Leather bags, shoes, clothes, and accessories are all prone to mold and mildew growth. This is especially so if you store them in an environment with high levels of heat and moisture.
All it takes is one spore, and a whole mildew colony starts growing. This is why you need to get it off your leather as quickly as possible.
You could keep wiping it off with water, but that won’t drive them away or kill the spores. Once the moisture is available again, they come back to life.
It may be the greatest enemy for leather items, but you can clean mold off leather in a few simple steps.
Why Mold Grows On Leather
Mold growth is brought about by spores of bacteria and fungi in the air, which are exposed to various conditions. Such conditions include warm temperatures, high humidity, and poor ventilation, which provide the moisture-rich and ambient conditions that allow mold to grow.
Mildew, on the other hand, grows when the leather has stains such as soiling or organic residues on it.
Thankfully, you can use a few simple supplies from your home to clean mold off leather items. These include a soft cloth, mild soap or leather cleaner, and keeping your environment warm and dry.
Note: If you have suede or nubuck, get professional instructions for cleaning these types of leather.
How To Clean Mold Off Leather
1. The first step is to ensure your leather item is completely dry and kept in a warm room.
2. Take a soft, damp cloth and wipe off the mold from the surface of the leather. Make sure you clean the whole item so that there’s evenness in color and texture.
3. Let the leather dry again, and then take a mild soap (not detergent) or leather cleaner.
4. Clean the dried leather thoroughly. Start by cleaning a particular spot before cleaning the whole item, and then let it dry.
Note: Check the instructions on the leather cleaner as different manufacturers have varied steps for the use of their products.
5. Finally, ensure the leather is always clean, properly conditioned, and stored to keep mold away for good.
Does Vinegar or Baking Soda Kill Mold?
Vinegar is a mild acid, especially the white type. Although it’s known to help prevent future mold outbreaks and kill mold species, its acid can be drying to leather.
If you choose to use vinegar, make sure it’s undiluted because mold is so resilient. Use a spray bottle to apply the vinegar onto the offending area, and leather conditioner to coat the hide.
How To Prevent Mold And Mildew From Growing On Leather
Here are some simple steps you can use around the house to keep mold or mildew off your leather items:
Dry the Air
Mold and mildew grow where there’s a lot of moisture in the air. If you have an air-conditioning system, it can cool the air so that there’s less moisture.
You can also use a dehumidifier with a humidistat to control the humidity This way, cool dry air circulates in the room and doesn’t encourage the growth of mold or mildew.
Remember to keep doors and windows closed if using dehumidifiers or air-conditioners.
Dampness is a result of moisture condensed from humid air and onto cooler surfaces.
If your environment has excessive moisture, you may need extra insulation or repairs on defective or cracked mortar. This ensures that it doesn’t increase the chances of mold and mildew growing on your leather items.
Well-ventilated rooms allow dry air to get in and absorb excess moisture and then carry it outside. On the other hand, poorly ventilated rooms get musty and damp, which makes leather prone to mildew.
If the natural breeze isn’t enough, an electric fan can help move the air from the house.
Heating the house for a short time also gets rid of dampness. Alternatively, open your windows and doors to let out the moisture-laden air, or use a fan to force it out.
Musty odors encourage the growth of mold, but if the area is well heated and dried, they’ll disappear.
Use Petroleum Jelly, not Olive Oil
Leather is highly permeable and tends to absorb any oil applied to it. This is why it’s not advisable to use Olive oil because it accelerates deterioration instead of “nourishing” the leather.
Instead, use petroleum jelly, which is known to prevent the leather from cracking while softening it. It’s not useful for rawhide leather though. However, it works best with leather and patent leather items like bags, shoes and so on.
Make sure you use a lint-free cloth when applying petroleum jelly on the leather.
Keep Leather Clean And Mold-Free
Mold and mildew can be a nuisance as they make leather items look dull and ugly. We hope you now know how to eliminate the pesky mold so it won’t grow again on your precious leather.