How to Remove Smoke Odor from Leather

Cigarette smoke is a smell that has a tendency to linger. It cleans to fabrics and other surfaces and can be offensive to some who are sensitive to it. Even for those with no allergies at all, the residual smell is never welcome. If smoke smell has attached itself to leather, it can create a seemingly bigger problem as leather is so temperamental to clean. Before you take your jacket to a professional, leave this as a last resort so as to save your pocketbook the unnecessary expense.

Close up of man cleaning car interior. (Image: nubumbim/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Apply saddle soap or leather soap to a clean cloth and wipe the leather with it. Follow any instructions on the bottle for the best results. "Rinse" the jacket with a clean damp cloth and wipe it dry to absorb any residual moisture, which can harmful to the leather. Place the item outside to air dry. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this may cause fading. Leave the item outside for two or three hours to dry and air out; this may also help to eliminate lingering smells.

Step 2

Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and lightly mist the item. Vinegar eliminates odors easily. Use a clean cloth to wipe down the item and set it outside to dry, avoiding direct sunlight.

Step 3

Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the leather and allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, vacuum up the baking soda and the smell should be gone. Repeat if needed.

Step 4

Put activated charcoal into clean, hole-free socks and tie them up tightly. Fill two or three socks and place them into a large plastic bag with the leather item. Tie up the bag and leave it in a cool, dry place overnight. Remove the item in the morning and check to see if the smell is gone. Repeat as needed.

Step 5

Wrap newspaper around the leather item and leave it in a cool dry place. Newspaper is great for absorbing odors. Leave the item wrapped in newspaper for 24 to 48 hours, and repeat if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Saddle soap or leather soap

  • Clean cloth

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Activated charcoal

  • Socks

  • Newspaper


If the smell is persistent and nothing works to get the smell out, speak with a professional leather consultant about your options.


Avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasives, as leather is easily damaged.

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