Would you please tell me how to clean a leather jacket that smells? My husband took his camping and it has a terrible odor. I would like to try cleaning the leather at home with natural products if possible.
Joann A., Chicago
Leather is a lovely durable material, but it is a little challenging to clean. It’s not something you can toss in the washer. But if your husband’s jacket is made of finished leather, not suede, it’s not too hard to treat.
The first thing to do is round up a few supplies. The basic way to clean leather is with a mild soap. If you have a gentle face soap, that’s perfect. Mix up one part soap to eight parts water. Spray the mixture on a cloth, then rub the cloth over the leather. Rub against the grain. Let the jacket air dry out of the sun and see if it takes care of the problem.
If the jacket is visibly dirty, you can fix that problem at home, too. There is a helpful article that describes in detail how to remove all sorts of stains from leather and it shows you how to make your own homemade leather cleaner.
You can see the article here: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/how-to-clean-leather-with-simple-homemade-leather-cleaning-recipes/
To make the jacket feel soft, and possibly smell nicer, you can make your leather conditioner. It requires one part beeswax, one part cocoa butter, and two parts almond oil. You’ll need to heat these ingredients until they blend. Then massage the mixture into the leather with your fingers. Finish up by polishing it with a soft cloth.
If the jacket is suede, you need a different process for how to clean a suede jacket. Sometimes all you need is a little baking soda and a suede brush. If the odor is a little stronger and still won’t go away, there are other solutions in the linked article that can help or you may just need to repeat the procedure a few times to eliminate the smell.