How to Remove Mildew from Leather Goods in 3 Steps

Over time, leather products such as shoes, clothes, and even handbags can have mildew and mold especially when kept in areas that are both hot and humid. Before it permanently damages the leather, it’s important to deal with the mold and mildew as quickly as possible.

Here’s how you can get rid of mold and mildew from your leather goods:

1. Take them outside
All you need to start a mildew colony is a single spore, so when you find it on any item kept in a humid area, it can multiply as quickly as possible.

The first step to dealing with mildewed items is to take them outside and use a soft-bristled brush to brush the spores away. You should also make sure to discard their paper or cardboard storage boxes since the mold or mildew can spread through them.

2. Add soap
Mix equal parts of mild detergent, leather saddle soap, and warm water in a bucket and wipe the leather surface down by dipping a clean cloth or sponge in this solution. Avoid placing them near direct heat or out in the sun.
After this, you should start killing the spores by mixing an equal ratio of cool water and rubbing alcohol. For shoes, use a cotton swab to deal with hard-to-reach crevices. Finally, be sure to wipe them down and allow to air dry.

Alternatively, you can also use a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. If you’re not sure if the mixture works, be sure to test it out on a small area of the material before proceeding to clean it.

3. Recondition the leather
Both leather and faux leather are products with oils that need to be maintained properly in order to prevent cracks from forming.

Wait for the leather item to dry completely before adding a leather conditioner. You can usually find leather conditioners in most cleaning sections, and when you do, be sure to follow the product’s instructions.

Tips on Proper Leather Care
Controlling temperature, air flow, and even humidity is crucial to caring for leather products in order to make them last for a long time.

Aside from doing the mentioned steps to keep mold and mildew free from your leather goods, there are other tips you can take to ensure proper care for them, such as the following:

• Store leather goods in cool, dry areas that are dust-free to minimize the growth of mold and mildew spores
• Never store soiled items – clean them first and let them dry out completely before storing them
• Reduce moisture in your home by using a dehumidifier and waterproof any damp areas and foundations; you can also add silica gel packets as an alternative