How To Store Leather Shoes To Prevent Mold?

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
24 min read

Regardless of why you’ve been hoarding things, you’ll need to know how to preserve them in top condition. One of the many things you may learn is the proper way to keep leather shoes in order to avoid mold growth.

You may have a collection for a variety of reasons, including curiosity, as a reward system, as a stress reliever, or simply because you enjoy it. In order to maximize not only the number but also the quality, there is a valid reason for doing so.

There are countless shoe styles to choose from, and each one is best worn in a specific setting. There are a variety of shoe services available, but you may have observed that some of them require additional care and storage if shoes are what you prefer to collect.

Leather shoes are an example of this type of footwear. Leather shoes, despite being comfortable, long-lasting, and an essential part of any wardrobe, require more than simply a rack to maintain their shape.

Steps For Mold-Free Storage Of Your Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are constructed of a rarer material than your favorite sneakers, which is why they are prone to more dangerous situations. Here are some suggestions for preventing mold growth in your leather shoes as you prepare to store them.

Moldy Shoes | How to treat and Prevent Mold on Leather Shoes, Bags, and Accessories – 2Morrows Dress

Step #1. Cleanse the shoes

No matter how long you plan to keep the shoes in storage, the first step is to clean them thoroughly to remove any debris that could become stuck in the uppers. Naturally, how much and how thoroughly you need to clean this pair will be determined on how often you use them and how long you plan to store them.

Using a brush on the top surface and soap and water on the bottom should be sufficient if you’re storing them for less than a week. Only use those shoes for exceptional occasions and clean them carefully, including insides, if they have been stored for months.

Make sure you know what kind of leather your shoes are made of before you begin the cleaning process. Also keep in mind that spores mixed in with debris on your shoes might encourage mold growth, therefore it’s critical that you remove your shoes before cleaning.

Step #2. Dry the leather pair thoroughly

You must properly dry your leather shoes after cleaning them. Mold thrives on wet shoes, so you’ll want to take special care of this step.

In some cases, you may be able to apply some conditioner to your boots before drying them, depending on the type of leather used. If your shoes let it, you can also use a commercial mold-repellent spray.

To dry the shoes, use a combination of air drying and successive contact with dry and clean paper towels.

Step #3. Place water-repelling packs and shape supporting structure in

Now that the shoes have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, you can begin packing them up for travel. There are silica gel packs you can use to keep mold at bay, especially in your shoes.

You can use crumpled paper or shoe balls to retain the shoe’s shape while and after storage with the silica. After that, use acid-free sheets to cover the pair before storing it in a box.

Step #4. Store the shoes in a conditioned cabinet

If you have more than one pair of leather shoes, you may wish to invest in some sturdy shoe cabinets. The preceding stages described how to do this for individual pairs. Quality storage is even more important if your boots are primarily manufactured from specific fabric kinds.

Make sure the cabinet is water-resistant, has enough room for each pair of shoes, and is able to seal well. Before storing your shoes, be sure to spray the cabinet with moth and bug repellant and check the humidity, temperature, and moisture levels.

Why do leather shoes get moldy?

Typically, leather is created from animal hides and processed plants, both of which are organic materials that molds require to thrive. As long as the raw materials haven’t been properly dried and conditioned, mold can swiftly form on them.

While leathers of excellent quality are unaffected by these conditions. There’s a good chance that mold spores will grow on your shoes if they’ve been damp or their storage is inadequate.

Here’s how to get rid of mold from canvas bags, too.

How to keep moisture from leather shoes

If your leather shoes are old, they may lose their water-resistant properties over time. When this occurs, leathers are not only vulnerable to mold growth, but they also retain moisture exceptionally well.

You can avoid this by keeping your shoes dry and checking the weathering of their coatings frequently. In addition to properly storing them, as previously suggested.

Find out what causes mold in your apartment besides the cabinets and take extra precautions to keep your home mold-free.

How to prevent mold growth on shoes

1. Keep your shoes dry

It’s unavoidable to get caught in the rain when driving, but it’s what happens to your shoe once you get home that counts. Before putting your shoes away, make sure they are totally dry.

Mold thrives in a moist atmosphere, as the CDC has confirmed. The spores might quickly spread if your shoes were left moist in the closet.

Use a dehumidifier to make the space in your closet more dry.

2. Do not put your shoes inside a plastic bag

Placing shoes in a plastic bag, as the common belief goes, will keep them mold-free. Plastic bags, on the other hand, keep moisture trapped, which promotes the formation of mold. A dry air closet is a good place to put your shoe while it dries.

3. Always clean your closet

In this instance, keeping your closet clean is just as important as keeping your home tidy. It lets in some much-needed fresh air into the closet.

Make sure that you remove the shoes from the closet, dust them off, and allow for appropriate ventilation before putting them back in.

4. Put a light bulb in the closet

Keeping the space warm and dry prevents mold from forming on the shoes.

5. Always keep the closet door closed

Your room’s humidity can rise from time to time, making everything seem stale and clammy. Closet doors should always be kept closed for your safety and the safety of your belongings. It will keep the room dry by preventing the entry of damp or moist air.

