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Removing Odor from Camel Leather

Category Leather
A very strong smell can accompany this animal's leather products and be a challenge to expel. This is a guide about removing odor from camel leather.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
March 11, 2007

How do I get rid of smell of a camel leather handbag and slippers I bought from Jaiselmir (India).

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

i Having recently returned from the bluetiful town of Chefchauen morocco with the

pouffe of my dreams in red leather, i was shocked and horrified to discover the malodourous stench emanating from every beloved orifice. please help i have tried filling it with various fluids but alas the stench remains i don't know what to do my pouffe just sits there and stinks.

Dins, Twelveheads

(1x1 graphic )

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 5, 20090 found this helpful

I went to Morocco and got got two small bags and one large bag with rug stitched into it. The smell was absolutely unbearable. I rubbed orange peels on the small one and that got rid off the odor but when I tried it on the large one it only made it smell worse! I got the big bag for a friend and now I'm too embarrassed to give it to her!

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May 1, 20100 found this helpful

I just received a leather briefcase I purchased, made in India, about a week ago. Initially, the smell was not too bad. However, by day three, an aura of STINK had formed and it seemed to take on a life of its own! Vomit and wet garbage best describes it! I have read many articles, one indicating that if the smell is that bad, the leather needs to be conditioned. I have just attempted this and returned the bag to my garage where it seems to continue to keep other living things out (i.e. bugs, snakes, car thieves)!

Careful if your bag has a strap as mine does. Even after the bag is in your office, that scent WILL be on your shoulder. After the lunch date hug, the little lady didn't know whether to view me with pity or relative disgust. Turning into "Golom" here as I both "hate and love" the bag ("my precious"). HATE the stench and love the look! Perhaps they are making these thing for the world market and laughing at us. I have never in my life kept something this smelly above ground. ANY ideas would be fantastic, though I feel that the stink will not dissipate during my lifetime!

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May 1, 20100 found this helpful

Back again. You folks with the "baking soda" idea might be onto something. I paid a visit to a leather craft shop out of desperation. The manager took a "whiff" and advised that the acrid scent is due to the tanning process which is actually a heavy URINE base! This works in arid reigons but when you hit cretain humid areas back home in the U.S., well that's pretty much vintage camel and goat piss pressed into leather. I picked up some Lexol conditioner and cleaner and headed home. Since I can't use the thing with that smell, I'm going to attempt to neutralize that urine process with a coating of baking soda. Heck, if it fails, oh well, I can't use it anyway. The dealer mentioned that the "smell would dissipate" with use, yep and so would my entire social life! Insane I tell ya! I will however NEVER drop another dime into an item such as this!! So stop trying to "wait it out". unless you have a year or so to do it.

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June 14, 20100 found this helpful

I am somewhat relieved to see that quite a few others had the same issue. I also bought a leather bag at the Souk in Marrakech and to my horror when I got home I was essentially toting around a urine scented career killer. I was actually asked at one point on a flight by the cabin crew if they could move it to the back of the plane. Yikes.

I started by hoping that airing it out and time would lessen the stench. I think it may have actually gotten stronger.

I am happy to report though that I found a solution that worked for my bag.

1) I applied a very generous layer of leather protector- on the exterior and interior of the bag. An oil, not a spray. I tried the spray at first and it didn't help at all.

2) I stuffed a handful of damp dryer sheets in the bag and in all the pockets.

48 hrs later and I would say the smell is 97% gone. It still smells 'abnormal' if you actually put your face up to it and sniff it, but for normal use the smell is gone and leaves no odor on your hand or shoulder from the strap.

I can't believe no guidebooks warned of this! Hope you all can enjoy your purchases sometime soon...

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September 22, 20131 found this helpful

I got a hand made leather bag off of ebay, the smell was so bad that people wouldn't sit next to me on the bus and it made my clothes absolutely stink! It was so disgusting that I couldn't bear to even have it int he house I had to put it in the garage. I tried absolutely everything because it was my dream bag I'd been searching for months for, I tried baking powder, leather cleaner, leather polish, saddle soap, newspaper and even tried burying it in cat litter for 2 weeks. Had literally given up hope but then finally found something that worked,

Mix a tablespoon of olive oil with a few pumps of liquid had soap and warm water until you get bubbles, wash the bag thoroughly (but don't scrub) and then wash it off with more warm water. Let it dry and then bit by bit spray it with hairspray then wipe with a damp cloth before rubbing in a small amount of olive oil with the same cloth.

After that spray liberally with hairspray again and blob on some more olive oil then wipe with a dry cloth until there is no residue. Then leave for a little bit and the smell should be completely gone, I would recommend trying this on a small discreet area first. Really hope this helps!

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January 2, 20140 found this helpful

I am quite familiar with many kinds of Moroccan leather goods such as bags, jackets, gloves, hats and furnishing items such as poufs. I've never had to spend a penny more than the items' price attempting to remove any type of smell. If you put in a little extra in the beginning you can save yourself a lot of time and effort. Morocco has a lot of good leather, but quality has its price.

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September 28, 20142 found this helpful

I recently got back from Morrocco where I bought a rucksack made of camel leather- it's beautfil but it stinks as to soften camel leather it is placed in a vat of pigeon poo for 3 months! But I followed carrie ws advice and washed the bag in hot soapy water, then sprayed it with hair spray and used olive oil on it and now it smells great!

It has a strong leathery smell but in a nice way, no longer a rancid way! Thanks for the advice, I can now wear my bag :) I also stuffed a lavender bag inside so that my things don't smell of camel when I use it.

