Leather car seats are a staple of any luxury automobile. But how do leather car seats get smelly? This article explores the science behind leather and how it can become so unpleasant to be around. I will also offer some of the best home remedies on how you can eliminate that smell for good.
So, how do leather car seats get smell? Leather car seats will mainly get smells from sweat from our bodies and from mold and mildew growth due to the leather seats being wet, damp, or exposed to heat and humidity.
In the rest of this article, I will go over;
- The details on how leather get smells,
- How to remove those smells, and
- Tips on how to prevent leather car seats from getting smells.
1. Sweats And Body Oils
One of the first ways your leather car seats will get smells or odor is from the sweat and body oils of whoever is sitting in them.
During the hot summers, you can expect the sweat from your body to soak into the leather material of your car seats.
This will especially happen if your skin usually has direct contact with your leather car seats. The sweat and oils from the person sitting there will seep into the leather material making it very smelly over time.
Not only will this cause your leather car seats to smell but also it can lead to the seat being discolored from those oils.
- The best remedy is to have your leather car seats cleaned by a professional as this will remove the sweat and oils from the leather car seats entirely.
- If you want to take matters into your own hands, you can consider using leather cleaner which will rid the leather car seats of sweat and oils.
- You would also want to maintain a regular cleaning routine and if possible, use a leather seat cover as this will make your leather car seats much cleaner and easier to maintain.
2. Leather Car Seats Get Smelly From Heat
Another way that leather car seats can get smelly is from the heat. In hotter climates, especially those with a lot of humidity in them, your leather car seat will absorb the heat and humidity.
This can make the temperature inside of your car at least warmer than it usually is. The heat will also cause the leather car seats to expand which could lead to your seat cushions getting crunched up.
If you are not careful to take these steps, your leather car seats will get smelly from all of the heat.
- You can use a dehumidifier to help reduce the humidity levels in your car which will make it much less likely for your leather car seats to absorb all of that humidity.
- You do not want to use a dehumidifier in your car when it is raining or snowing because this could cause your leather car seats to get wet.
- You would also want to consider using a seat cover which will help protect the leather in your car seats from getting any additional damage.
3. Leather Car Seats Getting Damp Or Wet
Another way your leather car seats can get smelly is from being in a damp and wet environment or the leather car seat getting wet.
This can happen when it rains and your window is rolled down or the door is left open and the leather car seat is exposed to all of that rainwater. Another way this could happen is when you have a leak in your sunroof or your AC/Heating is broken.
If you are unfortunate enough to have your leather car seats get wet, it will be much harder for them to dry out. The water will get soaked up by the leather car seats which will make them much more prone to smells.
If the wet leather car seats do not get the chance to dry properly, the dampness of the leather material will start to smell with time.
- The best way to prevent your leather car seats from getting wet is by using a waterproof seat cover. This will help keep the leather car seats from getting wet and will also protect them from any other damage that could happen.
- You would still want to take the time to dry out the leather car seats properly when it gets wet. You can use a hairdryer set to low heat and hold it about four inches away from your leather car seats.
- This will help the leather to dry out much faster which will help to avoid your leather car seat from smelling as quickly as it would if they were left wet.
- This can also help your leather car seats to not be discolored from the water exposure either.
- Another way you could prevent your leather car seats from getting wet is by waterproofing your leather car seats from time to time using a leather protector spray.
- This will help to prevent your leather car seats from getting wet and can also help protect them from other damage such as spills and stains.
4. Natural Decay Processes
Smells are part of leather’s natural decay process. Leather is made up of organic materials (animal skin) which are prone to decay if not treated or maintained well.
As leather car seats age, they will start to degrade and develop a natural leathery smell. This can be treated by regular cleaning but will not go away completely.
If you’re not aware of this kind of change in smell, you may assume that the car itself is dirty or smelly.
While you may not be able to resolve this completely there are a few things you can do to make sure your leather car seats maintain a smell that you like.
- If the natural leathery smell is not something you like, then the best way to prevent it from happening is by taking good care of your leather car seats.
- By regularly cleaning them and treating them with leather conditioner you can help to ensure your leather car seats always have a nice fresh look and smell.
5. Smoking In The Car
Another common way leather car seats get odor or bad smells is from smoking in the car.
Smoking puts off a very strong smell which can permeate your leather car seats and make them smelly as if your leather car seats have been barbequed.
Leather as a material is able to assimilate smells around it. In this case, the smoke will be absorbed into the leather fibers and will gradually take over the smell of the leather car seat.
If you have a leather car seat that has been exposed to smoking, it will start to smell like stale cigarettes and smoke.
