How to Remove Diesel Smell from Leather


Dale asked: How do I remove diesel smell from leather? I have a watch with a leather strap that got soaked in diesel. How do I get rid of the diesel smell from it and other leathers?

The challenge of removing the smell of diesel from leather can vary depending on the type and assembly of the leather. Getting the odor out of a watch band is an easier task than ridding the smell from shoes, while a leather jacket will present a whole new set of problems. For most situations, however, these steps will go a long way toward success.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Smell:

  1. Spray or wipe down the leather with the Simple Green. The degreaser will break down the oil residue so that it can be cleaned away thoroughly. Once it is removed, the smell will be gone.
  2. Use the clean towel to rub the cleaner into the leather the same way as you would a leather conditioner.
  3. Wait for it to dry. If there’s still an odor, repeat.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the diesel smell is on a jacket or another garment with a lot of padding and/or layers, try putting the item in a large plastic lidded tub along with several cotton balls soaked in pure vanilla extract.  The vanilla smell will permeate the non-leather portions to rid these unwashable items of the fuel scent.


  1. Read the Simple Green label, “not for use on leather.” I have a Lariat pickup with leather seats. My son was working on a tank & sat on seat with diesel oil soaked pants. I investigated before using the wrong thing so as not to destroy the leather. Used DAWN blue dish detergent with hot water. Rinsed with hot water, vinegar & baking soda. Like new & no odor.

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