Why some leather items smell so bad?
Leather bags and items are not just a fashion accessory but also a style statement that gives a vintage, rustic look to its owner. It is one of the oldest materials that are still used by men to express the royalty and class. Good quality leather is known for its smooth patina, supple tone and texture and a unique, woody odor that gives it a distinctive feel. However, many a times, people find this odor to be unbearable and a negative aspect for leather goods. It is to be noted that good quality leather which is well treated and processed will not have a pungent, striking smell. The unique woody odor of good quality leather products like Handmade World Bags gives it a good feel and this odor gradually fades with time and usage.
Although there is some leather products which has awful, sharp, pungent smell which is unbearable. The reason behind this is either the leather (hide) quality or the processing it while manufacturing the leather products. A poor quality animal hide of goat, buffalo or horse will have that rotten smell that makes it unbearable and can be a threat to health. The manufacturers and leather workers are required to look after that the hide which is been supplied to them or is been used by maintains the minimal quality standards to avoid such unwanted conditions. Other that this, the chemical used for tanning and other treatment of leather is also a major reason that few leather products have a metallic or “ammonia” like stench.
Besides this factors like leather getting wet or damp for long period, makes the leather bags or other good smell like Mould or Mildew. The prolong exposure to water makes the leather react with organic compounds, making it to product unpleasant stink. This can be avoided by wiping it with clean dry cloth, wrapping it in newspaper or keeping the leather item in sunlight to lose any moisture. If the leather product smells like chemicals or ammonia, the reason could either be use of heavy chemicals for coloring and treating the hide or use of animal urine as ammonia derivative. Ammonia helps to make the leather soft and easy to process, many manufacturers soak the leather in urine as that it gets naturally treated with ammonia. However, leather absorbs this ammonia which later on cases it to give out unpleasant stench. This can be removed by getting the leather good treated by leather cleaners or using baking soda to remove pungent ammonia odor.
Some people complain that their leather goods smell like smoke or cod fish. The reason could be cigarette smoke, wood smoke etc. which settles on leather items like leather jackets or apron. It can be easily removed by spraying the leather items with a solution of water and vinegar and wiping it off. If your leather item smells like fish, the probable reason could be that it is treated with cod oil or fish oil. Fish oil is known to give a water resistance to leather and make it soft supple. Although, with passage of time, it breaks down chemically and hence, gives out unbearable pungent smell that cannot be removed easily. If you are facing this problem, you can spray the leather item with FeBreeze or Cleaners like Leather Clean, which can reduce the odor to some extent, but not completely.
In addition to this, regular drying of leather items in sunlight and airing them with dryer will not only avoid the odor but also increase the shelf life of leather products.
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