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How to Get the Wet Stink Away From Leather

Mary Ylisela

When a leather jacket or pair of shoes gets wet, the natural material has a tendency to stink. Wearing clothing that smells is unpleasant enough, but the moisture can also damage the leather.

Wearing wet leather smells like you're wearing a wet animal.

Preventing your leather goods from getting wet is the best way to maintain your leather, while avoiding the unpleasant smell of a wet animal hide. But if your leather goods have gotten wet, prompt action to remove moisture and smell will successfully return your leather to fresh, usable condition.

  1. Pat dry the wet leather item with clean towels. Press the towels into the leather surface to absorb as much moisture as possible. Allow the leather to air dry completely, away from direct sources of heat.

  2. A few drops of essential oil help deodorize a smelly leather surface.
  3. Create a solution to clean and deodorize the leather. Combine 1 cup olive oil, 2 oz. castile soap, 20 drops essential oil of your preferred fragrance and 2 2/3 cups of water in a large bowl. Mix the solution with a spoon, then fill a spray bottle with this leather cleaner and deodorizer.

  4. Spray the leather surface lightly with the cleaner and moisturizer. Rub the solution into the leather to deodorize it. Buff the leather surface to remove excess cleaner.

  5. Place the leather item in a dry location to allow the solution to be absorbed into the leather.

  6. Tip

    After drying smaller leather items, such as a pair of shoes or a purse, place them in a trash bag with a cotton ball that's been moistened with three drops of vanilla extract. Vanilla is a natural odor absorber that will remove the unpleasant smell from your leather overnight.


    Avoid using a hairdryer to dry your leather. Excessive heat can damage the leather and cause extemely wet leather to shrink.