How To Get Smell Out Of A Leather Couch

Not being able to slouch on your leather sofa due to an unbearable odor is a bummer. It should be the one to go away, not you. You came to the right place for a solution! We have compiled all that you need to know and by the end of this article, you can regain your rightful throne on your leather couch. 

Here are some home remedies to remove foul odors from your leather couches:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Coffee
  • Newspaper
  • Sunlight
  • Special leather products
  • Slipcover

We're not done yet. Continue reading as we thoroughly explain how each of the solutions above will work for you. We'll also discuss other important information you need to know about your leather couch. They are very easy, fast, and safe to execute. 

brown sofa cleaning, How To Get Smell Out Of A Leather Couch

Things To Do To Remove Bad Smell Out Of Leather Couch

First, see if there are specific instructions given by the brand you purchased your couch from. Leather is naturally porous so even though you keep your house clean 24/7, there is pretty much nothing you can do to prevent it.

A professional cleaning a leather sofa

But that doesn't mean you should live with it forever, especially if you'll follow these useful tricks:

Use A Vinegar Solution

Vinegar, which is commonly used in cooking, can also do magic for items other than food like clothes, furniture, floors, and even the air. Here is how it works:

Also called "acetic acid," vinegar is created from a fermented liquid that creates a natural bacteria known as Acetobacter combined with oxygen. This acetic acid is what fights unwanted odors and kills them. To make use of the remedy, gather the following:

  1. Water
  2. Vinegar
  3. Bucket or spray bottle
  4. Patience

Once you have all the necessary materials, you can follow this procedure:

  • First, mix an equal amount of water and vinegar. Pour into a spray bottle to prevent the liquid from spilling accidentally onto your couch.
  • Next, get a clean piece of cloth and soak that into the mixture. Squeeze the excess fluid and wipe it along on your leather couch. Do that until the surface is damp enough. Let that sit for a few minutes before wiping again with another set of a clean cloth and water.

Note: Apple cider vinegar can be used directly since it has a milder acid level than regular white one. 

Back It Up With Baking Soda

Baking soda is known to be one of the best home remedies. It is multipurpose and deodorizes the living and non-living—from the armpit smell to shoe stench. The powdery texture is packed with sodium bicarbonate and a weak acid, which absorbs stubborn odors that our noses hate so much.

All you have to do is cover your leather couch with it. It is best to do this at night so you can leave it overnight to ensure that it succeeds in eliminating the foul odor.

Once ready, grab your handheld vacuum cleaner and suction up all the powder.

Dry Coffee For Couches

If baking powder is not available in your household, use this method instead. Caffeine contains nitrogen that stimulates coffee's smell-fighting power. Place a handful of coffee grounds in a cloth bag and tie it tightly before leaving it on your couch.

This is perfect for dark-colored leathers. Coffee is not recommended with those that are light-shaded because it can stain the spot where you left it. Even if the leather is durable, it is prone to blemishes and dirt.


You may think newspapers are obsolete. But old ones are very much useful. You can use them in erasing unwanted smells on your couch by wrapping the leather with them for two to three days.

This kind of paper is more absorbent than regular copy paper and the pressed ink helps absorb the foul smell in a non-toxic way. It will work best with small items like leather bags or shoes as opposed to long couches, but it will still do the job.

A Touch Of Sunlight

If you can't move your leather couch outside, move it to a spot where sunlight can reach the surface, especially the seat and lounging area. Sunlight kills bacteria related to scents with its ultraviolet (UV) rays. Heat can evaporate the dirty, smelly moisture that sits with you.

Products For Leathers Only

Solutions specially made for this kind of problem are also a go to for leather couch owners. Leather cleaners and conditioners come in variations such as balm, liquid spray, or honeys. It also pampers your couch and comes with free wipes at times.

Click here to see this leather conditioner on Amazon.

Dress Up With A Slipcover

Unfortunately, there are hopeless cases where odors have completely conquered our couches. Masking it with a slipcover might end your agony. All you have to do is measure your couch accurately and find the best fit for it.

But if you are not sure, there are special made-to-order covers that work best to make sure it will cover your couch perfectly, like a glove. This is also a good way to give it a makeover that can fit the theme of your home.

Check out this sofa slipcover on Amazon.

Do Leather Couches Absorb Smell?

An interior of the residential building living room during day with cushion on sofa

Yes, leather can absorb not only liquids but scents as well. Since it is permeable, its surface pores allow scents to enter. Kitchen smells, cigarette smoke, oil sebum from hair, body perspiration, bacteria, and yeast hidden in your pet's body are all stored beneath the surface.

That is why it is very important for you to include leather cleaning in your regular cleaning schedule.

How Often Should Leather Couches be Cleaned?

There are three schedules you should maintain to keep your leather couch for a long time:

  1. Weekly vacuuming
  2. Deep cleaning every four to six weeks
  3. Deep conditioning twice a year

Calling for a professional leather cleaning service can save you time and ensures your couch is handled with utmost care if you are not confident in doing it by yourself.

To learn more about the topic, read through this post: How Often Should You Clean And Condition Leather Furniture?

What Do You Clean Leather Couches With?

Loft Interior with Leather Sofa and Skull

Start off by removing residues with a vacuum cleaner. After that, prepare soap and water. There is a soap specifically made for leather called saddle soap. It is a good option aside from using mild ones.

Dip and damp your clean washcloth in soapy water, then wipe the leather couch's exterior in a circular motion. Be sure to mop off the liquid with a separate clean dry cloth to prevent mildew from growing. Once done, apply leather cream to keep it smooth and shiny. Buff it until you are satisfied with the result.

Click here to see this saddle soap on Amazon.

You can get restoration ideas here: 7 Best Leather Furniture Repair Kits And Products

What Should You Not Use On Leather?

Using harsh solutions is the best way to ruin your leather. Let's look at some other products you should avoid:

  • Fingernail polish remover: It contains acetone that can scratch out the color on your couch, resulting in patches where it is applied.
  • Cleaning supplies: Bleaches and detergents are also a bad idea for keeping your leather safe.
  • Oils: All types of oil weaken leather's fiber leading to irreparable damage.

How To Maintain Leather Couches

Real photo of a leather couch in a living room interior

Cleaning isn't the only way to take care of your couch. Take note of this leather-care routine:

  • Make sure to keep the area ventilated by opening the windows, doors, or fan so as not to give mold or mildew the chance of building up. 
  • Once you have spotted a stain, clean it immediately. Letting it sit for too long will make it attach to the leather permanently, making it harder to remove.
  • Avoid eating or drinking while sitting on it. You can do that on your table in the dining area.
  • Do not sit if you are wearing clothes washed with chlorine or bleach. These ingredients may have hints of it left on your clothing. It can harm your couch.
  • Keep pets away. Put a cloth cover on to avoid getting nail scratches if you can't keep them off it.
  • Clean yourself before sitting or lying down. Remember, oil sebum, bacteria from dirty clothes, and body sweat contribute to the foul smell a lot!

For more insight, check out How To Remove Mildew From Leather.

In Closing

brown sofa cleaning

Having such an investment in your home does add a great responsibility. Make sure to follow the right procedure to avoid more damage. We hope you'll get to rest comfortably on your leather couch soon after removing the slapping smell. Good luck!

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