If you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of having to deal with mold leather, then you know exactly how nasty the odor can be.
However, one of the main reasons for leather growing mold incorrect storage.
Leather should always be stored at room temperatures and humidity of 40 to 60%. It also needs adequate ventilation and air circulation.
If leather is stored in any environment with humidity levels of more than 70% constantly and there is a lack of air circulation, it will contribute to bacteria and fungi growth eventually.
PH levels also play a crucial role in creating a conducive environment for the growth of mold. Leather has a pH of about 4.5 to 5.5, making it acidic.
The good news is that moldy leather can be saved by implementing a few steps and in the following guide we’ll discuss exactly how you can kill mold on your leather items.
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What causes Mold on Leather?
As you may already know, mold is a type of fungus and under ideal temperatures and humidity conditions, it can easily grow and feed, creating various unpleasant effects. Some of these nasty effects include:
Stains: These stains can be black, green or grey in color and may be permanent. In light color leathers, spots and marks may appear that make the leather look old and ultimately less expensive.
Mold also consumes important additives such as tannins, liquors and fat from the leather.
Ultimately, it can negatively impact the physical properties of leather.
Mold is usually invisible only when it has been growing for a prolonged period. Only when it has multiplied to the point that permanently removing it becomes extremely difficult would it be visible to the naked eye.
Wiping the surface clean will not eliminate the mold, and all that will happen is it will grow right back again. The leather product will need to be thoroughly cleaned with an anti-mold fungicide solution in order to keep it from coming back.
Another cause of mold on leather is due to the manufacturing process. In some cases, leather is manufactured in more than one tannery. It may be tanned in one place and then processed to crust in another location.
These longer storage and transporting times is what eventually leads to the growth of mold. In order to reduce this problem, leather is treated with fungicides.
The effectiveness of these fungicides are also tested in climate chambers. Leather is stored at 30 degrees Celsius and 95 to 98% humidity during the testing process.
Ultimately, during this testing process, 20 different types of mold spores will be introduced into the chamber. Leather that is not treated will deteriorate rapidly after one week, and mold tests are astringent to ensure that the leather remains without infestation for approximately four weeks.
However, despite this testing process, the leather may still become infested with mold once you have purchased items due to how you store and care for it.
How to Prevent Mold on Leather?
Anywhere that moisture is present, mold spores will latch on and start to grow. Your leather goods are no exception.
Preventing mold from latching onto leather will keep all your items in good shape for years to come. Controlling the environment is probably one of the best ways to prevent mold on your leather.
One of the best ways to keep mold off your leather goods is to use a dehumidifier in the room. This will remove moisture from the air and make your items less appealing to the mold.
Allowing air circulation inside the room is also recommended. A space should also always be left between your leather items to allow it to circulate.
If you have leather shoes, then use some wax to seal them from the moisture.
If there are long periods of leather not being used, you should take the leather items out and place them in direct sunlight and fresh air for approximately 30 minutes.
Storing your leather goods with Paraformaldehyde following the manufacturer’s instructions is highly recommended, especially when storing for long periods of time.
The leather should also be cleaned regularly and dusted with a vacuum cleaner and a soft attachment brush.
There are times when mold is going to somehow latch onto the goods. If this is the case, then brush the surface of the mold off your items. This should preferably be done outdoors to prevent the spores from falling inside the house.
Thereafter wipe down your leather items with a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and four parts water. If that doesn’t remove the mold, try washing it with a mild soap, rinsing and air drying it.
What Types of Mold Grow on Leather?
There are various types of mold that can grow on your leather items. However, different types of mold can grow on lots of different types of material as well. However, your leather is especially prone to the Aspergillus Mold.
This type of mold feeds on organic matter. And the process, resulting from the feeding is called bio-deterioration. It easily latches onto leather, especially in humid conditions. And it may also contribute to the musty odor of old leather couches, armchairs, and shoes.
Some species of this mold are toxigenic, pathogenic, toxic to humans and also able to bring on disease. So if you do discover this type of mold around, the best thing to do is to have it removed immediately.
One of the mycotoxins that result from this type of mold is commonly known as aflatoxin. It’s a dangerous, potent carcinogen and it can cause cancer in human tissue.
In addition to causing symptoms of cold and aggravating asthma symptoms, this type of mold also affects animals and can potentially grow inside them.
What Kills Mold on Leather?
If you live in a humid area, then you’re going to come across mold on your leather goods and items from time to time. This often occurs when they are stored in a place where temperatures are high and humidity is at its worst.
There are quite a few products on the market designed to kill mold on leather however if you don’t like the idea of using chemicals then a simple solution of vinegar and water with lots of sunlight will do the trick.
So to begin, you can mix a spray bottle with half vinegar, and half water then spray the infected item with the solution and leave it out in the sun to dry.
Once you have eliminated the mold from your leather goods, use a dehumidifier in whichever room you are storing them to ensure that the mold does not occur again.
However, to be prepared, always keep a solution of water and vinegar on hand to ensure that you can tackle the mold at the first signs.
Is Mold on Leather Toxic?
There are lots of different types of mold out there. However, some types of mold prefer certain types of materials as opposed to others. When it comes to leather, the aspergillus mold is particularly fond of it.
