6 Simple Ways To Remove New Leather Smell


If you’ve just got a new leather item, whether it’s a jacket, bag, shoes, car seats, or furniture, and you find the new smell it comes with overpowering, then this article is just for you.

In this article, I will show you 6 easy ways to remove “new leather smell” without breaking the bank. But first, let me address a few questions before we begin.

What Causes New Leather Smell?

Before we get into the various ways to remove the smell, let’s take a look at what might be causing it in the first place.

  • New Leather Smell (Natural Or Real Leather)

Real leather is made from animal hides and because of this, it has a unique smell that is not found in other materials.

This smell can vary depending on the type of animal the leather was taken from, the tanning method used, the dyes, and a host of other factors.

The smell of new real leather products can be described as being “leathery”, “earthy”, “musky” or “smoky”.

All of this in addition to the processes involved in the manufacturing of the leather item, shipping, handling, and storage will give any new leather product its smell.

  • New Leather Smell (Faux Leather)

New leather smell, if the leather item is made from synthetic materials like polyvinyl or polyurethane, will have a chemical smell that is often overpowering and can last for weeks, or even months without any treatment.

The new leather chemical smell of synthetic leather or faux leather will be a combination of all the synthetic materials including plastics and fabrics, manufacturing processes, transportation processes, storage, and handling.

How Long Does New Leather Smell Last?

Without deliberately trying to remove the new leather smell, the smell on your new leather couch, jacket, shoes or bags could linger on for about two to four weeks.

However, if you use any odor treatment methods, the smell should dissipate within a few days if not hours. Leather is a porous material so to be able to effectively remove the new leather smell, you want the leather material to breathe as easily as possible.

For faux leather items, the chemical smell could last the entire lifetime of the product – even with odor treatment. There are, however, a few temporary ways to mask the new smell of faux leather items.

How To Remove New Leather Smell

Now that we know a bit more about what might be causing the new leather smell, let’s take a look at some ways to remove it.

Method 1: Aeration and Time

The first (and cheapest) way to remove the new leather smell is simply to give it time. This method is perfect for all types of leather as the process allows the new leather smell to dissipate over time.

This method is particularly good for leather items you can easily move such as leather jackets, shoes, boots, etc.

This is a process that can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on how much air exposure the new leather item gets. To use this method, here’s what you need to do;

Step 1: Prep The New Leather Item

  • The first step is to remove the leather from any packaging or wrapping it came with.
  • For items like jackets or bags, unzip all the zippers and take out any stuffing.
  • You want to give the leather item as much exposure to air as possible.

Step 2: Find The Right Spot To Air-Out Your New Leather Item

  • This can be any cool, dry, but an airy place like a porch, balcony, or even an open window.
  • You want to make sure there is no direct sunlight contact as this can damage the leather over time.

Step 3: Hang Or Lay The New Leather Item If Applicable

  • If you can, hang the leather item on a clothes hanger and let it air dry.
  • Do not use any type of heat to speed up the process as this could damage the leather item.
  • If you cannot hang it, place it on a flat surface like a table or counter.
  • Make sure the item is out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.

Step 4: Leave The Item To Air-Out

  • Leaving the leather item to air out can be the hardest part as you have to wait for the smell to dissipate.
  • But it’s important to be patient and let the item breathe.
  • You would want to bring your leather item inside during the nighttime if the smell does not go away within a day and return it back outside during the day.

Step 5: Observe As The New Smell Dissipates

  • From time to time, you want to be sure to check on the leather item to see if the new smell has dissipated.
  • If it has not, continue to let it air out until you’re satisfied with the results.

Method 2: “Using” The New Leather

Another approach to removing the new leather smell is to “use” it. This means that you will be using the new leather item and exposing it to your scent.

The theory behind this approach is that eventually, your scent will overpower the new leather smell and dissipate it over time.

Leather is a porous material that will take up the smell of its user(s). Meaning the more you use the new leather item the more the new smell the leather came with will dissipate.

If you’re reading this article, then meaning you’re hands-down not a fan of the new smell of leather items so going through with this method will require a lot of patience.

All you will do is to put your new leather item to use immediately after purchase. The earlier you do this, the better.

  • Wear It

If you have new leather shoes, jackets, boots, pants, bags, or whatever the new leather item may be, you want to make sure you’re wearing them a few hours of the day.

The more you wear the leather item, the quicker it will take on your scent and dissipate the new leather smell.

If you’re not comfortable wearing a brand-new leather jacket or bag out in public, try using it at home around the house.

  • Sit On It

If you have a leather couch, leather car seats, or chair, sit on it as much as possible. The more you do this, the quicker the new smell will dissipate.

Method 3: Using Leather Cleaner And Conditioner

If you want the new leather smell gone immediately or within a few hours, then using a leather cleaner and conditioner is the best option.

You would use the leather cleaner to lightly cleaner the item. The leather cleaner will be able to cut through the new leather smell and any dirt or oils that may be on the surface of the leather.

After you have cleaned the item, you will want to apply a light layer of leather conditioner. A leather conditioner is important as it helps to nourish and protect the leather item while replacing the new leather smell with a neutral scent.

When using a leather cleaner and conditioner, it’s important to read the instructions carefully.

Leather cleaner and conditioner can be found at any department store or online. When you’re looking for a leather cleaner and conditioner, make sure it’s specifically made for leather items as this will have the right ingredients to help remove the new smell.

