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Vintage Leather Jacket | Similar – Pixie Market Nash Oversized Leather Jacket
Aritzia Boyfriend Hoodie | Similar – Alo Renown Hoodie
Citizens of Humanity Rocket Crop Skinny Jeans | Similar – Madewell Skinny Jeans
Vagabond Lissie Boots | Similar – Reformation Ramona Ankle Boot
Mejuri Thin Dome Ring Gold & Silver
Last summer, I found this incredible leather jacket at my favorite secondhand shop in Dallas, Dolly Python. Even though it was peak summer heat, I knew it would be perfect for the fall and winter.
I’m so glad I ended up getting it a few months before I needed to wear it, because it had a strong thrift shop smell that needed to dissipate.
In my experience, there’s really no way to rush getting the smell out of leather — you can do things to help speed up the process a bit, but overall it just takes time. But it is possible!
Here’s what I did to get the smell out:
When I first got it home, I put it in a sealed bag with a box of open baking soda. I left it in there for a couple of weeks, then changed the box of baking soda and repeated the process.
After that, I’d take it outside a few times a week to let it air out for a few hours at a time.
At that point, there was still a bit of smell left, but nothing like it had been. I felt comfortable hanging it in my closet and keeping lavender sachets in the pockets.
Within about 4 months, the smell was entirely gone — just in time to start wearing it when the cold weather rolled in!
Sometimes it can be a process to get those secondhand pieces ready to wear, whether it’s getting rid of a smell or taking them to the tailor or having a shoe re-soled. But, in my experience, it’s so worth it.
Got any thrift shop success stories to share? Ever found anything that just needed a little TLC, and you decided to go for it? Also if you’ve ever had a smelly leather success story I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments.
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Mary Grogan says
Love the jacket, and the shoes. Thrift stores can be such a wonderful treasure hunt.
Mary Grogan says
Oops, forgot to mention what I have found. Such wonderful things as a mink coat, matching fur jacket, a crystal biscuit jar, a lovely pale blue silk dressing gown, a pair of Mephisto shoes, vintage sterling earrings and antique crystal perfume bottles.
That all sounds lovely, Mary! What treasures!
Angelique Richardson says
Great advice? Does the same apply for vintage items with armpit smell?
I bet it would! I’d also start by taking it to a dry cleaner for a body odor smell. If that doesn’t help, baking soda and sunshine would be my next step.
This is great!! I never thought of the baking soda box in a sealed bag with the treasure find!! Thank you for the tips!!
Glad it was helpful, Laura!
A few years ago I had found a just-what-I-was-looking-for leather jacket on Poshmark, I scored it for $25! When I opened the package it smelled as if it had been doused in perfume and not one I would’ve have chosen. I ended up hanging it outside on pretty days for airing out. It took maybe a month, but I had to remember to stay on top of it. I still get compliments when I wear it, definitely worth the extra work.
Wow, what a score! $25! Definitely sounds like it was worth the extra effort. :)
Deets on that dining table, please!
I see from another post you bought it second hand. It is perfection!
Hi Bonnie! Yes! I found it at an antique shop quite a few years ago. Such a treasure!
Thank you for the tips! Buying clothes in thrift shops can be a little daunting for some of us, you know… Great leather jacket, by the way!
Totally understand, Adeline! I’m glad the post was helpful. :)
I have a thrifted vintage Golden Bear aviator leather and shearling jacket that was smelly! I used Arrow Leather Care in Missouri to get cigarette and thrift smells out. They did an ozone treatment on it IIRC and it worked SO well.
Oh, I love hearing this! I can imagine an ozone treatment would work wonders. Thanks for sharing Mel!
Michel Reed says
For sweaters or dry clean only, I spray them with a mixture of 3 parts alcohol, 1 part distilled water and lavender essential oil.
It sanitizes and removes the odor :)
I love to thrift and have been shopping secondhand for over 20 years… So I’m no stranger to removing undesired odors… but my biggest odor problem I’ve had in the last 2-3 years is the obtrusive laundry detergent/fabric softener scents. I do not use it in my own laundry for a multitude of reasons, so the smell is just offensive to my nose (plus gives me a rash)… and I just can barely get it out.
I currently have I sweater I thrifted last fall and still haven’t been able to wear: I’ve washed it several times, tried my usual soak (borax + washing soda), hung it outside for dayssss until snow fell and then left it in my screened in porch for weeks. Brought it inside? Still stinks like downy scent beads. I’m about to throw in the towel and donate it back. Has anyone had any luck removing these types of scents? It makes me not want to thrift anymore because I just cannot get that fabric softener out (which is the point of it I guess?) sorry for the rant… just something that’s been on my mind lately I’ve gotten so frustrated.