective tips. By following these steps efficiently you will be able to enjoy wearing these timeless clothing pieces for many years to come. Remember, proper care and cleaning go a long way to keeping your leather jacket fresh and smell-free.


How to make a leather jacket smell good?

Regularly air out your jacket, clean it with a leather cleaner, and apply a leather conditioner to maintain a fresh smell.

Use methods like airing out, applying baking soda, using a vinegar-water solution, or professional cleaning services to eliminate odors.

Does leather jacket smell go away?

Yes, with proper cleaning and care, the smell from a leather jacket can be eliminated and prevented from returning back again.

Does vinegar damage leather?

Not if used correctly. Diluted vinegar can be a safe and effective cleaner for leather. Always do a patch test first and use a cloth to apply the solution to the jacket.

Can I use baking soda on leather?

Yes, but avoid direct contact as it might cause discoloration. Place baking soda in a sealed bag with the jacket overnight to absorb odors, then shake off residue.

Why does a new leather jacket smell bad?

It's usually due to the chemicals used in the tanning process. The smell typically fades over time with regular ventilation and use.