Removing smoke smells from leather isn’t always an easy job, whether caused by cigarettes, barbeques, exhausts, or even cigars. This is because leather is a porous material that can easily absorb bad smells, making them linger for a long time.
There are various homemade solutions to deodorize leather, and with a little bit of elbow grease and patience, you can easily remove acrid smoke smells from your favorite leather jacket.
The most effective ways to remove the smoke smell from a leather jacket is to either use a leather cleaner, sprinkle it with baking soda, store it in a closet with charcoal, use a leather deodorizer, or naturally ventilate it. Let’s take a deeper look!
Method 1: Using a Leather Cleaner
Using a leather cleaner on your leather jacket is one of the easiest ways to get rid of any smoky odors. A leather cleaner contains all of the necessary ingredients to penetrate the layers of leather that draw out impurities, such as deeply embedded smoke smells.
To clean your leather jacket using a leather cleaner, you need to select a high-quality product that is leather-friendly, so that it won’t damage or discolor the material.
Chamberlain’s Leather Milk is great for leather jackets, as it contains all-natural ingredients and is effective in removing any type of smell. This product is also not very viscous, making it easy to apply on larger articles, such as leather jackets (it’s similar to a liquid).
Take note that any other leather-friendly cleaner will work. First, apply your preferred leather cleaner onto your jacket using a lint-free, clean microfiber cloth or a sponge.
Ensure to start with the front of the leather jacket and work on applying an even and light coat all over the lapel and body. Be sure to apply the leather cleaner to any nooks and crevices under the sleeves or near the outer pockets or zips of the jacket.
Repeat the process for the back of the leather jacket once the front has dried noticeably. After drying you’ll notice that the cleaner would have removed most of the smoke smells.
You may need a couple of applications if you’re using a less potent cleaner. It’s also important to let your leather jacket naturally before using it again.
Method 2: Sprinkling Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the best natural deodorizers for leather since it can easily lift odors, such as smoke and other unpleasant smells. It is an effective and highly affordable deodorizing solution that is readily available at home.
It’s also easy to apply and offers great results. Start by sprinkling some baking soda directly onto your leather jacket and ensure that you cover the sleeves, front, lapels, collar, back, or any detachable leather belt with baking soda.
After spreading the baking soda all over your leather jacket, you need to leave it for at least 30 minutes to let it absorb the smoke. If you’re dealing with heavy smoke smells, you’ll need to leave it on for a couple more hours.
Then, remove the baking soda from your leather jacket with a dry and soft brush or microfiber cloth until it is completely clear of any residue. Lastly, let it ventilate for a couple of hours before use.
Method 3: Storing It With Charcoal
Charcoal works similarly to baking soda, as it has odor-removing properties that are compatible with leather products. You can use it to neutralize any odd smells, including smoke, from your favorite leather jacket.
However, you’ll need to work in an enclosed environment for charcoal to effectively absorb smoke. Therefore, we recommend either placing your leather jacket in a garment bag along with activated charcoal or in a smaller closet with a bowl of charcoal.
We’ve tried both methods extensively and have come to the conclusion that the garment bag is more effective (you should use this method to get rid of stronger smoke smells).
You can also put a few citrus peels in the garment bag to add a refreshing smell to your leather jacket. Hang your leather jacket on a padded hanger in the garment bag and zip it sealed for at least one day in a cool and dry place.
You will notice a wonderful fresh smell when you remove your leather jacket from the garment bag after some time.
If you’ve opted to hang it in a closet, place one to two bowls of charcoal on the floor, directly below your leather jacket. Just remember that the smaller the closet, the more effective charcoal can absorb the smoke smell.
Method 4: Using a Leather Deodorizer
One of the most practical ways to freshen your leather jackets is by using a leather deodorizer. A leather deodorizer is a product designed to draw out and trap bad odors (also smoke smells) from your favorite leather articles.
They contain ingredients that can neutralize smoke odors and leave your leather jacket smelling fresh and clean. The best way to get started is to choose an appropriate leather deodorizer (select a spray for larger leather articles like jackets, since stick deodorizers are more appropriate for smaller leather items).
Hang your leather jacket on a padded hanger before spraying the front, back, sleeves, lapels, belts, and outer pockets of your jacket. Once you have applied the deodorizer to the entire surface, allow it to rest for a minute or two before wiping away the product using a clean and dry cloth.
The deodorizer will take away any pungent smoke odor and leave your leather jacket smelling clean. If any bad smell is coming from the inside of the jacket, you can place a stick or ball deodorizer inside your pockets to remove the smoke odor.
Method 5: Through Natural Ventilation
If you’re only dealing with faint smoke smells, you can easily eliminate it by ventilating your leather jacket in an airy environment. Ventilation is one of the safest and easiest methods to clean smoke smells from leather.
Simply hang your leather jacket and place it in a dry, open, and breezy space. You can also place a fan in front of your leather jacket and direct it towards a window or door so that the smoky odors ventilate through the natural breeze.
Take note that you’ll need to avoid damp, stale, and humid spaces for ventilation since it can promote mold growth. Moreover, don’t place your leather jacket under direct sunlight since it can become dry and begin showing signs of aging.
Well-ventilated spaces that you should consider are:
- On a balcony
- On your verandah
- Near a window
- A room with a breeze
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting rid of smoke smells may prove to be tricky, if you aren’t familiar with treating sensitive materials, such as leather. We’ve included a list of questions that people have asked us over the years, as we want to make sure that we share as much information with you as possible.
How Long Does It Take to Remove Smoke & Cigarette Smells from Leather Jackets?
The amount of time it takes to remove smoke and cigarette smells from a leather jacket depends on the method you decide to use.
However, note that the actual time it will take may also depend on how much smoke is trapped in the material and how much it has been absorbed. You can use the guide below as a reference.
- Using a Leather Cleaner (10 – 20 minutes)
- Using Baking Soda (30 minutes – 3 hours)
- Using Charcoal (1 – 2 days)
- Using a Leather Deodorizer (10 – 20 minutes)
- Through Natural Ventilation (12 hours – 2 days)
Are There Any Other Methods for Deodorizing a Leather Jacket?
Yes, there are many methods for removing the smell of smoke from a leather jacket. If you want to learn how to get smoke smells out of leather using different methods, you should note that not every deodorizing product is suitable for leather jackets and may require different application methods.
If you are deodorizing a leather jacket, the methods mentioned above with detailed instructions are the most fitting for the job.
Which Leather Deodorization Methods Should I Avoid?
You should avoid any deodorization method that can damage or discolor the texture of your leather jacket. Acetone, alcohol, and water can be damaging! Certain types of cleaning and deodorizing agents (may do more harm than good to your leather jacket.
It’s always best to stick to products that are designed specifically to treat leather. Anything else may end up permanently damaging or discoloring your favorite leather jacket.
Co-Founder, Researcher & Writer At Leatherskill
I’m a leather enthusiast who spends most of his free time crafting, researching, and writing about the many facets of this versatile material. Thanks for reading!