How to Make Leather Smell Better

by Steve Brunolli ; Updated September 28, 2017

Leather tends to retain odors.

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Leather is a very common material used in everything from furniture to clothing accessories. Unfortunately, it is also difficult to clean and has a bad habit of retaining unpleasant smells, such as smoke. While most serious stains require the expertise of a dry cleaner, minor odors can usually be eliminated by a few days outside. For bulky furniture and more soiled items, however, you can make your leather smell better with the help of a few over-the-counter products.

Leather Clothing and Smaller Furniture

Spray the lining, if applicable, of your leather item with Febreze or another odor eliminator. This will remove any smells that have lodged themselves into the cloth.

Brush the outside of the leather with a leather brush to remove surface dirt.

Rub the outside of the leather with a liberal amount of saddle soap. This will remove minor stains and help eliminate odors.

Hang the leather outside in a cool, dry place for two days, or until the odor is gone.

Leather Furniture

Rub the leather with saddle soap. This will clean the leather and eliminate some of the smell.

Rub darker leathers lightly with castor oil and lighter leathers with white Vaseline to restore moisture to the leather, after cleaning with saddle soap.

Open the windows to allow as much air flow as possible into the room -- this will help remove odors and make your leather smell better.


  • Saddle soap is a mineral soap safe for use on leather. It can be found at any leather shop, and most larger department stores/pharmacies carry it.

    Any nylon brush will work for removing surface dirt, even a hairbrush.

    You can use various oils on the market to condition and add fragrance to your leather.

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About the Author

Steve Brunolli specializes in the areas of personal finance, history and health. He holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from San Diego State University.