Smoke-Free Feet: How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Leather Shoes

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Are you struggling with a stubborn smoke smell that lingers in your favorite leather shoes? Whether it’s from a night out with friends or spending time in a smoky environment, the unpleasant odor can be overwhelming and difficult to remove. 

But fear not, because we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide on how to get smoke smell out of leather shoes. Leather shoes are an investment that should last for years, so it’s important to take care of them properly. 

Leaving smoke odor to fester in your shoes can not only cause embarrassment, but it can also damage the leather and decrease their lifespan. 

In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step process to rid your leather shoes of that stubborn smoke smell, and provide you with tips to prevent future odor buildup. So, let’s dive in and get those leather shoes smelling fresh again!

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Leather Shoes?

For your convenience, I’ve divided the process into 3 parts. Let’s not waste any more time and jump right into it-

Part 1: Cleaning the Surface

When it comes to removing smoke smell from leather shoes, the first step is to clean the surface of the shoes. This will help remove any dirt, debris, or surface grime contributing to the odor.

  • To start, use a soft-bristled brush to remove loose dirt and debris from the surface of your shoes. This will help to prep the surface for the next step.
  • Next, apply a leather cleaner to a clean cloth or sponge, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Work the cleaner into the surface of the leather using a circular motion, focusing on any areas that are particularly dirty or stained.
  • After the cleaner has been applied, allow it to sit on the surface of the leather for a few minutes to allow it to work its magic. This will help to break down any dirt or grime that may be present on the surface of the leather.
  • Once the cleaner has had time to sit, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away the excess cleaner. 

Be sure to remove all of the cleaners from the surface of the leather, as any residue left behind can cause damage to the leather over time.

Related: How to Lighten Leather Boots: 5 Proven Methods for Brighter, Fresher Footwear

Part 2: Removing Smoke Odor

Smoke odor can be tough to remove from leather shoes, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done. Here are some steps to follow to remove smoke odor from your leather shoes:

Applying Baking Soda:

Baking soda is a natural and effective way to absorb odors. To remove smoke smell from leather shoes- 

  • Start by sprinkling baking soda on the inside and outside of the shoes. Make sure to cover the entire surface. 
  • Let the baking soda sit for several hours or overnight. The longer you let it sit, the more odor it will absorb. 
  • After the baking soda has had time to work, shake off the excess and use a soft brush to remove any residue. 

This method is safe for most types of leather and can be repeated as needed until the odor is completely gone.

Related: Save Your Shoes: Learn How to Clean Leather Insoles

Using Charcoal to Absorb the Odor

Charcoal is another effective way to get smoke smell out of leather shoes. The porous structure of charcoal makes it an excellent absorber of odors, and it can be used to remove smoke smells from a variety of surfaces, including leather shoes. To use charcoal to remove smoke odor from leather shoes, follow these steps:

  • Get a piece of charcoal that is large enough to absorb the odor. You can use charcoal briquettes or activated charcoal, which can be purchased at most hardware or home goods stores.
  • Wrap the charcoal in a piece of cheesecloth or a thin cloth to prevent it from touching the leather directly.
  • Place the wrapped charcoal in the shoes and leave them in a well-ventilated area for at least 24 hours. The charcoal will absorb the smoke smell from the shoes.
  • After 24 hours, remove the charcoal from the shoes and discard it. Make sure to dispose of the charcoal properly, as it may still contain odors that could be harmful if inhaled.

Related: How to Seal Leather Boots: 4 Surefire Methods

Using White Vinegar to Neutralize the Odor

White vinegar is another effective method for neutralizing smoke odor in leather shoes. The acid in vinegar can break down the compounds that cause the smoke smell, leaving your shoes fresh and clean. Here’s how to use white vinegar to remove smoke odor from leather shoes:

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution onto the inside and outside of the shoes.
  • Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the vinegar to neutralize the odor.
  • Wipe the shoes down with a clean cloth to remove any remaining vinegar solution.
  • Allow the shoes to dry completely before wearing them again.

Applying Odor Eliminator Spray to Remove the Smoke Smell

If the smoke smell persists after using the above methods, you can try using an odor eliminator spray. There are many commercial products available that are designed to remove odors from various surfaces, including leather shoes. 

When using an odor eliminator spray on leather shoes, it’s important to choose a product that is safe for leather and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Here are some general tips for using an odor-eliminator spray to remove the smoke smell from leather shoes:

  • Test the product on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoes before using it on the entire surface.
  • Spray the product evenly over the entire surface of the shoes, paying extra attention to areas that are particularly affected by the smoke smell.
  • Allow the product to dry completely before wearing the shoes again.

Related: How to Darken Suede Boots: Super Easy Process That Takes Little Effort

Part 3: Drying and Conditioning the Leather

Once the smoke odor has been removed from the leather shoes, it is important to dry and condition them to prevent cracking and maintain their longevity. Here are the steps to follow:

Drying the Shoes

After applying the odor eliminator or vinegar solution, make sure to allow the shoes to dry completely. 

Do not use a heat source to dry the shoes, as this can cause the leather to crack. Instead, place the shoes in a well-ventilated area or use a fan to speed up the drying process.

Applying Leather Conditioner

Once the shoes are dry, apply a high-quality leather conditioner to restore moisture and prevent cracking. Choose a conditioner that is appropriate for the type of leather used in your shoes and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. 

Generally, you will want to apply the conditioner to a clean, dry surface using a soft cloth or sponge, working in small sections to ensure complete coverage.

Buffing the Shoes

After the conditioner has been absorbed into the leather, buff the shoes with a soft cloth to restore shine and remove any excess conditioner. Use a circular motion to buff the leather and ensure that it is evenly coated.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your leather shoes are properly cared for and maintain their appearance and durability for years to come.

Related: How to Remove Beeswax from Leather: 5 Proven Methods

How to Prevent Smoke Smell from Leather Shoes? 

While it’s important to know how to remove smoke smell from leather shoes, it’s even more important to prevent smoke odor from setting in in the first place. Here are some steps you can take to keep your shoes smelling fresh:

Storing Shoes in a Smoke-Free Environment

The best way to prevent smoke smell in your shoes is to store them in a smoke-free environment. This means keeping them away from areas where smoking occurs, such as smoking rooms, patios or balconies, and outdoor areas where smoking is allowed.

Using a Shoe Tree to Maintain Shape and Prevent Odors

Using a shoe tree is not only useful for maintaining the shape of your shoes, but it can also help prevent odors. A shoe tree is a device that you insert into your shoes to maintain their shape and prevent creases. The cedar wood used in shoe trees can also help absorb moisture and prevent odors.

Cleaning Shoes Regularly to Prevent Buildup of Smoke Smell

Regularly cleaning your shoes can prevent the buildup of smoke smell. Brush your shoes regularly to remove dirt and debris, and wipe them down with a damp cloth after each use. Use a leather cleaner to remove surface grime and condition the leather to keep it soft and supple.


Knowing how to remove smoke smell from leather shoes is a valuable skill that can extend the life of your shoes and keep them smelling fresh. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively remove smoke odor from your leather shoes and prevent it from setting in in the future. 

Remember to store your shoes in a smoke-free environment, use a shoe tree to maintain their shape and prevent odors, and clean your shoes regularly to prevent buildup of smoke smell. With these tips, your leather shoes will look and smell great for years to come.

Richard Nelson

Richard is the Head of Content here at Bootpedia. From an early age, leather boots have been a passion for him. So, he thought why not share his knowledge with the rest of the world? 

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