How to Get Smell Out of Leather Jacket? – Defeating Odors

Ever pulled your favorite leather jacket out of the closet only to be hit by an unpleasant odor? Well, You’re not alone.

That stale, sometimes downright offensive smell can turn your go-to fashion staple into a source of frustration

In this blog, we’ll explore proven techniques, and insider tips, to effectively banish those stubborn smells.

From natural remedies to expert-approved methods, we’ve got you covered.

How to Get Smell Out of Leather Jacket Infographic

How to Get Smell Out of Leather Jacket?

Here’s a chart on how to get the smell out of leather jackets:

Method Steps Time Required Effectiveness Precautions
1. Airing Out
  • Hang the jacket in a shaded, ventilated area.
  • Avoid direct sunlight.
24-48 hours Moderate Avoid prolonged sun exposure to prevent fading and cracking.
2. Baking Soda
  • Place the jacket in a breathable bag/container.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the jacket.
  • Leave for 24-48 hours.
  • Shake off residue.
24-48 hours High Ensure baking soda doesn’t scratch the leather.
2. White Vinegar Solution
  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • Lightly mist the jacket inside and out.
  • Allow to air dry completely.
It takes a few hours High Test on a small area first to ensure no discoloration.
3. Leather Cleaner & Conditioner
  • Select a suitable leather cleaner.
  • Apply cleaner with a soft cloth.
  • Follow with a leather conditioner.
1-2 hours High Follow product instructions carefully.
4. Activated Charcoal
  • Place activated charcoal in breathable bags.
  • Place the bag in a container with your leather jacket.
24-48 hours High Avoid direct contact with leather to prevent staining.
5. Coffee Grounds
  • Place the coffee grounds near your jacket in a large bag or container, ensuring they don’t touch the leather directly.
24-48 hours Moderate to High Ensure the coffee grounds don’t touch the leather directly.
6. Professional Cleaning
  • Find a professional leather cleaner.
  • Discuss the odor issue with them.
  • Let them apply appropriate treatments.
Varies depending on the service Very High Ensure the cleaner specializes in leather garments.

Why Does My Leather Jacket Smell Bad?

A leather jacket can start to smell bad for several reasons, ranging from exposure to certain environments to improper care and storage. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the common causes behind a smelly leather jacket:

1. Absorption of Environmental Odors

Leather is a natural material and is quite porous. It can easily absorb odors from the environment.

Exposure to cigarettes, bonfires, or other types of smoke can cause the leather to retain a smoky smell.

Being in a kitchen or restaurant environment can lead to the absorption of food odors, grease, and cooking smells.

Urban pollution and other environmental factors can also contribute to unpleasant smells.

2. Body Oils and Sweat

Leather jackets worn directly over the skin can absorb body oils and sweat, especially in warmer climates or during physical activities.

Sweat can penetrate the leather and cause it to smell musty or sour over time.

3. Mold and Mildew

Leather jackets stored in damp or humid conditions are prone to mold and mildew growth.

Getting wet in the rain and not properly drying the jacket can also lead to mildew.

4. Spills and Stains

Accidental spills of liquids like alcohol, perfumes, food, or other substances can leave behind a smell.

Even if cleaned up quickly, residues can linger and cause odors.

5. Chemical Smells from Tanning and Dyeing

New leather jackets may emit a strong chemical odor due to the tanning and dyeing processes used during manufacturing.

These smells usually dissipate over time but can be off-putting initially.

6. Improper Cleaning Products

Using the wrong cleaning products on leather can result in lingering chemical smells or even damage the leather, leading to unpleasant odors.

7. Prolonged Storage Without Use

Leather jackets stored away for long periods without use can develop a stale smell.

This is often due to a lack of ventilation and the accumulation of dust and ambient odors.

Source: Leatherings YT Channel

What Household Items Can I Use to Remove Odors From a Leather Jacket?

Various household items can be utilized to eliminate odors from a leather jacket. Here are a few products you can try:

  1. Baking Soda: Baking soda is a great natural deodorizer that absorbs and neutralizes odors.
  2. White Vinegar: White vinegar is another effective natural deodorizer. It neutralizes odors through its acetic acid content.
  3. Charcoal: Activated charcoal is highly effective at absorbing odors
  4. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds absorb odors and leave behind a pleasant scent.
  5. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice has a fresh scent and mild acidic properties that can help neutralize odors.
  6. Essential Oils: Essential oils provide a pleasant scent and some have natural antibacterial properties.
  7. Newspaper: Newspaper absorbs odors and moisture. Crumple it and stuff it into the sleeves and body of the jacket
  8. Cornstarch: Cornstarch absorbs oils and odors. Lightly sprinkle it over areas that are oily or smelly
  9. Fresh Air and Sunlight: If possible, hang the leather jacket outside in a well-ventilated area on a sunny day. Fresh air and sunlight can help naturally deodorize and freshen up the coat.

Always be cautious when using household items on leather as some materials may cause damage or discoloration.

It’s a good idea to test the product on a small, inconspicuous jacket area first to ensure it doesn’t have adverse effects.

How to Prevent Leather Jacket From Smelling?

Preventing a leather jacket from smelling requires proper care and maintenance to keep it fresh and odor-free. Here are some tips to help you prevent your leather jacket from developing unpleasant odors:

  1. Air it out: After wearing your leather jacket, hang it in a well-ventilated area to air it out. This helps to remove any trapped odors and moisture.
  2. Avoid dampness: Keep your leather jacket away from damp environments. If it does get wet, allow it to air dry naturally away from direct heat sources.
  3. Use a leather conditioner: Regularly treating your leather jacket with a leather conditioner helps maintain its appearance and prevents odors from forming.
  4. Store properly: Store your leather jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use a breathable garment bag or hang it on a padded hanger to help maintain its shape.
  5. Avoid heavy perfumes and smoke: Avoid wearing heavy perfumes or smoking while wearing your leather jacket, as these odors can linger in the leather fibers.
  6. Professional cleaning: If your leather jacket has developed a stubborn odor that can’t be removed, consider taking it to a professional leather cleaner for deep cleaning and odor removal.
  7. Avoid storage in plastic bags: Avoid storing your leather jacket in plastic bags for extended periods as they can trap moisture and lead to musty odors.

Source: EMCDevs EMCDevs YT Channel


Removing odors from a leather jacket can be straightforward if you use the right methods and preventive measures.

By following these tips and techniques, you can effectively get rid of unwanted smells and refresh your leather jacket.

Always test any cleaning or odor removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather jacket first to ensure it does not cause damage.

With consistent care and upkeep, your leather jacket will remain a versatile wardrobe essential.

I hope these tips help you refresh your leather jacket and have it smell fresh and clean in no time!

Resources Consulted

James Chiles

Leave a Comment