How to Remove the Smell of Cheap Leather

Written by christa titus
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Part of the appeal of wearing leather apparel or buying leather furniture is its smell. However, the scent is not for everyone, and if the material is cheaply made or synthetic, the odour can have a mild smell that's akin to gasoline. There are tricks to diminishing the scent, but it's better to invest in a quality jacket that smells pleasant to you instead of saving a few dollars by buying a cheap one and trying to modify it.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Air the item out. Let it hang in a dry, well-ventilated area for a couple of days, such as a bedroom or a den. Or, if you can stand the smell, start wearing the jacket outside to let it breathe.

  2. 2

    Wash it with saddle soap or a product like Murphy Oil Soap, which is safe for leather products. However, "wash" in this instance means spraying your rock star trousers with the soap (it comes in a spray bottle) and wiping off the excess with a soft cloth.

  3. 3

    Condition the leather, both after washing it and as regular maintenance. This will reduce its smell, preserve its soft texture and enhance its durability. You can use linseed oil or a product such as Wilson Leather's Leather Lotion.

  4. 4

    Keep the item dry. Even though the material has been treated at the factory, moisture can severely damage leather and make the smell even worse. Add another layer of waterproof protection by wiping down your briefcase with a treatment solution like Wilson Leather's TLC Leather and Suede Protector. Always dry off leather by hand or with a hair dryer set on low heat if it gets wet.

  5. 5

    Pack your shoes or hat in newspaper. Newsprint paper is a porous material that can absorb smells. Your leather item must be completely dry if you want to pack it away like this; if it's not, it could get mildew.

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