What Causes Mold on Leather? and 3 Tips How To Clean Mold Off Leather?

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
8 min read

The three-step process for cleaning mold off leather, which can be used on both furniture and other items such as bags and purses, is a welcome respite after a long period of neglect. Let’s take a look at why your leather gets mold in the first place, as well.

A leather product can be created from either animal hide or plant matter. It is traditionally and widely made from domesticated cattle skin, which is properly treated to remove extraneous contents and extend the longevity of the products. It has recently been popular to use mango fruit to make vegan leather, which has been gaining a lot of attention.

No matter what kind of leather goods you have, you’ll want to preserve them in pristine condition, free of blemishes, scratches, and other foreign substances. Molds are a major problem on leather, so we’ll focus on that here.

What Causes Mold on Leather

These filaments, which look like dust, are actually layers of mold that have grown together. Mold is a symbiotic community of fungi. Mold thrives in moist, warm, and secluded places. Fungus prefers organic materials, and real leather is no exception to the rule.

Why does leather grow mold and how to fix it? | High On Leather

It’s not rare for leather coats, purses, and shoes to develop mold. When kept in a closet, leather products are protected from the elements like sunlight and dust. Leather grain must be preserved, yet a dark and high-temperature atmosphere is ideal for mold to grow. White mold specks appear as fuzzy particles on leather. If you see them for the first time, you’re likely to think they’re just dust. Fungus grows and leaves a stain that is tough to get rid of. Other concerns include an unattractive brown stain on black leather that is less noticeable on lighter shades of leather..



One spore is all it takes to create a mold colony, which is a little unnerving. Take your mold-infested leather items outside before you begin cleaning them. Make sure to keep the spores from spreading to other parts of your home by doing this! To remove the spores, you can either use a soft-bristled brush or a dry, clean cloth. If the boxes are made of any kind of paper, throw them away. Hot water should be used if the products are stored in fabric containers or hanging bags. To get rid of any remaining spores, use a high temperature to dry them out. When it comes to cleaning plastic containers, a mix of water and chlorine bleach will do the trick. If you keep the moldy items in a closet, make sure you clean the entire space before re-storing it. Wipe clean the walls and floor with a chlorine bleach solution and let it dry before using it again.


Fill a small plastic container or bucket halfway with warm water and a mild detergent solution. If you have leather saddle soap on hand, you should use it instead of the soap that comes with the saddle. Use a clean cloth or sponge soaked in the solution to clean the entire leather surface, including the interior. You’ll need a clean towel moistened in plain water to remove the soapy buildup. Allow the goods to air dry on a flat surface. Make sure it isn’t in direct sunlight or near any sources of heat. Get a fan to help circulate the air and speed up the drying process. Before you can move on to the following stage, the leather must have dried fully.


A clean container should be used to mix equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and cool water. Clean a cloth dipped in the mixture and use it to wipe the leather clean. When eradicating mold from shoes, use a cotton swab to get into the nooks and crannies. To conclude the job, wet a clean towel with simple water and wipe the things down. Allow them to dry in the open air one more time. You may need to pack your shoes and boots with clean white paper in order to keep their shape. Using newspaper will result in ink on both your socks and feet if you wear it, so be careful.

Guide - How to prevent and remove mould from leather shoes - Shoegazing.com


Getting rid of the mold is just the first step. Leather furniture can’t be used soon after being dried. Proper care for leather is essential because it is a natural material that contains oil and requires it. The surface can crack if you don’t take care of it after you remove the mold. This is owing to the fact that the oil expands as the temperature rises. As a result, before beginning to clean your things, be sure to have some leather conditioner on hand. You should use a leather conditioner as soon as your item has dried to maintain the oil’s proper state. As a result, the finish is restored to its original suppleness and appearance. Good news: There is a wide variety of leather conditioners available for purchase at retail stores and online.


Good mold avoidance is the first step in learning how to remove mold from leather. In order to protect your leather goods, begin by managing the atmosphere in which they are kept. Control the temperature, humidity, and airflow as much as possible. Store items in a neat and orderly manner. In order to feed and reproduce, mold uses natural ingredients.

If you’ve had food or mud particles on your filthy garments, they’re ideal places for mold colonies to grow, so don’t try to store them. Reduce the amount of moisture in your home by using a dehumidifier. Start waterproofing foundations and other damp-prone areas if you really want to go the additional mile. Running a fan and opening the windows will help keep the air moving and dry.

Keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear on any leather products you own. It’s a good idea to take the leather items out of your closet as you switch out your clothes for the season. Inspect these items for signs of mold growth in a well-lit place. Mildew inhibitors can be used in your storage spaces as an additional choice. Useful in cases where you can’t get to the regions where you’re concerned about mold. Shop at hardware stores for silica gel, which absorbs water vapor from the air.

How Often to Clean Moldy Leather Clothes and Shoes

To check for mold or mildew, remove leather items from storage and place them in a well-lit area twice a year (like when you change your seasonal clothes). If so, follow these instructions. It’s a good idea to dedicate at least one afternoon to cleaning the item of clothing and the surrounding region of mold and mildew. Remove mold spores from the whole storage area, including the damaged garments and accessories.

Tips to Know Before You Clean Moldy Leather

Here are a few pointers to get you started in the process of eliminating mold from leather. When in doubt about whether or not to address a spot on your shoe as mold or mildew, these cleaning strategies will help you make an informed decision.

What’s the difference between mold and mildew?

When it comes to cleaning, mold and mildew are two completely different animals. These two species of fungi, both of which thrive in moist, warm environments, both grow on leather.

For mildew versus mold, color is the most obvious method to distinguish between the two. Mould grows in colours of black or green, while most mildews and yeasts appear as a white, grey or yellowish substance on fabrics and papers.

Mold found growing on leather products in Malaysian mall after two months' closure - SE Asia - The Jakarta Post

It is imperative that you take action as soon as you notice any of the following growing on your items: It is important to use a dehumidifier in locations where there is a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

What supplies will I need when cleaning my leather goods?

Always begin with safety in mind while attempting to remove mold from leather. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask to keep mold spores from getting on or in your skin while you remove it from your home. The following is a list of additional cleaning materials you may require.

Mold may be removed from even the most delicate leather fabrics using the cleaning chemicals and methods outlined below. To avoid spreading mold spores in your home, wash your leather products outside whenever possible. In addition to eradicating mold, sunlight is a significant help.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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