How to Make a Leather Belt Smell Good

by Shelagh Dillon

Age, chemicals and certain types of hide can give both new and vintage leather an unpleasant smell.

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Most people like the smell of new leather, and there are even products available to maintain or achieve it. Caring for any leather item correctly by cleaning and conditioning will help to maintain a natural, subtle leather smell. However, the smell depends on the type of hide and the chemicals used in its manufacture, and sometimes the smell may not be pleasant. Old, badly cared for leather items may also carry an undesirable odor. In most cases, the smell will fade with time, but there are things you can do to reduce or improve the smell.

Items you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Plastic container
  • Paper bag
  • Linseed oil
  • Cotton cloth
  • Essential oil, such as orange or lavender (optional)
  • Saddle soap (optional)
Step 1

Pour the baking soda into the plastic container and place carefully inside the bag.

Step 2

Put the belt in the box loosely coiled around the baking soda with as much leather exposed as possible.

Step 3

Fold the ends of the bag closed and leave for at least 24 hours. Try not to let the baking soda touch the leather.

Step 4

Remove the belt and check the smell. Any bad odors should have disappeared from the belt and be absorbed by the soda. It can take several days for the smell to completely be removed depending on the leather and how strong the smell is.

Step 5

Repeat the process if the smell is very bad and replace the baking soda after a few days if necessary.

Step 6

Discard the baking soda.

Step 7

Condition the leather by massaging in a small amount of linseed oil into it from the cloth. A drop of essential oil can be added if you want to add a subtle fragrance.

Step 8

Polish with a clean section of the cloth to finish.

Step 9

Clean the belt with saddle soap occasionally to maintain the leather’s condition and natural smell.

References (1)

  • "Complete Leatherwork"; Katherine Pogson; 2009

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Shelagh Dillon has extensive experience gained from more than 34 years in business, human resources, training and personal development. Beginning her professional writing career in 2007 for her own website and blog, she has since been published in the "Edinburgh Evening News" and written extensively for various websites.