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How to Get Old Stale Smells Out of Faux Leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Found in clothing as well as home furnishings, faux leather is a commonly preferred alternative to actual leather because it is animal-friendly, less expensive and easy to clean. Faux leather items that have been stored or that have, over time, absorbed grime, perspiration or unpleasant odours can end up smelling stale or musty. Safely remove stale odours and give you faux leather item a fresh scent using a few basic household items.

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  1. Clean the faux leather item with soap in water to remove dirt or oil from the surface. Make a soapy solution of mild dish detergent and warm water. Wipe down the entire item with a soft cloth dipped in the cleaning solution.

  2. Wipe away the residual soap with a clean cloth dampened with fresh water. Keep the cloth well rinsed.

  3. Make an odour-eliminating solution of white vinegar, washing soda and ammonia. Use one part vinegar, one part soda and two parts ammonia. Test this solution in an inconspicuous are to ensure that it won't cause discolouration. Wipe down the entire item using a clean cloth dipped in the solution.

  4. Allow the faux leather item to air dry.

  5. Wipe down the item again with a clean cloth that has been dampened in fresh water.

  6. Wipe down the item a second time with the vinegar, soda and ammonia solution, if necessary.

  7. Sprinkle baking soda on the item if odour lingers. Baking soda will leach out any remaining odour-causing elements. Allow the baking soda to sit for four to six hours, then vacuum the item. Use a clean cloth dampened in fresh water to wipe away any residual powder.

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Things You'll Need

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Washing soda
  • Ammonia
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.

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