Updated at: 12-05-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

Seeing fuzzy circular spots on wet shoes may have gotten you out of bed this morning and now you’re wondering why mold grows on shoes. As a starting point, mold can thrive in any environment that provides enough moisture and humidity.

In addition to the two most typical places for mold to grow on shoes, there may be other places where mold can grow. As a result, this article will help you identify the causes of mold-infested footwear.

Spotting The Molds

You must, of course, know what a mold is before you can recognize one.

For starters, it is a member of the fungal kingdom and thrives in soil and on plants. Since it is a rotting matter, the scent is often musty or earthy.

Moldy products in a Malaysian store show us how long it's been since we went shopping in a mall - Culture

Circular shapes with a fuzzy texture are the most common form. Black stains and other dark hues aren’t the only ways to spot it.

The black one is the most dangerous, as reported in the media. This article on identifying black mold may provide an easy walkthrough of its color and toxicity.

If you’re dealing with green mold and need some advice on how to get rid of it, here’s a helpful guide on green mold cleanup.

All molds, regardless of their color, form, or texture, can pose a health hazard to some degree. Mold treatment experts strongly advise against removing mold if doing so could be harmful to your health.

By all means, take measures when dealing with molds, but only if it is safe to do so. Put on N-95 masks and P-100 respiratory protection, as well as gloves and goggles.

You should do this regardless of whether or not you are immunocompromised.

Mold Causes On Shoes

The first step in repairing a shoe is to figure out why mold grows on it. It is possible for shoes to develop mildew. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Moist shoe areas

Mold colonies begin to grow on wet shoes after a rainy night, so be prepared for a bad odor. Mold can grow in your shoes if they have wet insoles or other damp spots.

Foot perspiration can also cause shoe insoles to become wet. Keep your workout shoes in an area with sufficient airflow after you’ve worn them so they can naturally dry and avoid mold.

The same holds true for the shoes’ outer surfaces, which may have come into contact with dirt, dust, and other impurities. Before you put your shoes back on, ensure sure they’ve been fully cleaned and dried.

2. Filthy closets

Also, mold may already be present in the closet where you keep your shoes. Keep an eye on it and get rid of any mold you see so that it doesn’t go into your shoes.

You can prevent mold formation in your closet by removing any soiled clothing or shoes and keeping it clean at all times. Especially the dry-cleaning bags should be thrown away because they may contain dirty things.

You may want to leave the lights on in your closet to keep the air dry and prevent mold and mildew. Moisture will be kept at bay by the light bulb’s warmth.

Keep the closet as near to the wall as possible to prevent wet air from entering and contaminating the interior.

3. Trapped humidity

Avoid putting your shoes in plastic bags, which is also a good idea. It’s a common misconception that putting your shoes in these containers would keep them safe.

As a result of the material’s ability to retain moisture, mold will have an easier time growing.

A dehumidifier is also a good alternative because it’s small and easy to move about.. As a homeowner, you may just place it in a corner and utilize it whenever you need it.

It does what its name implies: it draws moisture out of the air, preventing damp spots.

Louvered doors are a fantastic option if humidity isn’t a problem in your home, but you still want optimum ventilation. The latter will keep mold at bay because it allows fresh air to enter the closet.

4. Wooden shelves

There is also a big chance that the molds on your shoes came from the wooden shelves where you store them. To prevent the same worst scenario from happening, replace the wood with wire.

Molds from the wooden shelf where you store your shoes are also a possibility. Wire should be used in place of wood to avoid a repeat of the disastrous catastrophe.

To learn more about mold-resistant materials, check out this article.

How to prevent mold growth on shoes

1. Keep your shoes dry

Being caught in the rain is inevitable, but what you do to your shoe when you return is the most important part of the journey. Before putting your shoes away, make sure they are totally dry.

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

Using a dehumidifier might help keep your closet dry.

2. Do not put your shoes inside a plastic bag

Putting shoes in a plastic bag does not prevent them against mold, according to most people. The problem with plastic bags is that they collect moisture, which encourages the growth of molds. A dry air closet is recommended for your shoe.

3. Always clean your closet

While it’s true that cleanliness is next to godliness, following a cleaning program will help keep dirt out of your closet. It allows the closet to breathe.

For further information, see this list of 14 advantages of leather soles over rubber or plastic ones:

Make sure that you remove the shoes from the closet, dust them clean, and allow them adequate circulation.

4. Put a light bulb in the closet

Mold can’t grow on the shoes because the environment is warm and dry thanks to the light bulb.

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 be kept closed at all times. An air barrier will keep out damp or moist air.

6. Remove dirty clothes or shoes in the closet

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives on rotting food and unclean 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. It is important to look for the source of the odor. Make an effort to remove it off the wall or floor before it gets out of hand.

