How to Get Skunky Smells out of Leather Furniture
That Sofa Is Killing Me!
Have you ever bought a brand new leather sofa or couch, thinking how beautiful it will look in your house, and without even thinking about it, paid and got it delivered, only to find out that it is stinking your home out, with a smell that is a cross between a skunk, and a decomposing animal?
Yes? Well, I wish someone had told me about it! After moving into his new home, my brother decided that he had always wanted a big leather sofa. So after purchasing one, and waiting a couple of days for delivery, he set it up in the pride of place in his new flat. Over the next couple of days, he began to feel really ill. He felt sick, dizzy and his Asthma began to get really bad, he could not understand it.
He was aware of the fact that the couch had a horrible musty smell, but in his innocence, he thought it would go away after leaving the doors and windows open. But to no avail. I visited a couple of times, and commented on this horrible smell, but didn't think anything of it, until I started to feel sick and slightly heady. It was disgusting. I always thought leather had a nice smell.
I had bought handbags and jackets new before, and they had never had such a horrible odor. By this time, my brother had started to get quite scared. He couldn't understand why he felt so ill. So I decided to do a bit of investigating. After reading a few books and checking out a couple of sites on the internet, I realized that thankfully we were not alone in this.
What Do We Do Now?
To my dismay, I realised that actually, not only do a lot of people have this problem, but there really is not a way to absolutely get rid of this smell for good. But the good news is that you can remove it, but you may have to repeat the process from time to time. Obviously, after a few years of wear and tear, other smells will permeate it, and by then you will either be used to it, or thankfully it will only pong a bit. All depending on the depth or type of leather. So below I have listed the best and most effective way to minimalise the odor, and hopefully get it to a state of neutrality where you will be able to forget about it for good, or at least for a long while.
- The first and best idea, is to use a good saddle soap. It is not very expensive, and is made just for cleaning leather. Most hardware stores or specialised leather shops will be able to sell this to you, and always make sure after you have cleaned it, that you put back the oils in the sofa, to stop the leather from drying and cracking. Linseed or lanolin oil are good leather conditioning products to keep the leather supple.
- Zeolite. This is an odor absorber that comes from volcanic ash, it is a natural mineral and can be recharged by putting them back out in the sun. It works for years. Place it in the mesh bag that comes with it, under your cushions or even inside the sofa.
- A solution of washing up liquid in water, and a cloth rung sparingly, don't soak it, can have a good effect, as it removes the obvious smell, and can soak into the leather. Make sure you use hot water, or at least warm, so that it will evaporate quicker, and not soak the couch too much. You don't want a ruined soggy mess to contend with! If it gets too wet, it will smell more like a soggy animal caught in the rain!
- Old newspapers or any sort of packing paper, is a great idea to get rid of the smell. The reason for this is that the paper is more porous than leather, so what happens is the fibres of the paper act as a wick that lifts the odors from the leather. Don't use paper that you would get in a notebook or feels harder, because newspaper is much more porous so will work quicker.
- This one may be obvious, but try to get as much air to the product as possible. If it is practical, try and move the couch to a room where you can constantly open a window or door for a few days. A shed or a garage would be best because it is well ventilated, but not to damp.
- Soak the leather in a solution of distilled white vinegar. Obviously, this will cause it to smell of vinegar slightly when it is dry, so after giving it a good rub down, let it dry, and then wash the couch again with the washing up solution, then make sure you give it a good conditioning. You do not want a moldy, vinegar smelling settee, that eventually shrivels up and looks a mess.
- Mix a solution of Ammonia and water, and soak the leather in it. This may seem odd, as leather is cleaned in ammonia in the first place, whilst being made. But if your leather smells badly of skunk, then the bad smell has obviously overtaken the ammonia. This will counteract the bad animal smell. Then clean with washing up liquid and warm water, then conditioner.
- Baking soda has many uses, but the main use for leather is that it will soak up the smell, very quickly and efficiently. Place a liberal amount of baking soda inside a cushion case or pillowcase, and place it across and around the leather, covering as much as you can. This works best for small leather items, but can be a quick solution for a couch if you don't have time to clean it properly for a few days.
- Charcoal is another good thing to use to soak up the bad odor. Do the same with this as you did with the baking soda.
- There is a new product, link below, that is called The Amazing Environmental Air Sponge, that eliminates odors and smells. This product is said to dissolve in the air, releasing microscopic molecules that interact and eliminate odors and pollutant molecules as well as being good for dust control. check out the link.
So there we have it. I hope this helps to get rid of that horrible smell, and in my case, I will definitely be trying out these options, so that the settee can be used as it is meant to be. Smell free, and usable.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
I bought a leather sofa last month, but it still smells. I have applied a vinegar solution, charcoal, and sofa cleaner but the smell is still there. What should I do?
As you can see, the solution is in the article.Helpful 9
The stink is coming from deep within the leather recliner. How do I get to the inside to clean it? Can a syringe filled with a solution and shot into where it's sewed clean it? What would you recommend for that?
I would suggest phoning the shop where you bought it and asking for advice. Each leather couch is made by a different firm. Best to get expert advice on that.Helpful 7
© 2010 Nell Rose