6. Remove dirty clothes or shoes in the closet

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives on organic matter such as food scraps or soiled clothing. Mold can grow in your closet if you keep your soiled items there.

7. Check for a musty smell in your closet

If your closet has a musty smell, don’t ignore it. The presence of mold may be the cause of this odor. As a result, it’s important to continually be on the lookout for the source of odors. Try to get rid of it before it gets out of hand, whether it’s on the wall or the floor.

8. Replace your wooden closet with wire

Wire is a better option than wood for a closet or shelf because it provides better airflow and is mold-resistant.

To see what else is available, check out Amazon. So, take a look at these vintage wire wardrobes.

9. Clean shoes before storing them

Before storing your shoes in the closet, it is best to thoroughly clean them to prevent the spread of mildew.

For mold-infested areas: Clean your hands and brush away the dust and debris. Get those shoes out from time to time, clean them well, and re-moisturize them before putting them back in the closet.

Guide - How to prevent and remove mould from leather shoes -

10. Use silica gel

Beads are often included in the box of new shoes. Silica gel is the name given to the small brown beads.

Silica gel is a drying agent in chemistry. The moisture in the closet can be reduced by placing a package of silica gel in it.

Silica gel, on the other hand, is toxic if ingested. You must exercise extreme caution when handling it, especially in the presence of children.

What causes mold on Shoe?

Mold can form on shoes, especially if they are kept in a wet environment. Mold is a form of fungus that thrives in moist conditions, such as a wet insole.

Mold thrives in a wet part of your shoe since it has an ideal environment to flourish. First-stage molds are imperceptible.

It would, however, become evident when the cells divide and the mold multiplies. There’s no easy way to get rid of it.

A green, white, black, or blue stain on your shoe when you wake up one morning and decide to put on a pair of shoes is a strange thing to observe. Only if you keep your wet shoe in a damp closet might this be conceivable.

It’s possible that mold growth on shoes is also a result of the production process itself. Some leathers are made in more than one tannery, however this is not always the case.

They may be browned in one place, then given a final polish in another. Mold thrives in damp environments due to the time it spends traveling and storing.

How to get rid of mold from leather shoes

Because leather shoes are so prone to the growth of mold, they are the most susceptible to mold. If they have mold on them, the scent is very unpleasant, and I doubt you want to experience it.

Inadequate shoe storage is what creates mold. Leather shoes should be kept in a 60 to 70 percent humidity and continual ventilation atmosphere when not in use.

Aspergillus mold, on the other hand, thrives on leather surfaces. It is possible to get infections from this form of mold.

They’re a pain to get rid of. Mold can’t be eradicated by just washing the affected area. Anti-mold fungicide cleaners are available, so you can get rid of it all.

To ensure complete eradication, adhere to the steps outlined below:

  • Prevent spore inhalation by donning gloves and a mask.
  • It is more efficient to remove the shoes from the closet outside than it is to do it inside.
  • Scrub the surface as aggressively as you can with a stiff nylon brush.
  • You can use a soft cloth dampened with vinegar and water to clean your shoes. Vinegar is effective against mold to a percentage of about 80%.

Isopropyl alcohol can be used on the surface if the growth continues. But first, test it out on a small area of the shoe to make sure it’s safe before applying it to the entire shoe.

Keep your shoe dry by applying a leather conditioner after the alcohol has been applied.

How to get rid of mold from suede and nubuck shoes

Suede is renowned as a water-resistant material, however it’s not. As a result, it is difficult to determine the best method of mold removal. There are, however, specific procedures to follow.

  1. Using a newspaper, stuff your shoes.
  2. To remove surface stains, use a suede brush with brass bristles surrounded by softer bristles.
  3. Vinegar is safe to use on suede for tough stains. Mold and odor are thoroughly eliminated as a result of its use.
  4. Avoid exposing the shoe to direct sunlight or heat to avoid damaging it.

How to Clean and Care for Moldy Leather Clothes and Shoes

In spite of its sumptuous nature, leather clothing, shoes, and accessories can develop mildew and mold when exposed to excessive moisture and heat. If you find mold on your items, it’s imperative that you get rid of it as quickly as possible. Your leather surfaces can be permanently damaged if the problem isn’t taken care of as soon as possible, resulting in white leather discolouration and spreading to other objects.

How Often to Clean Moldy Leather Clothes and Shoes

Removing leather items from storage and inspecting them in a well-lit place for signs of mold or mildew should be done twice a year (like when you change your seasonal outfit). If this is the case, proceed as described in the following stages. Set aside at least an entire day for mold and mildew eradication from the item of clothing and the surrounding environment. Mold spores will need to be removed from your whole storage location, as well as from any clothing or accessories that have been impacted.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • The softest brush you’ll ever use.
  • Vacuum
  • Buckets
  • An on-the-go fan (optional)


  • Laundry detergent such as saddle soap
  • Chlorine is a disinfectant.
  • Drenching in liquor
  • Leather care products
  • The paper used for tissues
  • Swabs of cotton
  • Cloths or sponges that are free of dirt and debris
  • Bleach made using oxygen (optional)


Set Up Your Station Outside

It is best to clean mildewed leather garments and shoes outside whenever feasible to avoid introducing the spores into your home or office environment. To remove spores from your leather, use a soft-bristled brush or a dry, clean cloth.