8. Replace your wooden closet with wire

When you replace your hardwood closet or shelf with wire, you’ll get better ventilation and mold-resistant storage than you would with wood.

Amazon has a variety of products that may interest you. So, have a look at these old wire closets for inspiration.

9. Clean shoes before storing them

Cleaning your shoes before storing them in the closet is the simplest way to keep mildew from growing on them.

Dust, grime, and other contaminants might introduce mold if they are not removed using a clean rag and brush. Take those shoes out every now and then, re-clean them, and re-moisturize them.

10. Use silica gel

Small packets of beads are commonly included with new shoes. Silica gel is the name given to the small brown beads.

Silica gel is a drying agent in chemistry. So placing a silica gel pack in the closet will assist to dry off the remaining moisture.

Silica gel, on the other hand, is toxic if consumed. Even if there are no children present, you must be careful when handling it.

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What causes mold on Shoe?

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

Mold thrives in a wet part of your shoe since it has an ideal environment to flourish. The first stage of mold growth is undetectable.

Mold can only be seen by a trained eye if the cell divisions and mold growth continue unabated. There’s no easy way to get rid of it.

To put on a pair of shoes one morning only to discover a green, white, black, or blue slimy or fuzzy stain on them seems outlandish to me. If you keep your wet shoe in a closet or in a moist closet, it is feasible.

It’s possible that mold growth on shoes is also a result of the production process itself. Tanneries don’t always produce all of the leathers used in a given product.

It is possible that the shoes are tanned in one spot and finished in another. As a result of this lengthy transportation and storage, mold develops.

How to get rid of mold from leather shoes

In comparison to any other material, leather shoes are more vulnerable to mold formation. 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. It is best to store leather shoes in a 60 to 70 percent humidity environment with frequent ventilation.

While this is going on, the aspergillus mold, a favorite of leather’s, loves to develop on it. Humans may be at risk from this mold’s disease-causing properties.

They’re a pain to get rid of. Mold can’t be eradicated by just washing the affected area. The good news is that you can entirely remove it by cleaning with an anti-mold fungicide solution.

The following steps are necessary for complete annihilation:

  • Make sure to wear gloves and a face mask to avoid inhaling the spores.
  • In order to save time, take your shoes outside.
  • Scrub the surface as hard as you can using a nylon brush.
  • You can use a soft cloth dampened with vinegar and water to clean your shoes. A tablespoon of vinegar eliminates around 80% of the mold.

Isopropyl alcohol can be applied to the surface if the growth persists. In order to make sure it’s safe, try it out on a small area of the shoe first.

To keep the shoe dry, follow up the alcohol application with a coat of leather conditioner.

How to get rid of mold from suede and nubuck shoes

Suede has a bad reputation for being water resistant. As a result, deciding how to get rid of the mold is a difficult task. There are, however, specific measures you must do;

  1. Use a newspaper to fill your shoes.
  2. A suede brush with brass bristles surrounded by soft bristles is ideal for removing stains from the surface of the fabric.
  3. Vinegar may be used safely on suede to remove tough stains. It kills the mold and removes the stink effectively.
  4. It’s best to let the shoe dry naturally, avoiding direct sunlight or heat that could cause harm.


Can vinegar kill mold?

Definitely. Vinegar kills up to 80% of the mold on your shoe.

Is shoe mold dangerous?

As far as I know, shoe mold can be harmful, but only if it’s the kind that’s dangerous. The aspergillus mold, which likes to grow on leather, can be extremely hazardous if it becomes infected. It’s quite infectious. As a result, you must act quickly to remove the mold from your shoe.

Researchers at Indoor Doctor have identified the most harmful insects for humans, based on their research.

What are the materials used in eliminating molds?

Only a few products are available to remove mold from shoes. Included are:

  • Sunlight and a mixture of vinegar and water
  • If the first choice doesn’t work, switch to isopropyl alcohol.
  • To prevent mold from returning, use a dehumidifier.
  • a bleaching agent containing chlorine
  • Laundry detergent that is not too harsh
  • Alternatively, an oxygen-based bleach could work.
  • In addition, a drying leather conditioner is included in the kit.
  • You’ll need some cotton swabs and a piece of tissue paper.
  • Soap and clean clothing
  • Hard brush is all that is needed.

Can you remove mold from shoes?

The following are steps to take if you have moldy or mildewed shoes: Dust the shoe thoroughly with a stiff bristles brush to remove any apparent mold or mildew. Fill your bucket with white vinegar and water to the halfway point. Gently clean the damaged regions with a delicate cloth that has been dipped in the mixture.

Does mold wipe off?

