How To Remove Bad Smells From Leather Jackets

How To Remove Bad Smells From Leather Jackets

August 8, 2023

Jane Smith, Managing Director

Bad smells can become locked into leather clothing and handbags easily with the wrong care, or even the wrong storage.

Odours can get into leather from many objects, including cigarette smoke, sweat, perspiration, odour, pets, damp conditions and more.

Once it’s got into the leather it’s a difficult job to remove but can be improved significantly or removed fully in some cases.


Items needed to carry this out.

  • Bicarbonate soda
  • Zip close bag
  • Plastic bowl
  • Mesh
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather protection cream
  • Anti bacterial spray for leather
  • Leather odouriser
  • Leather air freshener
  • Bamboo pad
  • Leather cleaning brush (if required)
  • Bamboo towel
  • Red LRC application sponge


The Cleaning Stages:


The first stage is to clean the item thoroughly with a leather cleaner. Depending on the type of leather you have will determine what you use to clean the leather, either a bamboo cleaning pad or a leather cleaning brush. If you have a heavy pigmented leather like a bikers leather jacket, then this can be cleaned gently with a leather cleaning brush and the LRC1 leather cleaner. With this type of leather, you would spray on the cleaner and gently not aggressively massage the cleaner into the jacket with a gentle motion, working the cleaner in to help reduce the odours. Once you are happy with this process, wipe away any fluid with the bamboo towel.  

For more fashion dress style leather jackets, we would suggest the aniline leather cleaner or the luxury leather cleaner which is designed for nappa leathers, most leather jackets like this are a lamb nappa leather. We would also suggest the bamboo cleaning pad only on this style of leather skin. The other alternative to the aniline leather cleaner is using the aniline mousse cleaner to gently clean the delicate surface of the lamb nappa leathers.  Apply the aniline cleaner or mousse cleaner directly to the bamboo pad, not to the leather, work the cleaner into the leather skin and then wipe away with the bamboo cloth to leave the surface clean and fresh.

Now spray onto the inside of the jacket the leather odouriser straight after the cleaning to help combat the odour smells you are experiencing, before applying to the full fabric lining check first in a  hidden areas for colour fastness to ensure its safe to spray all over the lining, then hang up to dry for 24 hours.

Once the item has fully dried after cleaning the leather and applying the anti-bacterial spray on the inside fabric lining, check for odours, if the odours remain, the next step is the introduction of bicarbonate of soda.


The Bicarbonate Stage:

If the odours still remain this is where you introduce the bicarbonate soda. Place the bicarbonate soda into the bowl and put the mesh over the top, NEVER place the soda directly onto the jacket or handbag as this will cause damage. Once the bowl has the bicarbonate of soda in it and the mesh is over the top, place the bowl inside the zip up bag, then place the jacket on top pf the mesh or the handbag on top of the mesh that’s now inside the zip up bag. Once this is done zip up the bag and place in a secure area where it can’t be disturbed or knocked over as you don’t want the soda crystal on the leather item, leave this inside the bag for as long as possible, this can be for a week or more, this method we have used with great success to remove cigarette odours from leather jackets.

The Protection Stages:

After getting the item out of the zip up bag allow it to air for 48 hours, then apply a protection product, this can be the leather protection cream, this is infused with a natural leather aroma, this will give your item that natural leather smell once again, soften the items and give them great protection from the daily elements. Application is using a red application sponge, apply a small amount to the pad and rub this together, then apply in a circular motion to evenly spread the protection cream. Once dried you can then apply a second and third coating to make sure it’s got the best protection possible.

For even greater protection once the protection cream has dried which will work on pigmented leather as well as semi aniline lamb nappa leather, you can then apply a coating of Leather Guard ®

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