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How to Remove Smells from a Leather Purse

Purse first, purse first, walk into the room purse first…

The famous line by Bob the Drag Queen describes perfectly how much attention a purse garners. If you haven’t heard this song, go ahead listen to it on YouTube. Whether you are carrying a Michael Kors handbag or a purse that was bought from Groupon, caring for it is the number one rule of having this accessory.

 

When it comes to a leather purse, the responsibility is doubled because this pristine material requires great care, or it will develop a slight nasty odor. From mold and mildew to chemicals, smoke, urine, and even manure (yuck!), all these smells can permeate your leather purse. Some of these odors are so strong that they can be smelled by the person sitting next to you. So, what can be done?

 

Well, the good news is that you can easily remove bad odors from your leather purse. However, it requires a lot of patience on your part. Today, we will tell you how to remove smells from a leather purse. From DIY cleaners like vinegar and soda to leather cleaners, store-bought odor removal sprays, and odor-absorbing powders, you can use just about anything. Let’s find out how.

 

Why Does My Leather Purse Smell?

Three of the most common reasons your leather purse is giving off such a bad odor are ― one, you are not taking care of it. Second, it’s a fake. And third, it hasn’t been treated properly.

  • Smells of mold and mildew are a result of keeping your purse near a water source or wiping it with a wet cloth.
  • Chemical odors indicate that you were duped into buying a faux leather purse.
  • Leather purses made with camel hide are often treated with urine. This makes the purse extremely soft. Initially, the purse is dipped in a salt-water solution to remove the smell. However, the nasty odor quickly comes back after a while. You know what this means ― your leather purse was cheap because it was made from a low-quality material.
  • A smoky odor is mostly due to cigarettes and can be easily removed.
  • A leather purse that smells fishy was treated in unfiltered fish oil,and removing this odor is a bit tricky. You will have to buy a commercial cleaner to get rid of it.
  • Lastly, if your leather purse smells like manure,it’s probably made from cheap material that wasn’t treated properly. What you’re actually smelling is your purse decaying (yikes!).

 

Now that you know why your purse is dying or just feels like it is, here’s how to remove smells from a leather purse:

 

What You Will Need

  • Air Dryer Sheets
  • Vinegar
  • Alcohol
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Charcoal Briquettes
  • Leather Clean (Special Detergent)
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Shoe Refreshing Spray
  • Store-Bought Leather CleanerSpray

 

5 Ways to Remove Smells from a Leather Purse

1. Air Drying

If you accidentally stored your purse in a damp area, the best way to remove the mold and mildew smell is to air dry it. Open all the pockets of your leather purse and place it outside for a while. Do this for a couple of days until the smell is completely gone. If this does not work, here’s what you can use next:

  • Alcohol and Warm Water

 

Mix half part water and half part alcohol in a bowl. Dip a cloth in the solution and squeeze out all the excess until the cloth is slightly damp. Gently wipe the purse inside and out. Since alcohol kills mold and mildew, this DIY solution will work pretty fast.

  • Use Baking Soda

 

Baking soda absorbs musty as well as other odors. This household staple is often placed in the fridge to kill the smell of garlic. Fill a small bowl with baking soda and place it in the purse. Replace the powder at least twice a day.

 

2. Use Dryer Sheets to Remove the Smoke Smell

Air dryer sheets absorb all the smoke smell and make your purse smell as fresh as new. Simply wrap the purse in the sheet and make sure to stuff it in the pocket too. Leave it in place for a couple of hours, and you will be able to smell the difference. If this does not work, you can try a DIY solution.

  • Water and Vinegar

 

Mix half part water and half part vinegar in a bowl. Dip a cloth in the solution and squeeze out all the excess until the cloth is slightly damp. Gently wipe the purse inside and out. Do this every day until the smoke smell is gone.

 

3. Use Charcoal Briquettes to Remove Strong Smells

Charcoal briquettes are great at absorbing musty odors. Since it is highly porous, not only can it help remove odors but moisture too. Simply place the briquettes in the purse with a paper towel underneath (charcoal can stain leather) and leave it in place for a couple of hours. Do it for a couple of days until the smell is gone.

 

4. Use Leather Clean

Leather Clean is a detergent that can be added to water to soak the purse. This method is completely safe and can remove fishy odors. This detergent is a mix of moisturizers, antibacterial agents, fresheners, and cleansers and will lift the strongest of smells. Plus, it works wonders on your leather purse’s shine.

 

5. Use a Shoe Refreshing Spray or Store-Bought Leather Cleaner

When everything mentioned above fails, your best bet is to use a commercial cleaning spray. These sprays are great at removing any kind of nasty odor. First, clean the purse with a damp cloth to remove and dirt. Now moisten a towel with any one of the sprays and clean the leather purse with it. Make sure to really get in there and wipe every nook and cranny. Once completely wiped, spray the outer surface and place the purse in front of a closed window. Let the purse dry, and you will smell the difference after the first application.

 

Our Final Thoughts on How to Remove Smells from a Leather Purse

We hope this post explained how to remove smells from a leather purse properly. It’s pretty easy, right? Most of the items mentioned on the list are household staples, so start with those. If the odor is light, baking soda and vinegar will do the trick. However, if your purse smells like manure, better skip to the spray.

 

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About Rachel

Hey, how are you doing?!? I'm Rachel, one of the founders of Bag Vanity. I love classic designer handbags and typically stick to earth tones and basic colored bags. My go-to bag is my trusted hobo purse. Love it!