Asked on Dec 16, 2012

Musty smell out of leather funiture

by Teena
I have tried everything fom baking soda to a bleach water solution to get the musty smell out of a black leather couch that was stored for a few years. It is too heavy to move outside...any suggestions?
  10 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 16, 2012
    Are the cushions removable? I have seen many where you can remove the cushion covers. With access to the pad / filling you may be able to do some deeper cleaning.
  • good luck, i have the same problem with a leather couch. I did what KMS suggested and that helped a little, but the smell is in the leather. I have thought about trying some saddle soap, febreeze works for about an hour then the smell is back. I hope someone has a trick that works!
  • Odors in couches and chairs are often difficult if not impossible to remove. Particularity if they have been stored in a slightly damp environment. Microbial development can begin inside the leather coatings causing these odors. If when you brought the leather furniture into the house did it appear to have a white even so slight film on the outside? I am sure it wiped off easily and appeared to be more like dust then anything else. This is a common occurrence if the furniture was not prepped properly and kept in dry warm storage. Quite often then not as an inspector I find this on furniture such as this in finished basement rooms that require a dehumidifier to keep the room dry. There are a few things that you can do. One of which was suggested by KMS. Doing this may lower the odors your smelling. However I doubt this will cure it all. If you can find someone that does Ozone cleaning that may help. Ozone works by destroying the cellular structure of living materials such as mold. This will then stop the odor given off as the microbial action is stopped. Odors are a result of gasses given off due to the digestion of materials that are being attacked by mold. The professional would place the furniture in a large plastic bag of sorts then using the Ozone unit fill the bag with Ozone for about 20 min or so. A few doses of this should stop the odors. However this all depends upon how deep the dampness goes within the furniture. Another method is to have the furniture re-stuffed using the leather covering. In any case simply cleaning, spraying or even airing it out, this will take many months if it works at all.
  • Teena Teena on Dec 18, 2012
    Thank you all for the tips, unfortunately the cushions are not removable :( I have not tried the saddle soap but will give it a shot. I will also be checking on ozone cleaning in my area. Depending on the expense it may be an option as well.
  • Donna S Donna S on Dec 18, 2012
    try spraying it with vinegar.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Dec 19, 2012
    Woodbridge is righ using the Ozone machine. You can rent them they are very reasonable for a tool rental company. I have used these to get rid of cigarette smokers smell in homes, when we painted, when my fathers house had a fire and some of his stuff that wasn't damage smelled like smoke. But if it doesn't get rid of it you haven't found the source of the problem which is probably mold spores.
  • Jeanne Martin Jeanne Martin on Mar 21, 2015
    Charcoal briquettes have gotten the bad smells out of coolers and a camper frig for me. I hung some in a section of panty hose in the unit for a couple of days. Not sure how you could use these with a couch but I thought I would mention it. I just noticed that this original post is from 2012...doh! You probably don't have the couch anymore by now!
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Sep 16, 2015
    I recently discovered bamboo charcoal bags and I love them. If you notice an odor again, just recharge the bag in the sun. I have litter boxes in the basement, and it always smelled musty down there, until I bought these bags. Also worked to remove all the odor in my car when the upholstery got soaked from a sudden rainstorm. Left a smaller bag in my car for a couple of days and the musty, mildew smell never returned. I bought mine on Amazon (
  • Teena Teena on Sep 17, 2015
    Thanks for all of your answers... 😊
  • Rub5168395 Rub5168395 on Apr 07, 2016
    Try a bag of kitty litter. You will have to do it over a few days, turning it all angles to get it into all the crevices. Should work though. Also works to put bags leather coats etc in a garbage bag full of litter to completely get out cigarette smoke smell. Doesn't stain anything.