Mold cannot simply be wiped away. Doing so, however, will actually encourage the formation of mold because of the wetness. A thorough cleaning and drying of the affected area is critical to preventing mold growth.

Does bleach kill white mold?

Nonporous surfaces like tiles and sinks are the only ones that can be treated with bleach to eliminate mold. For porous surfaces, like wood or drywall, it doesn’t work at all.

How do you prevent moisture in shoes?

Prepare your shoes for storage by stuffing them with silica gel packets. Shoe trees and acid-free paper can also aid in the absorption of excess moisture. Damage caused by the heat. Extreme heat can cause your shoes to dry out, distort, and become unwearable.

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What naturally kills mold?

Mix two parts baking soda with one part white vinegar and one part water to get rid of the most stubborn black mold. To make a paste, mix the ingredients together until they’re well combined. Let your mixture dry on the surface before moving on to the next step. Remove the black mold and stains with a sponge and a bucket of water.

Can leather get mold?

In spite of its opulence, leather clothing is susceptible to mildew and mold growth if it is kept in a humid and hot environment. One mold spore can create a colony, therefore it’s crucial to get rid of mold as soon as you see it.

When should I worry about mold?

If you have an allergy to mold, you are more likely to have symptoms including a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a sore throat as a result of mold contact. Mold and fungal infections can be life-threatening if you have a weak immune system due to an underlying health problem.

How do you remove mold and mildew from leather?

For a trial run, follow these instructions: Before you begin, be certain that your leather item is absolutely dry. Wipe away any mold or mildew with a gentle, wet cloth. Wait for the item to dry out for a second time. Completely clean the item with leather cleaning or a light soap. It’s best to let the item dry up fully before moving on.

Can white mold kill you?

A person’s susceptibility to the health effects of exposure to white mold is highly variable. Some people are completely unaffected by the spores, while others develop severe allergies to them. Sneezing, a rash on the skin, and a runny nose are all symptoms of allergies.

Is mold on leather dangerous?

Humans are poisoned and infected by this mold. That means that sickness and a wide range of health difficulties can be brought on by it. It is clear that mold on leather is harmful, and it is essential to have it removed as soon as possible.

Why is mold growing on my shoes in my closet?

Shoes and handbags, as well as any other items stored in closets, are at risk of mold growth. It’s most commonly caused by high humidity or leaking plumbing, although it can also come from the attic.

Which mold is worse black or white?

Black mold is an extremely toxic form of mold that can cause serious health complications. There are a number of different types of white mould that are difficult to recognize because they are powdery, stringy, flaky, and/or filmy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, white molds are generally less dangerous than black molds.

Can I remove black mold myself?

If the black mold growth in your home is tiny enough to treat by yourself, a simple bleach and water mixture can assist. One cup of bleach is added to a gallon of water, and the moldy areas are sprayed with the solution. Scrub the mold growth away using the cleanser. When you’re finished, make sure the area is completely dry.

Is it better to keep shoes in boxes or out?

The ideal way to store shoes you won’t be using for a month or longer is to put them in a box and keep it out of the way. In order to see what shoes you’ve stored, utilize translucent plastic storage containers or their original shoe boxes. To keep the shoes safe while being stored, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper.

How do I stop my shoes from molding?

How to Use Silica Gel Packs to Prevent Mold Growth in Shoes Stored for a Long Period of Time. Use acid-free tissues to stuff shoes. Choosing a storage unit is an important decision. Do not use plastic to wrap your shoes. Avoid Putting Wet Shoes in a Closet. Maintain a Proper Humidity and Temperature Balance. Make Sure to Thoroughly Clean Shoes Before Putting Them Away.

Can moldy leather Be Saved?

Restore the Leather’s Beauty and Strength Getting rid of the mold is just the first step. It’s not possible to utilize the leather furniture after it’s been washed and dried. Leather is a natural substance that needs to be cared for because of the oil it contains. After removing the mold, the surface can crack if you don’t maintain it.

How do you kill white mold?

Mold can be removed from the surface using chlorine bleach. Mold can be treated using a mixture of chlorine bleach and warm water (avoid rinsing). Add a little amount of dishwashing soap to the mixture if the surface is particularly porous; however, soap must be rinsed off after use.

How do you keep leather from getting moldy?

The Best Way to Prevent Leather Mildew Use a low-pressure spray made specifically for leather products to clean your leather. Your leather goods should be given a little coat of wax treatment. Keep your leather clean by using a leather cleaner regularly. Keep your leather in a dry location. Any traces of mildew should be removed as soon as possible.


Now that you know what causes mold on shoes, you can begin the mold removal process. You may put your mind at ease now because you already have the required tools and expertise at your disposal.