How to Remove Skunk Odor From Leather

Skunks spray a defensive oil that can pervade an entire house. The smell of skunk is distinctive and is difficult to clean. Early action and persistence are essential in removing and containing skunk smell. Cleaning skunk odor out of leather requires extra care, since leather can be ruined with household cleansers.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar

  • Mild dish soap or detergent

  • Baking soda

  • Water

  • Sponge

  • Cloths or towels

  • Wash tub or bucket

Soap & Water

Step 1

Since leather is a hide, rinse or hose off your leather item as soon as possible to reduce the oil on the surface. The odor from skunks comes from a musk oil, and it is quickly absorbed by hair and skin.

Step 2

Sponge with a mild detergent.

Step 3

Rinse and pat dry.

Step 4

The skunk smell will probably not be completely gone. Continue to the two sections below.

Baking Soda

Step 1

Baking soda is a deodorizer, and it helps to lift oils from materials. Make a paste with 4 parts baking soda, 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water.

Step 2

Spread the paste all over your leather item.

Step 3

Gently rub with a moist sponge.

Step 4

Rinse with water and pat dry.

Step 5

If the skunk smell is completely gone, lay the item flat to thoroughly dry.


Step 1

If the skunk odor is still noticeable, the oil was absorbed by the leather. In a wash tub or bucket, combine equal amounts of water and vinegar and add a dash of mild detergent.

Step 2

Soak your item for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3

Sponge the item with white vinegar.

Step 4

Soak for another 30 minutes.

Step 5

Repeat as necessary until the skunk smell is gone.

Step 6

Pat the item dry and set it flat to thoroughly dry.


Leather is usually lined with another material. Check that the solutions won't stain by applying a small amount to the lining. When the skunk smell is completely removed, condition your item according to manufacturer's recommendations. If the item cannot be immersed (such as a leather couch), hand-washing is possible. For convenience, move your item outdoors to make it easier to rinse.


If your leather item is a collectible or an antique, seek professional help for cleaning and preserving. Use white vinegar to avoid staining. Leather is treated hide and is prone to drying out. Be careful when rubbing, so the surface doesn't scratch or abrade.

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