Removing Odors From Leather Seats

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Washcloths

  • Leather cleaner or soap

  • Leather conditioner

  • Activated charcoal or baking soda

Leather seats can smell for a variety of reasons.

Leather is well-known for its durable surface and attractive appearance, both of which make it ideal for use as seating in cars and household furniture. Unfortunately, leather has a tendency to smell, either due to the tanning process that is used to create it, the chemicals it was treated with during manufacturing, or because the fabric has absorbed odors from the people and items around it. In any case, getting odors out of a leather seat can take some patience and effort on the part of the seat's owner.


Video of the Day

Step 1

Wipe down your leather seat with a damp washcloth, and inspect it for potential causes of the odor. Spilled food, drinks, sauces and other substances that have been left on your leather seat may be causing the odor and need to be cleaned off immediately if discovered.

Step 2

Clean the leather seat with a high-quality leather cleaner or soap. Rub it into the leather with a washcloth, and then wipe the cleaner off with a dry, clean cloth.

Step 3

Take the leather seat outside, and allow it to air out for several days. If the seat is in your car, open the windows or doors, and use fans to blow air through the car. Airing out leather is one of the most effective ways to help fade odors.


Step 4

Apply leather conditioner to the seat with a clean washcloth. Allow it to soak in.

Step 5

Place activated charcoal or baking soda underneath the seat to help absorb the odor.


It may be difficult or impossible to remove smells in seats if they have been absorbed by the fabric or cushioning underneath the leather covers. In some cases, you may need to remove and replace the seats to get rid of the odors.

Leather cleaning products such as leather soap and conditioner are available at your local supermarket or drug store.

Placing a strongly scented air freshener in close proximity to the leather seats can help mask any lingering odors.



Jen Davis

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.