Leather looks great but can be hard to keep in good condition. Not only is it prone to growing mold and mildew, but once leather goods accumulate any stains or wear, it can be tough to get back in good shape. How many leather items have you thrown out because you didn’t know to clean them? Well, that ends today, as we share our favorite techniques for how to remove mold from leather.
Mildew stains do not discriminate. No matter how much you love an item or what types of leather you own, mold can crop up just about anywhere.
Whether you want to clean your favorite pair of leather shoes or learn how to get to get mold out of leather car seats, we’re here to help! With a little bit of elbow grease and a gentle touch, you can remove mold from any leather surface with one of these five cleaning solutions.
Remove Mold & Mildew from Leather the Easy Way
The best way to clean mold and mildew really depends on the surface that contains the fungus. Treating leather works a little differently than cleaning the carpet or your bathroom tile. Look over our mold cleaning recipes for leather to see which one is the ideal solution for your needs.
How to Remove Mold from Leather
A simple way to remove mold from items with leather finish involves a clean nylon brush, a vacuum, some soap, and alcohol. Start by removing any loose mold from the surface using the soft brush. If possible, do this outside, so you aren’t spreading mildew spores around your home.
Next, vacuum the leather and dispose of the contents quickly. No matter how much mold there is, it is essential to get it out of your house as fast as possible, as you don’t want it to spread. After you have vacuumed, spread a thick layer of mild soap suds to the moldy area using a sponge.
Wipe the suds away using a damp cloth. This method is not suitable for unfinished leather, which should never get wet. Even with a finish, you don’t want your item to get overly wet as it may cause damage.
Test a small area to ensure it is finished leather by dropping a small amount of water on it. If the droplet stains or darkens the leather, do not use soap or water.
After you’ve wiped down the leather, mix up a mild detergent of water and alcohol. Wet a clean cloth with the alcohol and water solution before gently wiping the area. Do not wet the leather too much and let it dry completely.
Alcohol can be helpful for how to shrink leather that is just a little too big, too. Wipe the interior of your shoes with alcohol on a cloth and let them sit for a while. The leather will tighten and draw up.
Be careful not to add straight alcohol to the exterior of the shoes as it could stain the material. This method on how to remove mold from leather works very well for pieces of furniture, such as a leather chair or couch. It is also helpful for removing mold from suede shoes that can sometimes be challenging to clean.
Get Mold Out of Leather Car Seats with Rubbing Alcohol
It can be challenging to get mold out of leather car seats, as there are so many creases for mildew to hide. However, by combining just a few ingredients you likely have around the house already, you can whip together a solution for cleaning leather car seats that will leave them looking like new.
Start by pouring equal parts water and rubbing alcohol into a cup or bucket. For one car seat, one cup of each should suffice. Using a soft cloth moistened with the mixture, rub over any area with mildew problems.
It’s best to focus on small sections at a time, scrubbing until the mildew is gone. Dry your car seat with a towel. Make sure you get all of the creases and any other area where moisture may collect.
Allow the leather to dry completely. Keep the car doors open to get better air circulation, and set up a fan to dry the area if possible.
How to Get Rid of Mold Growth on Unfinished Leather
If you want to clean mold off of unfinished leather, you’ll need to be a bit more careful about the ingredients and methods you’re using. If your favorite leather jacket is unfinished, then it’s better to use saddle soap than trying to make a homemade leather cleaner to get rid of mold.
Saddle soap is easy to use, and you can purchase it from most hardware stores. To clean your unfinished leather item, apply about a dime-sized amount of saddle soap to a damp sponge or cloth. Rub the soap into the leather until there is a light lather, being careful not to apply too much pressure.
Once the spot appears clean, wipe the soap off with a different damp cloth until the residue is completely gone. Allow the leather to air dry, avoiding high heat levels.
Be careful to keep your item out of reach of direct sunlight, as this may cause fading. Finally, treat the object with a leather conditioner to prevent damage.
Remove Mildew from Leather with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a perfect mold and mildew killer and can clean leather without causing any damage. It is also an excellent solution for white leather as it will not cause any discoloration. Lightly sprinkle baking soda over any leather surface and then vacuum it after approximately 20 minutes.
Or you can mix up a solution of baking soda, warm water, a few drops of white vinegar and liquid dish soap to do some spot cleaning with a damp cloth.
You can also use baking soda to get rid of the musty smell that may linger after you’ve cleaned your leather item. Place a box of it in a plastic container with any goods that smell off and seal them in for about a week. The baking soda will absorb the nasty odors.
Baking soda is also ideal to remove mildew stain from clothes that are not leather, too. Scrub at the stain with the above recipe and launder as usual. Check to be sure the stain is gone before drying in the dryer. It may require a repeat application.
Clean Leather with Baby Shampoo
It is easier to prevent mold spores and mildew growth from spreading than it is to remove once it’s there. That’s why you should be proactive about cleaning any leather item you own with regular cleaning and maintenance. It is also helpful to keep your leather goods in a dry environment away from high heat if possible, as this will help avoid mold spores from forming.
For regular cleaning, you can eliminate dirt and grime by dipping a damp cloth in baby shampoo and lathering it on the leather. Wipe the lather away with a second moistened cloth. Baby shampoo is also a great leather conditioner.
However, after cleaning and once the leather has dried completely, you should still apply a leather moisturizer to protect your belongings from future damage.
With these quick and easy solutions, you no longer have to stress about how to remove mildew from leather. While a little gentleness goes a long way, you can rest assured that these leather cleaning techniques will not damage your items, but will have them looking brand new!
Now that you see how easy it is to remove mildew from leather, you can bust out those leather boots or that forgotten belt and get rid of that mold with confidence. Remember, though, it’s important to keep mold out of everything, from what you wear to the machines you use regularly. Knowing how to clean mold from front loading washer can keep your clothes fresh and sanitized.
We hope you found these leather cleaning tips helpful! If you want to tell your friends and family how to remove mold and mildew from leather products, then please share these cleaning solutions on Pinterest and Facebook!