If you or someone close to you smoke in your car or house, then you probably know the telltale signs of a smoker: a film on the windows, an unpleasant smell, and yellowed upholstery. But what about leather? Does leather absorb smoke smell? In this article, we will explore the science of smoke and how it interacts with leather as a material. I will also discuss ways to remove smoke smell from leather.
So, does leather absorb smoke smell? Leather is a highly absorbent material and will be able to absorb anything from smoke smells, fragrances to spilled drinks. The smoke smell will get absorbed into the fibers of the leather and will remain there until it is has been properly removed.
There is a little bit of science behind how leather absorbs smoke and if you’re able to understand it, you will be able to better treat and remove the smoke smell from leather. Keep reading to find out more.
Smoke Smell vs Leather
The science of smoke is actually quite complex; it is made up of a variety of different compounds that are released when something is burned. So whether it is tobacco, wood, cigarette, weed, or coal, each type of smoke will have different compounds.
However, the characteristics of smoke that affect leather are largely the same. When smoke is released, it is filled with small particles that can be harmful to humans when inhaled. Not only is this bad for your health, but these tiny particles can also get damage materials like leather.
Leather is a porous material and the pores on the surface will allow the smoke smell to easily penetrate deep into the fibers of the hide. Once the smoke particles have entered the leather, it will be very difficult to remove the smell completely.
This is why if a previous owner of a second-hand car or jacket will have smoked in it, the new owner will likely be able to smell it.
So it is important to take preventive measures to avoid the smoke smell from getting into your leather in the first place. If you are a smoker, make sure to keep your smoking sessions away from any leather products.
How Does Leather Absorb Smoke Smell?
There are a few ways leather is able to absorb the smoke smell. Here are a few of them:
- The Smoke Smell Absorbed Into The Pores of The Leather
The first way is through the tiny pores on the surface of the leather. Leather is a porous material, which means it has tiny holes on the surface that can allow particles to enter.
Smoke particles are very small and they will be able to enter the leather through these pores. Once they are inside, it will be very difficult to remove them.
- The Smoke Particles Get Trapped in the Fibers of The Leather
Leather is made up of tiny fibers that can trap particles. When smoke comes into contact with leather, some of the smoke particles will get trapped in these fibers. This will allow the smell to linger and become difficult to remove.
This is because the leather fibers are so adaptive that they can take up anything the leather comes into contact with. This will include perfumes, body oils, and even smells around the leather.
- The Smoke Particles Attach Themselves To The Surface Of The Leather
Even if the leather is sealed or coated, the smoke smell can still get absorbed. This is because the smoke particles will attach themselves to the surface of the leather.
Once they are attached, they will be very difficult to remove and they can cause damage to the surface of the leather.
- Smoke Particles Also Reacts With The Proteins In Leather
Another way that smoke gets absorbed into leather is through the proteins found in the material. When smoke comes into contact with the proteins, it will start to react and this will create new molecules.
These molecules will be very difficult to remove and they can cause damage to the surface of the leather over time.
How Does Smoke Affect Leather?
Leather Can Become Dry And Cracked
The smoke particles can cause the leather to become dry and cracked. This is because when the smoke comes into contact with the material, it is also able to cause the essential oils in the leather to evaporate.
This evaporation will remove some of the natural oils that are found in the leather and this will make it very dry and brittle. Over time, this can cause the leather to crack and become damaged.
Leather Can Change Colors
Another way that smoke can affect leather is by changing its color. When the smoke particles react with the proteins in the leather, it will create new molecules that can also cause the color of the leather to change.
This is because the smoke contains very tiny soot particles that can get inside the leather and cause it to become discolored.
Smoke Can Cause Leather To Lose Its Natural Smell
Of course, the biggest problem with smoke and leather is that it can absorb the smell of smoke. This is especially true if the leather is not properly cared for. If you have a piece of furniture that smells like smoke, it is probably because the leather has absorbed the odor.
The best way to remove the smoke smell from leather is to use a product that is specifically designed for this purpose. More on this later!
To learn more about how smoke affects leather, click here to visit a detailed article I wrote earlier!
Does Smoke Smell Eventually Disappear From Leather?
Once the leather has absorbed the smoke smell, it is very difficult to remove. However, if you can wait long enough while introducing different smells through use, the smoke smell can gradually dissipate.
This is because the more you use the leather item, the more the leather is going to take up new smells that can eventually replace the initial smoke smell. The downside is that it can really take a really long time for this to happen and it might not be ideal for everyone.
Also, if you from time to time expose your leather to smoke smells, it will only make the situation worse and the smoke smell will become more difficult to remove over time.
The length of time it takes for the smoke smell to dissipate will depend on how much smoke the leather has absorbed and also how often it is used.
How To Remove Smoke Smell From Leather
When smoke smell gets absorbed into leather, there aren’t a lot of general cleaning methods that you can use to remove it. This is because the smoke smell will be attached to the fibers of the leather and it will be very difficult to remove. Here are a few effective ways to remove the smoke smell from leather:
Using A Leather Cleaner
One of the best ways to remove smoke smell from leather is to use a leather cleaner. These cleaners are specifically designed to remove any type of smell, dirt, or stain from leather without causing any damage.
There are many different brands of leather cleaners on the market, so you should be able to find one that is suited for your needs.
Just make sure to read the instructions carefully and test it out on a small area first before applying it to the entire piece of furniture. To use the leather cleaner to remove smoke smell;
Step 1: Start by mixing the cleaner with some water in a bowl.
Step 2: Apply the mixture to a clean cloth and then wipe down the entire piece of furniture.
Step 3: Allow the leather cleaner solution to sit on the surface of the leather for about 5-10 minutes so that it absorbs deep into the leather fibers to deodorize it.
Step 4: Begin to scrub the area in a circular motion to work the cleaner into the leather.
Step 5: Rinse off the remaining cleaner with a damp cloth and then dry it off with a clean towel. Repeat this process if necessary.
Using Baking Soda And Vinegar Solution
Another way that you can remove the smoke smell from leather is by using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This is a natural way to remove odors without having to get any pricy cleaning products.
This method is useful because baking soda and vinegar can penetrate deep into the leather to remove any smoke smell that has been absorbed. To make the baking soda and vinegar mixture;
Step 1: Combine ¼ cup of baking soda with ½ cup of white vinegar in a bowl.
Step 2: Apply the mixture to a clean cloth and then wipe down the entire piece of furniture.
Step 3: Allow the baking soda and vinegar solution to sit on the surface of the leather for about 30 minutes to an hour so that it has time to work.
Step 4: Rinse off the remaining mixture with a damp cloth and then dry it off with a clean towel. Repeat this process if necessary.
Tips To Prevent Leather From Absorbing Smoke Smell
To prevent your leather from absorbing smoke smell, there are a few things that you can do:
- Make sure to keep your leather away from any sources of smoke.
- If you do happen to get smoke on your leather, wipe it down immediately with a damp cloth and the smoke cleaning solutions recommended in this post.
- Make sure to clean and condition your leather frequently to keep it looking and smelling fresh.
Check out an article I wrote earlier on how to safely remove cigarette smell from faux leather.
Smoke smells can be tough to remove, once they have been absorbed into a material. So, the answer to the question of whether leather absorbs smoke smell is a simple one.
There are many different types of leather, and each one absorbs smoke smells differently. Some leathers will soak up smoke smells like a sponge, while others will only take on a light scent.
Whatever the case may be, you will be able to safely remove the smoke smell from your leather by following the steps above. Just remember to be patient and take your time!