The worse part is, smoke smells can be very difficult to get rid of from leather car seats. The odors that are put off by smoking in the car can be difficult to get rid of and will require you to be very patient in getting rid of the smell.
- The best way to prevent this from happening is by not smoking in your car which is a very common-sense solution.
- Also, you would want to get rid of any smoking paraphernalia out of your vehicle. This includes ashtrays, lighters, and other things that can contribute to the smell of stale cigarettes.
- You would want to regularly clean your leather car seats and treat them with a leather conditioner. This will help to get rid of the smell by allowing your leather car seats to absorb the leather conditioner’s smell instead.
- Another way to get rid of the smoke odor is by using a shampoo like this one: Leather Cleaning Shampoo. The shampoo contains a neutralizing agent that works to get rid of the smell and will leave your leather car seats with a nice leathery smell.
- There are also a few household products you can use to get rid of the smell from your leather car seats such as baking soda, vinegar, coffee grounds, which I will discuss in my next article.
6. Mold And Mildew
A common cause of smells especially in leather car seats is mold and mildew. This is common in leather car seats that are stored or kept for a long time without being used.
Leather does not have any resistance to mold and mildew. If your leather car seats are kept in a space that is not well ventilated or with wet towels or blankets, the leather will absorb the moisture and start to mold.
The unpleasant smell of mildew is absorbed by the leather car seats which makes the car smelly and the leather surfaces will start to deteriorate.
So mold and mildew are a few other things you might want to look out for when cleaning your leather car seats.
- The best way to deal with this type of smell is by preventing it from happening. This means you should always keep your car as well ventilated as possible and dry as much as possible.
- You would also want to avoid storing your leather car seats in a damp environment with wet towels or blankets.
- Also, you can use an ozone machine that uses ozone gas to kill mold spores and get rid of the smell. It will also sanitize your upholstery which is a nice added bonus.
- The best way to prevent this from happening is by regularly cleaning your leather car seats and treating them with a leather conditioner.
How To Remove Smells From Leather Care Seats
You can use vinegar to get rid of the smell from your leather car seats. Vinegar is a good odor neutralizer and is a very common household item. The way you use this household ingredient is by;
Step One: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle
Step Two: Spray the mixture on your leather car seats generously
Step Three: Let it sit for a while and then wipe it away with your microfiber towel
Step Four: Clean the surface of the leather car seat using a leather cleaner and condition it with a leather conditioner
You can also use vinegar to clean any stains on your upholstery as well.
Another household item that you can use to get rid of the smell from your leather car seats is baking soda. Baking soda will absorb and neutralize the smell and is a good deodorizer.
Step One: Sprinkle baking soda on your leather car seats with smells or odors.
Step Two: Let it sit for a while and then vacuum the baking soda off.
Baking Soda will also work to get rid of any stains on your leather car seats as well.
How To Prevent Smells In Leather Car Seats
You can prevent smells in leather car seats by:
- Keeping your upholstery as well ventilated and dry as possible
- Preventing them from getting moldy and mildewy by not storing your leather car seats in a damp environment with wet towels or blankets
- Cleaning your leather car seats regularly and keeping them conditioned with a leather conditioner.
- Using household items such as baking soda and vinegar to get rid of smells and odors.
- Kill mold spores and sanitize the surface of your leather car seats.
- Using an ozone machine that uses ozone gas to kill mold spores and get rid of the smell.
- Do not install a leather car seat cover if your leather car seats are damp.
- Make sure to thoroughly dry your leather car seats if they get wet. Pay attention to hard-to-reach areas like the seams, underneath baby seats, and crevices. These areas are great breeding grounds for mold and mildew because they can easily hide in these parts of your leather car seats.
Q: Do leather car seats need to be cleaned in order to get rid of smells?
A: Yes, cleaning your leather car seats is necessary if you want to get rid of the smell. Cleaning your leather car seats regularly helps to prevent any stains or smells.
Q: How often should leather car seats be cleaned?
A: You should clean your leather car seats every month or so. This is important because leather car seats see a lot of use so they need to be cleaned regularly.
Q: What are some of the best household products for removing smells from leather car seats?
A: Vinegar and baking soda are the best ways to remove smells from leather car seats. This is because they are both common household items that work well as odor neutralizers and deodorizers.
Q: What is the best way to clean leather car seats?
A: The best way to keep your leather car seats clean is by cleaning them regularly and conditioning them with a leather conditioner. You can also use mild dish soap or warm water and a microfiber towel to clean your leather car seats.
Q: How do you use an ozone machine to get rid of smells?
A: You can use an ozone machine to get rid of the smell by using it as a deodorizer. The way this works is by using ozone gas to kill mold spores and neutralize the smell. It will also sanitize your upholstery which is a nice added bonus.