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April 6, 20150 found this helpful

Oh my goodness! Had 2 smelly leather bags I bought a couple of weeks ago and the smell has just been making me feel sick! So I looked it up and happily thought I would follow the washing advice suggested on here. I didn't think it through enough though, as one of the bags is turquoise, now so are my hands and my bath! Eeeek! I have left the bags to drip over the bath for now (well, the turquoise one also has a bucket under it to try and catch the blue drips!).

If anyone has any gems of wisdom about what on earth to do next, please let me know! Just let them dry and rub with oil?

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August 14, 20150 found this helpful

If the odor problems are being caused by the tanning process meeting humidity and moisture, then one risk-free option to try is burying the item in cat litter. There is even at least one cat litter with baking soda built in to give a two-for-one shot! Cat litter is made to remove moisture and odor; and you have the option of using scent free or a scented litter, clumping or non-clumping varieties.

If you are buying litter just for this purpose then buy the cheapest non-clumping kind (just a few dollars) which is also usable for many other projects around the house, such as: absorbing oil stains off of your garage floor or driveway; using over dangerous ice instead of salt; and more.

The more moisture the item contains and the stronger the odor the longer the item will need to be buried in the cat litter, but unless the litter is one of the more sophisticated concoction with lots of unknown chemicals it won't hurt the leather ever--it's clay based. No guarantees about the fancy (and more expensive) kind of cat litters but I've never had a problem and I just use whatever I have on hand. After treatment has removed moisture and any lingering odors, follow up with a standard leather conditioner on your leathers--and you can re-use the same cat litter for your pet or other home projects so even THAT doesn't go to waste (if the remaining odor is bad enough you may have to dispose of the litter, though I've never had that happen--I suppose it COULD happen). Finishing up, I prefer the creamy leather treatments over anything else. The best part of the litter dry treatment is that it won't affect your leather's finish or dyes, and it won't shrink or crack the leather.

You WILL want to make sure that this leather treatment is put where any cats won't confuse the litter during your treatment with an invitation for "bathroom" use! Put it inside a plastic bag, a closed (and possibly taped) box; inside a locked cupboard or anywhere a cat can't get to it, or you could end up with an entirely new odor problem. Could hardly blame the cat!

If you have a moisture issue but no odor (which will most definitely BECOME a problem) you can try burying it in plain white uncooked rice; it will draw out the moisture in the same way it works for wet cell phones. Do NOT re-use the rice (don't cook and eat it). Then follow up with your standard leather treatment.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 2, 2015

I also purchased a camel leather satchel/lap top bag from India, and beyond the god awful smell, there seems to be this strange sheen of moisture on the bag every few days. I have moved it to different areas, to confirm it is not the result of anything leaking on to it, and that is definitely not the case.

I actually have to wipe it down every few days, as I have noticed small spores forming from the moisture. There was nothing stored in it to generate this, and I even had to remove two hard cover books from inside it, for concern their binding would be affected. This bag literally gets wet on it's own. Any thoughts you have, would be greatly received.

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August 3, 20150 found this helpful

Purchasing anything from a Third World country is a real gamble. Even more so if the purchase is not through a large company that carefully controls the product manufacturing process. No idea what the problem may be for your bag and who knows what was used in the process. If it were my bag, I would wrap it carefully in plastic and take it to a hazmat collection site. Immediately!

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August 4, 20150 found this helpful

The previous reply is spot-on - this bag is a health hazard and should be removed from your home and life ASAP.

The problem is two-fold. One, the tanning (preservation method) was clearly not done properly; two, the chemicals used in the tanning process were not appropriate for the type of animal skin used.

Because you can't be sure what chemical or processing was used, this bag now constitutes a serious risk to health and should be properly disposed of. Immediately. Take it to the proper disposal site for hazardous waste in your area as soon as possible and until then bag it in several layers of plastic bin bags being sure to label it as hazardous waste - skull and crossbones drawings are easy and should be the biggest feature of your labelling.

Please do not try burning it - you may release even more hazardous chemicals into the air. Please don't simply bin it - you may be endangering the binmen, and certainly creating a pollution problem at the landfill no matter if simply tipped and buried or burnt as so much household rubbish is these days.

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August 4, 20150 found this helpful

Camel hide reeks naturally, but the spores etc in another kettle of fish! Possibly the hide was not tanned properly or tanned in some way that would be hazardous. Please do as the other posters suggest and get rid of it at a hazmat site somewhere.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 11, 20070 found this helpful

My new camel leather hand bag smells, how can I get rid of smell?

Rachel from UK


Camel Leather Smell

Good leather has a 'fragrance'. As a horse person, the smell of good leather is heavenly to me - so earthy and rich. I suppose you could try Febreeze, but it (or anything else) will probably discolor the leather. (09/26/2006)

By Sadiejoy

Camel Leather Smell

We have just purchased a camel leather bag in Morocco only to have the bag start smelling once we arrived home! Someone suggested to us rubbing lemon onto the leather. We're still waiting to see if this works. Have you found any solution to the problem? (01/01/2007)

By Annette

Camel Leather Smell

I have the same problem as Annette... maybe we went to the same leather market in Marrakech! My bag stinks to high heaven. Can anyone suggest a way to lose the smell of dead camel? (01/11/2007)

By Andrew.

Camel Leather Smell

I normally like the smell of leather in a new bag, but my camel leather bag from Morocco just plain stinks. I hope someone will post a way to get rid of it, for all of us poor bagaholics who splurged in the Souk. (02/24/2007)

By Renate

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