The process of using a leather cleaner and conditioner is very simple. Just follow these few steps:

Things Needed:

  • Leather Cleaner
  • Leather Conditioner
  • 2 or 3 Microfiber Cloths


Step 1: Clean The Leather Item

  • Using a clean damp cloth, lightly apply the leather cleaner to the surface of the leather item.
  • Make sure you’re not using too much and that you’re applying it in a circular motion.

Step 2: Rinse The Leather

  • Once you have thoroughly covered the entire surface of the new leather item, dampen a clean microfiber cloth with distilled water and wipe off the soapy leather cleaner residue.
  • Follow up by using a dry microfiber cloth or rag to dry off any moisture left of the leather surface.
  • Make sure you’re not leaving any residue behind. If there is, repeat steps one and two.

Step 3: Apply The Leather Conditioner

  • With a clean soft cloth, apply a light layer of leather conditioner to the surface of the new leather item.
  • Make sure you’re not using too much and that you’re applying it in a circular motion.
  • Leave the leather conditioner on for about 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: Buff The Leather Item

  • After the leather conditioner has been given time to soak in, take a clean microfiber cloth and buff the entire surface of the leather item.
  • Make sure you’re doing this in a circular motion.
  • This will help seal in the leather conditioner and remove any excess.
  • When you’re finished, your new leather item should no longer have that “new leather smell” it had when you first got it.
  • You’re all set!

Method 4: Using Vinegar

If you do not want to purchase any expensive leather cleaner or conditioner, one household substance you can use to achieve almost the same effect as a leather cleaner is using vinegar.

Vinegar is a natural cleaner and it’s also an acid. This means that it will help cut through the new leather smell as well as any dirt or oils that may be on the surface of the leather item.

Vinegar comes with a strong smell so you want to be prepared for that. Below is a step-by-step guide on how you would use vinegar to remove the new leather smell.

Things Needed:

  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Water
  • Bowl or Bucket
  • Microfiber Cloth Or Any Lint-Free Rag


Step 1: Dilute The White Vinegar With Water

  • Mix one part white distilled vinegar with four parts water in either a bowl or bucket.
  • Use equal parts of vinegar and water if you want the solution to be a lot more concentrated.
  • My advice is to start with a higher water ratio. (3 or 4 parts water to one part vinegar) and see first if the new leather smell goes away before making the solution more concentrated.

Step 2: Apply The Solution To The Leather

  • Dip your microfiber cloth or any lint-free rag into the vinegar and water solution and wring it out until the rag is damp.
  • Now apply a very thin layer to the entire surface of the leather item.
  • Make sure you’re not using too much and do now leave behind any streaks or vinegar solution puddles on the leather item.

Step 3: Let The Solution Soak In

  • Leave the solution on for about 1-2 minutes.

Step 4: Wipe Off Excess Solution and Buff Leather

  • After 2 minutes, take a clean dry cloth or rag and wipe off any excess vinegar solution that is still on the leather surface.
  • Then buff the entire surface of the leather item until it’s dry.
  • You’re all set and the new leather smell should be gone.

Method 5: Baking Soda And Water

Another household item you can use to remove the new leather smell is baking soda. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and it will help absorb any new smells that are on the surface of the leather item.

It’s also non-toxic so it’s a good option if you have children or pets that like to chew on or nibble your leather items.

Baking soda is a great way to absorb bad smells and it’s often used as an odor treatment for different items.

For new leather smell, you can use baking soda to help remove the smell from the leather.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use baking soda and water to remove the new leather smell.

Things Needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1: Sprinkle Baking Soda On Your New Leather Item

  • If possible, place the leather item in a zip-lock bag.
  • Liberally sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the surface of your new leather item.
  • If applicable, you can also sprinkle some of the baking soda inside the leather item. For example leather shoes, bags, etc.
  • Secure the zip-lock bag if you used one.
  • Otherwise, let the baking soda sit on the surface of the leather overnight.

Step 2: Vacuum Leather Item And Baking Soda

  • If you have a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, use that to vacuum up the baking soda.
  • Make sure you vacuum all of the baking soda off the surface of the leather item and inside if applicable.
  • If there is any leftover residue, you can brush it away with a soft-bristled brush.
  • You can also use a damp clean cloth if necessary to remove any excess baking soda residue.
  • Once all of the baking soda is gone, the new leather smell will be gone too.

Method 6: Using Old Newspapers

An old trick to remove smells from different items is using newspapers. The ink in the newspapers will help absorb any bad smells and it’s a non-toxic way to get rid of the smell.

For new leather smell, you can use newspapers to help remove the smell from the leather. Then newspaper works great because it is porous and can easily absorb both moisture and smells from leather.

You can also use packing paper for this method as it also has similar characteristics as newspapers.

  • To use this method, simply crumple up a few sheets of newspaper and place them inside the leather item.
  • You can also wrap some newspaper around the outside of the leather item.
  • Leave the newspapers inside or wrapped around the leather item for a few days – 2-3 days to be precise.
  • The new leather smell will be gone.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Six different ways on how to remove the new leather smell. All of these methods are effective in getting rid of the smell, but some are faster than others.

It’s important to note that some of these methods can also work for other types of odors and smells in leather such as smoke, food, and pet smells.

But all in all, by using any of these methods, you will be able to successfully remove the new leather smell from your leather items without any professional help. Happy cleaning! 😀


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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