removing odors from leather gloves

How to Remove Odors And Bad Smells From Leather Gloves: 5 Easy Methods

Leather gloves exude class, simplicity, and luxury. Leather gloves are mostly used to complete winter outfits. They offer much-needed warmth in the season along with protection against the elements.

Aside from that, leather gloves are also commonly used for protective purposes by industry professionals who need leather gloves for work or people who are operating motorcycles or recreational vehicles.

However, no matter how hard you may try to avoid it, sometimes, leather gloves can give off a bad smell, especially if you haven’t been properly taking care of them.

It can put you off from wearing the leather gloves confidently when you do sports or go out into the snowy weather. It is understandable for old leather gloves to have a slightly bad odor due to frequent use or ineffective maintenance.

5 best ways and methods to remove unwanted smells from your leather gloves:

  1. Using UV Light
  2. Using White Vinegar And Water Solution
  3. Using Baking Soda
  4. Using Coffee Beans
  5. Cleaning Entire Gloves Holistically

Following this guide will help you remove persistent bad smells coming from your leather gloves using the safest practices that we have tested. We’ve also made sure to include a question and answer section below to address more specific questions on this topic.

Why Do Leather Gloves Emit Bad Smells and Odor?

Leather gloves can get smelly depending on how much moisture has been trapped inside them. When you wear leather gloves, your sweat may get left behind and build up over time on, causing natural microbes present on leather to multiply. 

Sometimes, if dampness is allowed to persist on the leather material, mold can start growing on your leather gloves. This is often noticed on older pairs of leather gloves. Mold is extremely damaging to leather and can destroy the material’s genuine beauty and texture.

freshly cleaned leather gloves
Odorous Gloves That Have Been Freshly Cleaned

If the gloves are new and smell less than pristine, the problem most often is caused by moisture trapped in your gloves. The moisture in your gloves can promote bacterial growth, which is the main cause of the smell.

Another reason why your leather gloves might smell bad is accidental spillage. If you spilled a drink or some food on your leather gloves, they may be giving off a bad smell if you haven’t cleaned them properly afterward.

Sports, recreational, and motorcycle gloves that are made of leather can also commonly emit bad smells and odors due to sweat, grime, grease, and dirt when they aren’t cleaned frequently.

Since leather is a porous material, special care needs to be taken to clean it so no bacteria, mold, or mildew grows on it. To help you prevent any bad smells or mold problems, we have listed down methods you can adopt to ensure your leather gloves are always in the perfect condition.

Method 1: UV Light

An effective and safe method of removing bad smells from your leather gloves is to use UV light. It offers the chance to clean your leather items affordably with UV light and kill bacteria and germs caused by residue sweat.

A safe-to-use handheld UV light is a great tool for disinfecting your leather products since it renders bacteria unable to reproduce. If the smell is particularly bad from the moisture, we advise putting it under a sun or UV lamp.

On the other hand, we only recommend that you put your leather gloves in the sunlight only if the lining of the glove covers the leather entirely. Otherwise, leaving your leather gloves in the sun for a prolonged time can result in sun damage with a chance of your gloves drying out and even cracking.

Turn the gloves inside out to prevent any potential damage to the texture of the leather while maximizing efforts for cleaning.

Method 2: White Vinegar and Water Solution

One of the easiest ways to kill germs and deodorize materials is to use a vinegar and water solution. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is highly effective in killing viruses and bacteria. Since the odor caused in leather items is due to the growth of these microorganisms, killing them with vinegar reaps the most effective results.

water and white vinegar solution

We recommend using a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water to kill as much of the germs as possible. White vinegar is commonly the most acidic vinegar out of the vinegar range present in the market. This is why white vinegar is the most popular option for disinfection and odor removal for leather products.

White vinegar does not have any natural coloring, which can prevent your leather gloves from getting tainted. You can apply the vinegar and water solution to your gloves by using a microfiber cloth.

After the entire surface area has been covered by the solution, allow it to dry completely before use.

Method 3: Baking Soda

Baking soda is a chemical compound that can be used to draw out bad smells from any material, including leather. It can be classified as amphoteric, which means that it can react both as an acidic and base compound.

When you sprinkle baking soda on any odorous leather glove, it will begin to absorb the foul-smelling vapors in its surroundings. It can also neutralize the source of the odor itself.

After some time, you can simply brush off the baking soda from the material and get rid of the smell.

Method 4: Coffee Beans

Ground coffee beans have been found to be highly effective in masking odors. Some researchers have also developed a toxic gas filter from coffee grounds. Due to the presence of nitrogen in coffee grounds, odors can quickly get absorbed in the substance.

For leather gloves, it is best if you put a small number of coffee beans in a mesh bag and place it inside your leather gloves for a day or two so that all bad odors are absorbed hassle-free.

The important thing to note is that your bag holding your beans should be breathable and porous to maximize the efficacy of the coffee beans. Therefore, a typical mesh or dust bag will do the trick.

Method 5: Cleaning Entire Glove

If you are looking to remove unpleasant odors from your leather gloves most effectively, you will need to address the source of the odor. To ensure that you leave no stone unturned, we recommend cleaning the entirety of your gloves so that we are minimizing the possibility of your gloves still smelling bad.

While this method may be the most tedious on our list, it is also the most effective way of ensuring that all odors are removed from your leather gloves.

Feel free to refer to our detailed guide on how you can use clean your leather gloves holistically and safely. Doing so will put you in the best position to eliminate any smells that you do not want lingering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you’ll be able to find some of the most frequently asked questions that our readers have sent us. We’ve answered them to the best of our knowledge. Feel free to reach out if you would like to have your questions added.

How Do I Choose Which Method To Use?

We recommend identifying the source of the odor as much as possible, to begin with. The main question you will need to answer for yourself is the following: is the source of odor coming from the glove interiors or exteriors?

Based on that, you can look to hone in on an accessible method that addresses the root cause of your gloves’ odor. In addition, we also recommend that you clean the entirety of your gloves to ensure that all smells are removed most effectively.  

How Do I Prevent My Gloves From Developing Odors In The Future?

The best way to keep your gloves from smelling fresh would be to ensure that you are maintaining them regularly. This would entail washing your gloves from time to time or after heavy use or exposure to sweat.

Please keep in mind to not overwash your gloves (we recommend about 3 wash cycles per year) as that can end up damaging the leather base. It’s fine to wipe them down after each use, but deep cleaning shouldn’t be done too regularly.

Equally important would be ensuring that your storage conditions are ideal for your leather gloves. Please do not store them in poorly ventilated and humid environments as that can lead to mold and mildew formation, which can be a strong source of odor.

Do all The Methods Listed Work On Faux Leather?

Yes, all methods above are also effective for faux or synthetic leather. If you are dealing with faux leather, we recommend increasing your wash cycles for your leather gloves as faux leather is much less predisposed to water damage. We recommend washing your faux leather gloves about once a month.

How Do I Remove Gasoline Smells From Leather Gloves

Gasoline smells can be tricky to remove, as they penetrate your leather gloves relatively aggressively. However, we’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to remove gasoline smells from leather, where we share various effective methods and techniques.

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!