Leather is such a ubiquitous part of our life that we tend to take them for granted. Shoes, sandals, bags, jackets, belts, upholstery and many other things that we use every day are all made of leather. When new, leather gives off a kind of odor that many people actually like. But when leather becomes wet, it becomes heavy and smells like a dead animal which many people find nauseating.
There are two types of leather: natural and synthetic. The former is made from tanned animal hide and skin. During the manufacturing process, they are treated with natural and artificial chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the strong smell of new leather. The latter is made from petrochemicals and naturally smells like gasoline or fuel oil.
Whether natural or synthetic, new or old, here are a few proven ways to get rid of the smell of leather:
Pack the leather item in paper: This is another way to remove odor from a new leather item. Old newspapers and packing papers are porous and absorb the odor from leather. Packing a leather item in paper gets rid of the odor faster than leaving it in the open. Newspapers are better at absorbing odor than other types of papers. Make sure that the paper is dry and free of moisture.
Dry wet weather: If the leather item is wet, then make it dry as fast as you can. We leather does not only smell bad, it also becomes damaged beyond repair if not dried in quickly. Some of the quickest ways to dry wet leather items are to put them out in the sun to dry, use a blow-dryer, wipe with a clean cloth and place the behind a refrigerator. When drying in the sun, make sure not to expose them to harsh sunlight as that can make natural leather crack and wear out. Blow-drying a good way to quickly evaporate the moisture in the leather, but make sure not to hold the dryer too close to the leather as the leather may crack. Placing leather items at the back of the refrigerator is also a quick way to dry a leather item. If the leather is only slightly wet, wiping off the moisture and water drops with a clean, dry cloth often solves the smell problem.
Condition the leather: If your leather item is not wet but moist and smelly, you can get rid of the odor by conditioning the leather using leather conditioner, linseed oil and shoe polish. Besides removing the odor, conditioning also helps preserves the color and sheen. Spraying the leather conditioner on a leather item removes the odor and brings back the shine. Massaging the leather with linseed oil also removes odor and brings back the shine. Shoe polish is the best product for conditioning and cleaning leather. It can be used on shoes, jackets and even briefcases.