Tips for Cleaning Mould on Leather

Mould tends to grow easily on leather since it is an organic material. It penetrates into the grain and can be difficult to permanently remove. Mould will quickly grow on any leather surface from clothes, shoes and accessories to larger items such as furniture.

Dog on leather chair


How does mould grow on leather?

Mould and spores are naturally occurring and ever-present both outside and inside the home. In the presence of moisture, humidity and warm weather mould can rapidly grow. Dirt, body oils and dust resting on your leather will provide a foothold where spores can latch on to the surface as well as providing a food source for mildew and mould to develop.

Why treat mould on leather?

There are many reasons to take mould seriously and to treat it as soon as possible.

  • Stop continuous mould growth - Without treatment mould will continue to grow on leather once it has attached itself. It can also spread to other items and start growing in other rooms.

  • Leather deterioration - Mould will draw nutrients not only from the dust and dirt on the leather but also the leather itself depleting the leather of natural oils and rapidly reducing its condition.

  • Mildew smell - Given the porous, natural nature of leather, mould and spores will overtime penetrate the leather. In time you will find that the leather has a mildew smell that is difficult to get rid of.

  • Stains - Worse still, mould will dis-colour leather and will eventually stain the surface. The longer that mould staining is left unchecked the more difficult it becomes to remove the staining and the stain may even become permanent.

  • Health - Wearing clothes with mould or sitting on mouldy furniture is bad for your health. Breathing in mould spores has implications for your respiratory system and touching mould to your skin can cause allergic or inflammatory reactions. To better understand how mould affects your health read our resources guide on Mould and Your Health.

How to prevent mould on leather:

Even better than treating mould on leather is preventing it in the first place and there are several strategies that you can use.

  • Ventilation - Keep your home dry and well ventilated. Use fans and de-humidifiers to reduce moisture.

  • Wet items - Leave wet or damp items such as wet boots outside to dry before bringing them inside. Conversely, remove wet items from the house such as wet laundry, towels, swimwear, etc.

  • Dry - Use a soft cloth to wipe over damp or wet leather items as soon as possible (eg. boots or a coat after a walk in the rain). Alternatively dry items using heat or a dehumidifier.

  • Sunshine - Where practical, placing leather items into the full sun can help to dry items, eliminate moisture as well as combat the growth of mould. For larger indoor items, drawing back window coverings will allow the full sunshine into your home as much as possible and will help to prevent mould growth.

  • Tidy - Don’t leave leather items lying around on the floor or elsewhere. Packing them away promptly in a dedicated space will reduce dust and dirt build up as well as keep them in top condition.

  • De-clutter - Don’t leave items on your leather sofa, dining chairs or other furniture. This will increase the likelihood of dust and moisture accumulating that will feed mould.

  • Air-flow - Move furniture off walls as this will create space and ventilation around your furniture and will discourage mould from growing on your leather as well as your on your walls.

How to treat mould on leather:

Follow these 4 simple steps to treat mould on leather.

  1. Treat as soon as possible: Once you have discovered mildew or mould on your precious leather whether it be a jacket or dining room chair you will want to treat it as soon as possible.

  2. Spot test: We recommend to always do a spot test first on your leather items and wait for 24 hours. Always test as each leather item can differ.

  3. Prepare your leather for treatment: Get the most out of your leather cleaner or treatment by preparing your leather items first.

  • With a soft clean cloth wipe off any dirt or residue.

  • Dust or dry brush smaller items to remove loose mould preferably outside to avoid spreading mould indoors.

  • Vacuum larger items such as furniture to remove dust, larger mould particles and debris.

  • Ensure the leather is dry before treatment.

  1. Apply treatment: Our Oil of Cloves Leather & Vinyl Mould Cleaner is a spray which is specifically formulated for the purpose of cleaning mould. The Oil of Cloves in our leather treatment contains Eugenol the active, plant based ingredient responsible for killing mould. This product will clean, kill mould and nourish the leather as well as inhibit future mould growth.

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