by Lee Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2014)
For some reason fish odor has a tendency to be one of the most difficult odors to get rid of, and can seem like it is almost impossible to get out of any kind of material. In fact, in many ways it seems like it is the origin for that nasty smell episode of the classic television show Seinfeld. Perhaps one of the most difficult items to get fish odor out of is that of leather bag. Perhaps the single best method for getting rid of fish odor from any material, and particularly from leather, is vinegar.
In order to start getting rid of fish odor, you need to first understand what causes the odor. Fish odor comes from a substance in the fish that is known as a basic. Many soaps and cleaners are also basics. This means that if you try to use soap or some other kind of cleaner, you are not going to be attacking the root problem. Using a chemical that is acidic such as vinegar will neutralize the base.
Leather, whether it is in a bag, couch, or even a jacket can have any fish odor removed if you use a little bit of white vinegar. Begin by emptying the bag of any and all contents that are inside. Once you have emptied the bag, set it on a smooth flat surface, and set a small cup of vinegar inside of it, be careful that you don't tip it over. Allow the cup to sit overnight, and check to see if the odor remains in the morning. If you still find that there is a little bit of odor, you can always place a little bit of baking soda or untreated charcoal into the bag. You may need to repeat the process a couple of times to ensure that you get the odor completely out.
To remove any odor that may be stuck on the outside of the bag, simply get a soft clean cloth damp with some white vinegar, and gently wipe the outside down. This method will also work for any other leather exterior, such as a couch or jacket. Do not get the leather too saturated with the vinegar though. All you should need to do is wipe the area down with a damp cloth, not one that has been soaked or saturated.
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