How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Leather? 3 Proven Methods

smoke smell coming from leather

Leather items like jackets, bags, and furniture are cherished for their durability and timeless appeal. However, they can absorb the smell when exposed to smoke, leaving you with a persistent and unwanted odor. After a night of barbecuing or partying, you may notice the lingering smell of smoke from burning coal or cigarettes. Worry not. We’ve got you covered.

With our tried and tested techniques, you can get the smoke smell out of leather and enjoy your leather with renewed confidence.

Have you bought your leather jacket from a thrift store? If yes, read: How to clean a thrifted leather jacket?

Can You Remove Smoke Smell From Leather?

Yes, it is possible to remove the smoke smell from leather. Leather is a porous material that quickly absorbs smells, making them linger for a long time. Eliminating the smell should be a breeze with the proper techniques.

Cleaning Overview

Working Time:  20 – 30 minutes
Total Time:  24-48 hours
Skills Required:  Beginner
Estimated Cost:  USD 10-60

What Will You Need


  1. Baking Soda
  2. White vinegar
  3. Leather conditioner (Optional)
  4. Coffee grounds or essential oils


  1. Hanger
  2. A make-up brush or clean cloth
  3. A Spray bottle
  4. muslin cloth (Optional)

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Leather?

There are various ways to clean and remove the smoke smell from leather, depending upon the intensity of the smell.

Method 1: Air-Dry Method

leather jacket hanging on hanger

In most cases, utilizing the air-dry method can effectively eliminate the smell of smoke.

Step i: Prepare a Well-Ventilated Area

Find a location to hang the leather products like a jacket, bag, or purse, preferably outdoors or near your window. Make sure to keep an eye out for the weather. If it starts raining unexpectedly, make sure to bring your leather product inside.

Step ii: Hang the Leather Products

Place the leather products on a durable hanger and hang them securely in the desired spot. When hanging your leather product outside, it’s essential to take precautions to keep it safe from birds. 

Step iii: Air-dry the Leather

Let the leather air-dry for 24 hours. Ensuring adequate ventilation and allowing it to air-dry can be a reliable method for getting rid of smoke particles and the unpleasant smell that comes with it.

This step should help eliminate the smoke smell in most scenarios. If you still find a lingering smoke smell, try one of the methods below.

Method 2: Baking Soda Method

baking soda powder

We require a material with high absorption capabilities to eliminate the smell of smoke. Baking soda is the most effective solution for this purpose.

Step i: Prepare the Leather

Before beginning, remove any visible debris or dirt from the leather to ensure a clean surface to work on. Any dust or debris can interfere with the cleaning process, causing minor scratches on the leather. To avoid that, it’s best to start with dust-free leather.

Step ii: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the leather. You can focus on a specific part more if you feel a more intense smell in that section.

Step iii: Gently Rub Baking Soda

After sprinkling, gently rub the baking soda onto the leather so it spreads evenly. To apply this, you can use a make-up brush or a clean cloth for spreading.

Step iv: Let it Sit

Allow the baking soda to sit for 24-48 hours to absorb all the smell. 

Step v: Brush Off the Baking Soda

You can use the same brush or cloth you used in Step 3 to clean the baking soda. Use a gentle sweeping motion to remove the baking soda residue. 

Step vi: Wipe the Leather Clean

Dampen a clean cloth with water and gently swipe the leather to remove any remaining baking soda. Be sure to dampen the cloth, but avoid making it too wet. Squeeze out any excess water

Step vii: Allow the Leather to Air-Dry

Hang the leather on a sturdy hanger and allow it to air-dry. It is not advisable to put leather in the dryer as it can cause harm to the material. It is better to avoid doing so.

Method 3: Vinegar Method

white vinegar bottle

Vinegar is an effective solution to consider for eliminating smoke odors from leather. Like baking soda, vinegar has high absorption properties, which can soak up the smell.

Step i: Prepare the Leather

Before beginning the cleaning process, it’s crucial to eliminate any dust or debris from the leather. This is necessary to avoid any disruption of the process and potential damage to the leather fabric.

Step ii: Prepare the Vinegar Solution

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and shake the bottle well. This simple solution helps us get rid of the smell effectively.

Step iii: Patch Test 

Before applying the vinegar solution to the leather, it is necessary to do a patch test on a small area. Choose a hidden spot, such as an interior seam, and spray a small amount of solution. Please wait 20 minutes to check for reactions before proceeding to the next step.

Step iv: Spray the Vinegar Solution

Lightly spray the solution on the entire leather product, focusing more on the area with a stronger smell. To avoid damaging the leather, spraying a small amount of vinegar solution onto it instead of soaking the entire material is important.

Step v: Allow the Leather to Air-Dry

Hang the leather in a well-ventilated area. Preferably outdoors or in a room with good ventilation. It might take a few hours for the leather to completely dry. As the vinegar evaporates, it will eliminate the smoke smell along with it.

Step vi: Condition the Leather

Since vinegar is potent, it might have a slight drying effect on the leather. In such a case, apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a clean cloth and gently rub it into the leather following the product instructions.

Have you also stained your clothes with BBQ sauce? If yes, you must read: How to remove barbecue sauce stains from clothes?

Deodorizing the Leather

deodorizing the leather jacket

After cleaning your leather, you can add a fresh scent. Keep in mind that this step is not necessary.

Method 1: Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds

Put coffee grounds in a muslin cloth to freshen up your leather and place it on the leather. This will leave a pleasant coffee scent without overwhelming the leather. This is a great way to deodorize your leather without using harmful perfumes.

Method 2: Essential oils

essential oil with droplet

 If you’re not a fan of the coffee scent and prefer essential oils, you can soak some cotton balls in oils, squeeze out any excess, and then wrap them in a muslin cloth. Place it on the leather for a pleasant aroma.

Steps to Prevent Smoke Smell in Leather

cleaning leather jacket

Following a few easy habits can help you keep your leather free from all the smells. Although it is difficult to avoid smoke in some cases, you can still take preventative measures so that the smell doesn’t absorb deep into the leather. 

  • Keep leather products in a smoke-free environment.

You must keep your leather products inside a cupboard in a completely smoke-free environment. In cases such as a party or a barbecue, remove the leather products while smoking or cooking near the smoke.

  • Proper Ventilation

Regular maintenance and cleaning of leather are essential for maintaining their quality. Leaving dust and debris on the leather can create small rips or scratches on the leather. This can cause damage to the leather.

  • Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for leather. Even if it doesn’t necessarily have a smokey smell, cleaning your leather products every few months to maintain their quality is good.

  • Can I clean leather products with a dish soap solution?

    Using dish soap to clean leather products is not recommended because dish soap is acidic and may cause permanent damage.

  • Can I spray deodorant or perfume on the leather jacket directly?

    No, deodorants and perfumes have alcohol, and spraying it directly on the leather can deteriorate its quality.

  • Can I wash the leather products in a washing machine?

    Washing leather products in a washing machine can cause irreversible damage to the leather fabric and lead to rips. It is not recommended to do so.


Getting rid of the smoke smell from leather products should be easy if you follow the correct steps. Leather, being a sensitive material, requires special care while cleaning. Air-drying leather products go a long way and often work effectively to remove the smoke smell. If not, you can use baking soda and vinegar solution to clean it. If the problem persists, you can opt for a professional cleaning service. 

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