Imagine taking out your precious leather jacket or shoes from the closet, only to find mold on them. Mold on leather is not uncommon, but cleaning it is a nightmare for some. Genuine leather requires special treatment to keep its texture and color. Therefore, the mold should be prevented before it comes (or spreads).
Finding mold on your leather goods? Don’t panic! This guide will help you find the mold cause, how to clean it, and tips to prevent a similar problem from happening again.
A. What Causes Mold on Leather
Mold is a collection of fungi that grow together, forming layers of filaments that create small specks. Mold requires several conditions to grow, such as warm condition, darkness, and moisture. Mold also likes organic materials, and genuine leather is not an exception.
Finding mold on leather jacket, bags, or shoes is exasperating, but not surprising. These leather goods are often kept in a closet, protected from sunlight and dust. While it is important to keep the leather texture, the darkness and warm temperature also create an ideal atmosphere for mold to grow.
White mold on leather appears as fuzzy specks. When they start appearing, you probably think of them as dust. However, when the fungus multiplies, they become a widespread stain. There is also the dark mold that is less noticeable on black leather, but more visible on brighter colors.
B. How to Remove Mold from Leather Jacket
Leather jackets are prone to mold. Some of your sweat or dead skin particles may be left on the jacket, creating an ideal environment for mold. Luckily, there ware ways to kill mold on leather jacket before it spreads further.
Here are the steps you can take to clean mold from leather jackets:
1. Prepare cleaning tools
Prepare a bowl of water, white vinegar (or rubbing alcohol), mild soap, clean cloth, brush, and disposable mask and gloves.
2. Place the jacket outside
Prepare a hanger to clean your jacket outside. This is to prevent spores from flying into other parts of the house.
3. Brush jacket
Start by brushing your jacket with a scrub brush. Make sure most of the mold is scraped off.
4. Use a vinegar solution
Mix one cup of vinegar or alcohol with your bowl of water. Test the solution on a small part of the jacket, to see if it discolors the jacket. Rub the solution on the moldy area.
5. Dry the jacket
Dry the jacket by hanging it in a well-lit area. Dry the jacket in a different area, so the mold spores don’t come back.
6. Wash the jacket
Mix a little mild soap with new water, and wash the jacket by wiping it with a wetted cloth.
Dry the jacket in your room, using a fan. Make sure there is no other moldy stuff in the closet before you store the jacket.
C. How to Remove Mold from Leather Shoes and Bags
Leather boots, shoes, or bags are easy to get moldy. They are usually worn more often than jackets. Therefore, it is easier for them to get flying mold spores. Shoes or boots often get wet, making them more ideal as mold habitats.
To clean mold on leather boots, the method is almost the same with leather jacket methods. However, you don’t need to use vinegar or rubbing alcohol if the leather is thin. Use water and a clean cloth to rub off the mold. After drying it under the sun, wipe the surface with a mixture between mild soap (not harsh detergent) and water.
If you need to use vinegar solution or leather cleaner, make sure to test it first on a small spot. This is to see if the solution discolors the material or not. Start with this solution and finish with mild soap to wash off the smell. Dry the shoes or bags under the sun.
D. How to Remove Mold from Leather Furniture
When you are trying to remove mold from leather furniture, do it during a sunny day when you can place the furniture outside. Since leather for a couch, chair, or bolster is usually thick, you can use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol solution (color check is still necessary, just in case). Mix one part of vinegar and one part of the water in a spray bottle for easier cleaning.
After wiping off mold with vinegar/alcohol solution, let it sits for 20 minutes before applying a mild soap solution to wash off the smell. Place the furniture under the sun, with a fan blowing on it if possible. If the mold spreads to upholstery like sofa cover or pillow case, throw out those things in a sealed plastic bag.
E. Tips to Prevent Mold from Ruining Leather
Cleaning mold from leather proves to be a meticulous job. The best way to protect your leather is to make sure that mold never grows. Even if you have to clean the leather stuff, you need to keep its texture and color from changing. Here are several tips to prevent mold from damaging your leather goods:
1. Treat leather stuffs properly
Leather is supposed to be used sparingly. After you use shoes, bag, or jacket, wipe them off before keeping them in the closet. Never keep soiled or dirty leather in the closet. Use leather conditioner regularly.
2. Keep the storage space’s proper condition
Prepare good circulation in your leather storage space (and the entire room). Keep camphor and silica gel inside the storage space to keep mold and moth away.
3. Install dehumidifier
If you live in an area with high humidity level (especially during summer), install a dehumidifier in the room where you store leather.
Finally, make sure you inspect your leather goods regularly. Once a month, rearrange the closet or wardrobe, and check the leather stuff for mildew spots. Clean them quickly with a leather cleaner or mild soap before developing into a mold.
Leather may be strong and tough, but it is not immune to mold. If the mold is still small, you can quickly clean it to prevent larger infestation. However, if the mold on leather keeps getting bigger, make sure you know the right way to clean it. Don’t forget to apply steps to reduce mold risk, so your leather stuff can be happier in your home.
Can leather be saved from mold?
Yes, it is possible to save leather from mold, but it depends on the severity of the infestation and the type of leather. Here are some steps you can take:
-Clean the surface of the leather with a solution of water and white vinegar (1:1 ratio).
-Dry the leather thoroughly, either by letting it air dry or using a fan to speed up the process.
-If the mold has penetrated deep into the leather, you may need to use a leather cleaner or conditioner to help remove the mold.
Why does my leather keep getting mouldy?
Leather can get moldy due to exposure to moisture, humidity, and dampness.
How do you store bags to prevent mold?
-Keep the bags away from moisture sources such as leaks, condensation, and damp basements.
-Store the bags in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat.
-Avoid storing the bags in airtight containers or plastic bags, as this can trap moisture and promote mold growth.
-Clean and dry the bags thoroughly before storing them to prevent mold growth.
-Consider using silica gel packets or a dehumidifier to help control moisture levels in the storage area.
Does leather need to breathe?
Leather does not need to “breathe” in the sense that it requires air circulation to survive. However, exposure to air and a lack of moisture can help keep leather in good condition and prevent mold growth. When leather is stored in a damp or humid environment, it can become prone to mold and other forms of degradation.
Should leather be stored in plastic?
No, it is not recommended to store leather in plastic. Plastic can trap moisture and humidity, which can promote mold growth and damage the leather. Instead, it is best to store leather in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. This will help prevent mold growth and keep the leather in good condition.