Throw away any cardboard boxes you may have used to store your belongings. To get rid of the mildew spores, wash the fabric storage containers with hot water and dry them with high heat. It is recommended that plastic storage containers be cleaned in the sun with a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach to 1 pint water.

A thorough vacuuming should be carried out in the area where the mildewed objects were kept. The bleach and water solution should also be used to clean the walls (and flooring, if they are not carpeted). Before utilizing the area again, allow it to thoroughly dry.

Kill the Spores

Mix rubbing alcohol and cool water in a separate clean container (isopropyl alcohol). Wipe the leather with a solution applied to a clean white cloth. Use a cotton swab to wipe the crevices of your shoes.

The final step is to wipe the leather with a damp cloth. Air-dry the clothes out of direct sunshine or heat. Tissue paper, for example, can be used to stuff shoes and boots to help them retain their shape. To avoid getting ink on your socks and feet later, avoid using newsprint.

Wipe Down Surfaces

Warm water and light detergent or leather saddle soap can be mixed in a small container or bucket. Wipe down all leather and faux leather surfaces (don’t forget the insides of shoes) using a clean cloth or sponge. To remove soap scum, use a clean cloth dipped in water.

Air-Dry Your Belongings

To dry leather clothing, either use a robust hanger or a flat surface. Avoid placing the leather in direct sunlight or near heat sources, since this might alter the color of the leather. Using a fan to circulate air might also assist expedite the drying process.

Recondition the Leather

The surface of leather, which is a natural product, might break if the oils in it aren’t kept in check. To restore suppleness to your leather item, wait until it has dried completely before using a leather conditioner. You must follow the product’s usage instructions.

Moldy Shoes | How to treat and Prevent Mold on Leather Shoes, Bags, and Accessories – 2Morrows Dress

Storing Leather Clothes and Shoes

When storing leather products, keep an eye on the temperature, airflow, and humidity, and maintain everything as clean as possible to avoid mold and mildew growth. Use a dehumidifier to keep mold and mildew at bay by reducing the amount of moisture in your home. Increased ventilation and waterproofing of foundations and moist areas are also recommended. When it comes to food sources, mildew is a fungus that can’t get enough of nature. Mildew thrives on leather that has been soiled by food or mud.

Treating Stains on Moldy Leather Clothes and Shoes

Remove any mildew stains from the detachable fabric lining on leather clothing. After the lining has dried completely, use an oxygen bleach and water solution to any dark stains. 2 teaspoons of dry oxygen bleach (e.g. OxiClean, Nellie’s All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and 1 cup of water should be combined in a non-metallic container. Allow the solution to sit for at least an hour before removing the stains. After that, wet a clean cloth and sponge the affected area before allowing it to air dry. The leather finish can be damaged if the solution is splashed directly upon it. Keep going until you get rid of any blemishes.

Using a clean cloth and a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol, remove any remaining mold stains from your leather shoes. Rinse the area with a clean, moist cloth after scrubbing in a circular motion. Allow the shoe to air dry completely.

Tips for Cleaning Moldy Leather Clothes and Shoes

  • After cleaning leather products and smelling a mildew odor, it may beneficial to let the things air outside for a while.
  • It’s also possible to use baking soda or some other dry odor-absorbing agent to get rid of mildew smells. For best results, keep the jar closed for a week to allow the odor to dissipate.
  • Buff off any visible mold on suede or sheepskin boots with a soft brush before cleaning thoroughly.


Can vinegar kill mold?

Definitely. You can use vinegar to remove up to 80% of the mold off the surface of your shoe.

Is shoe mold dangerous?

Shoe mold can be hazardous if it is contaminated with a toxic mold spore. Aspergillus mold, which thrives on leather, is extremely harmful. It’s quite infectious. As a result, you must act quickly to remove the mold from your shoe.

According to research conducted by Indoor Doctor, several species are extremely harmful to people.

What are the materials used in eliminating molds?

To get rid of mold in your shoes, there are just a few options. Included are:

  • Vinegar and water in a large amount of sunlight
  • If the first one doesn’t work, use isopropyl alcohol.
  • To prevent mold from returning, use a dehumidifier.
  • Bleach made of chlorine
  • Dishwasher liquid
  • It is also possible to use an oxygen-based bleach.
  • Leather conditioner is also used to help the shoe dry out.

What are the recommended tools needed to kill the mold

  • Use a cotton swab and a piece of tissue paper.
  • A sponge and some clean clothes
  • Hard brush is all that is needed.


To prevent mold from forming on your leather shoes, you’ve now completely soaked in how to store them. It is our goal that you are now able to wear and care for all of your shoes!

The best way to get rid of mildew from leather is to use a clean cloth bathed in water, as described in this article on The Spruce.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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