How to Smells out of Leather in bag, Camera Strap
Leather is a material made of tanned animal hide. It is used to make jackets, furniture, shoes, purses, belts and many other products. Although leather is a very durable material, it is more difficult to clean than natural or synthetic fibers. Leather grain can soak up strong smells, such as smoke, food odor, sweat, perfume, mildew or the "new leather smell" from the tanning process. Getting these smells out of leather may require some trial and error, and when in doubt, you can always get the leather professionally cleaned to avoid damaging the item.
Method Using Home Remedies
- 1Dry out wet leather right away. If the leather is wet, or appears to be covered in mold or mildew, you need to remove any dampness quickly. The moisture can damage the leather permanently and create a smell that will be very difficult to get out. There are several simple methods for drying out the leather:
- Place the leather in a spot in your home that gets indirect sun. Direct contact with harsh sunlight can cause the leather to crack, chip and wear out. Choose a spot that is by a window that filters sunlight or that is behind a screen.
- Use a blow-dryer on a low heat setting. Avoid bringing the blow-dryer too close to the leather as this can cause it to crack or chip. Run the blow-dryer at a distance over the leather to soak up the moisture and prevent big water stains on the leather.
- Use a clean dry cloth to wipe the leather dry, especially if you are trying to treat a pair of leather shoes, a leather jacket, or a leather purse. Skip alcohol based products or odor-masking products, like perfume, and use a clean dry cloth to give the item a good wipe. The chemicals in these products can get into the pores of the leather and possibly damage the item.
- 2Pack the leather item in newspaper or packing paper. The porous quality of newspaper and packing paper means they are both great for absorbing any bad smells in your leather item. Always check that the leather item is completely dry and that you are using dry newspapers. The loose fiber in newspaper makes it softer and more absorbent than other options, like office paper.
- Crumple up several sheets of newspaper in a box and place the leather item in the newspaper. Close the box and leave it sealed for one to two days.
- Check the leather item to see if the newspaper has effectively drawn out the bad smell. You may need to leave the item in the newspaper for another day.
- 3Clean the leather with a vinegar solution. The acid in the vinegar will help to counteract bad odors and the smell of the vinegar, which could be a bad odor to some, will also dissipate with the any other bad smells in the leather.
- Before you use any acid based cleanser on the leather item, do a spot test to make sure it won't discolor the leather. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. Choose a very small area on the item and dab the vinegar solution on the leather. If there is no discoloration or cracking on the leather, proceed with cleaning the item with the vinegar solution.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe the surface of the leather with the vinegar solution.
- You can also use a spray bottle to spray the leather with the vinegar solution and then wipe it clean with a cloth.
- If the odor is really bad, you can try soaking the leather item in the vinegar solution for five to ten minutes. Make sure you dry the leather well after the vinegar soak so it does not get moldy or full of mildew.
- 4Seal the leather in a baking soda solution. Baking soda is great for absorbing bad odors and it is safe to use on leather. You will need baking soda and a pillowcase or a zip-lock bag that is big enough to fit your leather item.
- Place the leather item in the pillowcase of the zip-lock bag. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the surface of the leather. You can also sprinkle the inside of the leather item to remove any odors on the inside of the item.
- Tie the end of the pillowcase or seal the zip-lock bag. Let the item sit in the baking soda overnight, or for 24 hours.
- Remove the baking soda by using a small vacuum or a clean cloth. Brush the baking soda off gently to avoid scratching the leather.
- Repeat the baking soda process until the bad odor is gone.
- 5Let the leather age to reduce the smell over time. Due to the nature of leather, smells that absorb into the leather, from cigarette smoke to the "new smell" of the tanning process, will gradually lessen over time. Instead of trying to mask the smell with perfume or odor-masking agents, which will actually prolong the time it takes for the odor to pass, use your leather item often. If you can stand the bad odor, wear your leather jacket, your leather shoes, or your leather shoes on a daily basis to help the leather age.
- The aging process will also soften the leather, effectively opening the pores of the leather, and releasing the bad odor.
Method2Using Professional Products
- 1Buy a leather cleaner. You can find professional leather cleaners at your local hardware store or even at your shoe cobbler's. Always use cleaner made specifically for leather on your leather item.
- You will need to use a dry clean cloth to wipe the leather with the cleaner. Most cleaners can help to remove odors, preserve the color and sheen of the leather, and protect the leather from cracking.
- 2Condition the leather item. You should always condition leather items after you clean them. Conditioning the leather will help to remove any odors and maintain the color and sheen of the leather. There are several options for conditioning your leather:
- High quality linseed oil: This is a very effective natural oil for conditioning your leather clothing and other leather items. Avoid using cheap linseed oil, as it will not be very effective. Use a cloth to massage the linseed oil into the leather so the oil is absorbed by the leather.
- Shoe polish: The oldest method for conditioning leather is also one of the best. Use liquid shoe polish on leather shoes, leather jackets, and leather purses. You can also use canned shoe polish for leather boots and shoes. If you're cleaning natural leather, buy shoe polish that contains carnauba wax and natural ingredients.
- Professional leather conditioner: This product can be bought at your local household supply store. Most leather conditioners come as a spray. You spray the conditioner on the surface of the leather and the chemical seeps into the pores of the leather. It then removes odors and helps to bring out the sheen of the leather.
- Avoid using saddle soap on your leather item. It will require a lot of rinsing and may give the leather a streaky look or a sticky surface.