This type of mold is also toxic to humans and pathogenic. So it is able to cause diseases and bring on many health issues. So to answer the question, mold on leather is definitely toxic, and it is in your best interest to have it removed immediately.
Recommended Tools Needed to Clean and Remove Mold on the Above
In order to eliminate mold from the leather products, you will need the following supplies:
- Mild detergent or saddle soap
- Chlorine bleach
- Leather conditioner
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
- Tissue paper
- Oxygen based bleach
- Clean cloths and sponges.
Additionally, you may also require:
- Soft-bristled brush
How to Remove Mold on Leather Furniture
A piece of leather furniture is a significant investment, and if you spent a lot of money on your furniture, then you want to keep it looking good for as long as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to keep it clean and take good care of it at all times.
If your leather couch or any piece of the furniture gets wet or is kept in an area with lots of moisture, it will eventually get moldy. Leather is an organic tissue, and therefore the nature of the material is ideal for mold and mildew to grow.
However, it is possible to remove the mold from your couch and prevent any damage to the material of your couch. There are few steps involved in the process; however, it’s fairly simple and will save you a great deal in every way.
You should start by mixing one part vinegar with one part water in a bowl. Then dip the cloth into the bowl, squeeze it out, and wipe the surface area that’s contaminated with the mold to remove it.
Next, mix together one part rubbing alcohol and one part water, shake the bottle properly and then spray the mixture on a damp cloth and wipe the surface.
Once you’ve carried out the above-mentioned steps, move the couch into direct sunlight and place a rotating fan in front of it, to dry it out.
Get Rid of Mold on Leather Shoes
As you may already know, mold requires moisture in order to grow and thrive. Moisture can come from absolutely anywhere. In the case of leather shoes, moisture usually occurs through perspiration of your feet.
However, the moisture must be removed in order to stop the growth of mold. Once the source of the problem is identified, you can start to tackle the issue of eliminating the mold. When it comes to cleaning leather shoes, there are different methods that can eliminate it.
However, it all depends on the durability of the leather as well. Material such as nubuck and suede should be treated with more care to avoid damaging the surface.
Start by putting on gloves and a mask to prevent from inhaling the spores.
If you can, take the shoes outside as it would be better to work outdoors.
Scrub the surface with a nylon brush that is stiff. This should brush most of the mold that has built-up on the surface of the shoe.
For nubuck and suede leathers, this can be done safely. Always follow the directions on the packaging for application instructions; however, if the problem is not sorted out, then continue with the below steps.
If you have smooth leather shoes, mix one-part vinegar, one part water, and then moisten a soft cloth with the mixture and wipe it over the surface of the shoes whenever you see the emold.
Vinegar is very effective against most types of mold, in fact, it can eliminate 80% or more of mold.
If the mold returns, stronger cleaning methods will be required. In this case, you can use Isopropyl alcohol to kill the mold; however, you should first test a small area of the shoe to make sure it’s safe and will not damage it.
Using a leather conditioner is recommended after using the alcohol as it will have a drying effect on the leather.
How to Clean Mold on Leather Jacket
Leather jackets are timeless and therefore, a staple in your closet. However, it can be difficult to care for.
They do require extra care, and if you haven’t worn it in a while and had it stored in an area with moisture or a dark area of your closet, then you could find that mold is starting to grow on it.
However, the good news is that they are ways that you can eliminate mold from your leather jacket.
A similar process to eliminating mold from your leather furniture will apply to clean your leather jacket. You should always wear protective gear to prevent inhaling spores.
You should also start to buy scrubbing off the surface mold with a scrub brush. And then you should make some rubbing alcohol, vinegar as well as one cup of water, dampen the cloth and wipe it over your leather jacket.
This mixture will kill the bacteria that causes the mold to grow. The last step will be to wash the jacket with mild soap or saddle soap if the mold is still there and then dry it in a well-ventilated area.
How to Kill Mold on Leather Horse Tack and Bridle
When attempting to clean your tack, it’s important to remember to first quarantine it outside. Mold spores can still contaminate other items indoors, so be sure to transfer the tack outside as soon as you notice it is infected.
Also, make sure that you throw away any cloths or sponges that were used to clean up the mold, as you should not use it on anything else. So choose something you’re not attached to.
Start by scrubbing the tack with a wet sponge and use plenty of water. You should also invest in a pH balanced leather cleaner such as Lexol cleaner and scrub the tack in small circular motions.
Certain chemicals have disinfectant properties; however, they can also damage your tack, so steer clear of any other product that is not recommended for cleaning a tack. After scrubbing, allow the tack to sit in direct sunlight and let it dry completely.
How to Eliminate Mold on Leather Bag and Purse
If your designer handbag or purse has been spoiled by mold, then using a few common household products can easily eliminate the mold. You need a microfiber cloth or a cotton wad with clear vinegar in order to eliminate the mold.
You can also use disinfectant and certain types of detergent and even some lemon juice. All you need to do is dampen a cloth with the mixture and softly wipe over the moldy area.
Do not rub or scrub as you could end up damaging the bag. Once this is done, take the bag outside and leave it in direct sunlight and allow it to dry properly.