remove body odor from leather

How to Effectively Remove Body Odor From Your Leather Jacket

It’s not uncommon for a leather jacket to retain body odor, especially when worn frequently. This is due to the porous nature of the leather material, causing sweat and odor to get trapped, resulting in an unpleasant scent.

Understanding the reasons behind this and ensuring that you keep your leather jacket smelling fresh can save you from embarrassment and discomfort. Moreover, you’ll also be able to extend its overall lifespan!

You can easily remove body odor from leather jackets effectively by either using a dedicated leather cleaner, white vinegar with water, a deodorizer, baking soda, or a professional cleaning service.

In this article, we’ll go through the most effective ways to rid your leather jacket of body odor while restoring its natural scent! These methods are tried-and-tested and can help you deodorize your outerwear safely.

Method 1: Using a Dedicated Leather Cleaner

The first and easiest method of deodorizing your leather jacket is to clean it with a dedicated leather cleaner. Since leather is a sensitive and porous material, it is important that you use a cleaning product that is formulated for use on leather.

For this process, you will need your choice of leather cleaner that is color compatible with the jacket, a soft microfiber cloth, and a leather conditioner.

  1. Start by applying a small quantity of your preferred cleaning solution to the soft microfiber cloth and begin wiping your leather jacket with it. It is best to spot-check the leather cleaner’s color compatibility and effectiveness in a small inconspicuous area before moving to clean the entire jacket
  2. Ensure to focus on areas that are more exposed to sweat and are in frequent contact with the body. The most common area that fits this description would be the underarm and back areas.
  3. After you have applied the leather cleaner to your jacket and cleaned it, wipe away any excess product with a dry microfiber cloth.
  4. Apply a thin coat of leather conditioner using a new cloth. Leather conditioners are formulated to keep leather soft and supple while restoring its natural texture and scent.

Method 2: Using White Vinegar & Water

If you plan to remove body odor from your leather jacket using readily available household products, we recommend mixing white vinegar and water to form an effective leather cleaning and odor-removing solution.

  1. To begin the process, mix one part of white vinegar with one part of water.
  2. Dampen the microfiber cloth in the vinegar and water solution and wipe your leather jacket in small sections. Be sure to focus on areas that are more odorous and re-dampen and wring the cloth frequently and gently.
  3. Remove excess moisture on the jacket by wiping it with a dry cloth and letting the jacket air dry completely before the next step.
  4. Apply a thin layer of leather conditioner with a dry cloth, so your leather jacket does not get damaged by exposure to water. This is especially important as this method can be considered harsh if too much white vinegar is used or if your jacket goes through prolonged wetting. 

Method 3: Using A Deodorizing Spray

Deodorizing sprays come with a gentle fragrance that allows you to keep your clothes smelling fresh. This is one of the easiest and quickest methods to make your leather jacket smell clean.

All you need to do is spray the product onto your leather jacket, and you’ll notice the results almost instantly. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use a spray that is formulated for use on leather and that eliminates odors.

While there are plenty of options in the market, we prefer using Chemical Guys Leather Scent, as it’s effective in removing odor, while protecting the leather material of your jacket.

Take note that most deodorizing sprays only mask the smell of body odor rather than remove it, so make sure that you get the right one! It is best to test it on a small area to ensure there are no unintended outcomes such as discoloration.

Also remember to dry your leather jacket in a well-ventilated area, after using a deodorizing spray.

Method 4: Using Baking Soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is one of the most effective odor-neutralizing substances. It is a commonly available product, which means that you most likely already have it at home.

To eliminate any smell of body odor from your leather jacket, sprinkle some baking soda on various sections, including its sleeves, lapels, back, front, collar, and belt.

Leave the jacket as it is for at least half an hour to allow the baking soda to absorb the odor. If the odor is still lingering, you will need to leave the baking soda on your leather jacket for a while longer.

Finally, remove the baking soda with a soft brush or dry microfiber cloth until no residue remains. Then, air out the leather jacket for a couple of hours near a well-ventilated area, before use.

Method 5: Professional Cleaning Services

Opting for a professional cleaning service is by far the most expensive option on this list, however, it’s also the most convenient and effective. If you decide to choose professional cleaning services, it’s a good idea to choose a place with a good reputation for cleaning leather-based clothing.

This will give you peace of mind that your leather jacket won’t get damaged in the process and all you’ll need to do is collect it at the end of the cleaning process.

Common Reasons Why Leather Jackets Develop Linger Body Odor Smells

Unpleasant body odor smells from your leather jacket are primarily caused by exposure to sweat, as the porous nature of the material makes it prone to absorb any substance it’s exposed to.

Since prevention is always better than cure, it is important to address the issues as soon as your notice any unpleasant smell from your leather jacket. You would have noticed by now that we always recommend cleaning your leather jacket to remove any form of smell, including body odor.

This is because cleaning your leather jacket using effective cleaning solutions can remove odors by eliminating any bacteria that may have accumulated over time.

Besides removing trapped sweat, cleaning your leather jacket also helps to remove any dirt or oils that could have accumulated and permeated the leather material. To help you better understand how this can happen, we’ve listed some reasons why leather jackets may develop body odor smells.

Wearing a Leather Jacket During or After Exercising

When the weather is cold, many people tend to wear their leather jackets even when they are exercising. This can cause sweat to be absorbed by the material and develop a lingering smell over time.

Therefore, it is best to wear a sports jacket while exercising in winter and wear warm clothes that are more appropriate for exercising, which can also be easily washed.

Wearing a Leather Jacket When It Is Too Hot or Humid

While leather is relatively breathable on its own, leather jackets that have inner linings prevent breathability. Therefore, wearing leather jackets in warm temperatures or humid environments may can it to absorb sweat, which in turn could lead it to smell like body odor.

Therefore, it is best to opt for other types of outerwear, such as sleeveless leather vests which will allow for more ventilation in the summer. If you decide to wear your leather jacket in warmer conditions, it’s best to wash it more regularly.

Not Storing Your Leather Jackets Correctly

Storing your leather jacket in regularly ventilated areas can prevent it from smelling like body odor, as air circulation can help to evaporate any moisture that may have been absorbed by the material.

On the other hand, if you store it in a compact and closed wardrobe, your leather jacket may develop lingering smells more easily, as it traps all types of odors. This is especially true if you store your leather jacket in less-than-ideal circumstances for prolonged periods.

Therefore, always hang and air dry your leather jackets after use and only store them in a closet or wardrobe after they have been fully aired.

About Matthew

Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief & Writer At Leatherskill

I’m a leather enthusiast turned artisan. Apart from crafting leather products, I’m passionate about writing in-depth guides and reviews on all things leather!