how to remove skunk smells from leather

How to Get Skunk Smells Out of Leather Effectively

When you keep leather upholstery and furniture in storage for a long time, skunks may find their way inside and release their spray on the leather material. You can also get skunk spray on your leather clothes if you are near skunks since their spray can go up to 20 feet.

A skunk spray is the release of yellow oil that contains volatile compounds, which it uses to dispel predators as a defensive mechanism. This oil has an overpowering stench that can cause extreme nausea and can cling to anything it comes into contact with. 

Since oils get naturally absorbed by leather, as it is a porous and sensitive material, you need to act fast. Getting skunk smells out of leather requires you to remove the volatile compounds and oils. This can be achieved through cleaning your leather and nourishing it with essential oils.  

This guide aims to teach you how to get skunk smells out of your leather products using safe materials and methods. We suggest following these easy-to-understand instructions and checking the FAQ section below for more information. 

Important Notice: Natural leather has a pH value of about 4.5 to 5.5, which makes it acidic. Since natural detergents and cleaning solutions are basic in nature, having a pH of 7 to 10, mixing the two together can negatively affect the leather. Therefore, using leather-friendly cleaning solutions is the best way to rid your leather products of any persisting skunk smells without risking damaging the leather.

1. Use a Vinegar & Baking Soda Solution

Baking soda is a highly effective deodorizer and can help lift the smell of skunk spray easily. Although many people determine detergent to be a good cleaning solution, we highly advise against it since it can fade and dry out the leather material.

To make a vinegar and baking soda mixture: mix one part of white vinegar with one part of water and combine that solution with four parts of baking soda. Apply this paste over your leather item and gently rub it all over the affected area with a damp clean cloth or sponge. 

You should apply the paste using circular motions with gentle pressure to clean the skunk spray. After leaving the paste on the leather article for a few minutes, wipe it away using an unsoiled damp cloth until it is completely clean.

This step will break down the skunk spray oils, making further cleaning much easier in the next step. Ensure that your leather article is completely dry – this could take about 2 – 3 hours. Once it’s dry, move on to the next step. 

2. Clean Your Leather with a Leather Cleaner

Using a leather cleaner will help you eliminate any persisting skunk spray odors from your leather article. It will clean away any residue and restore its original shine. 

We recommend against using general cleaners since they can damage leather items and turn their supple texture into a dry and rough surface. Instead, we suggest using a leather-friendly cleaning product such as the Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey

This leather cleaner has strong yet leather-friendly cleaning ingredients that can remove the worst smells from your leather items, including skunk smells. It contains little to no fragrance but has natural oils to restore the original scent of your leather items.

Leather cleaners typically do not require any dilution. Simply use a lint-free cloth or spray bottle on your leather material and wipe the affected areas down gently. Allow the leather to dry and soak the cleaning ingredients for an ample amount of time before use. Wipe off any excess and ensure that your leather items are dry. 

The skunk smells should be completely removed by now. If that’s not the case, then apply a little more of the leather cleaning solution and let it rest for a while longer. 

3. Use a Leather Deodorizer (Optional)

Some skunk spray smells may linger for a while after you’ve cleaned your leather article. If you notice a stubborn odor even after all the cleaning steps, you may need to use a leather deodorizer to further neutralize the smells and restore a more refreshing scent.

One of the best leather deodorizers we have tested is the Leather Master Leather Odor Remover. This mild leather deodorizer does not mask bad smells with strong fragrances but effectively neutralizes the odors. 

It is a water-based leather deodorizer that can be safely used on all leather materials without affecting its original texture, color, or finish.

4. Dry Your Leather Article

All leather articles, whether they’re gloves, boots, sofas, shoes, or wallets, need to be dried for an adequate time after cleaning and before use. The drying step ensures that the skunk oils have been neutralized, and replacing natural oils can permeate the porous leather effectively.

Drying and storing your leather products is an important step. We always advise you to dry your leather items in a clean, ventilated and dry environment. 

The dryness ensures that all excess moisture can escape easily without the risk of mold growth. It is best to avoid direct sunlight since UV rays can make leather brittle and cause wrinkles, cracks, and fading.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the following section, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the most frequently asked questions that deal with removing skunk smells from leather articles.

How Long Does It Take To Remove Skunk Smells From Leather?

Getting skunk smells out of leather is a relatively easy process and doesn’t require too much effort. The entire process should take you about 10 – 15 minutes, excluding drying time. 

If you include drying time, it can take a couple of hours as you’ll need to ensure that the leather cleaning products and solutions have time to neutralize the smell and restore its natural oils. It may be best to do this in the evening and let them dry overnight.

Can Skunk Smells Go Away Naturally?

Skunk spray smells that are left untreated can take up to a week to clear off naturally. This can be even longer if your leather items are stored in a damp closet or storage area with no ventilation. Therefore, we recommend removing skunk smells from leather as soon as possible. 

What Additional Steps Can I Take?

You can consider conditioning or waterproofing your leather items to add a protective layer. This protective layer repels foreign particles and substances from entering the leather pores, and also makes them much easier to clean in the future.