How to Clean Mold off Leather? DIY Guide to Remove Mold

How to Clean Mold off Leather

Finding a mold stain on your cherished leather items such as jackets, shoes, and purses can be frustrating. Removing the mold stain without causing any harm to the leather material can also be daunting. This article provides effective tips on how to clean mold off leather items using simple cleaning methods like baking soda, saddle soap, etc., and taking steps to prevent mold from coming back.

Mold not only damages the look of leather but can also cause harm if not dealt with promptly. By using the right techniques and putting in the work, you can restore your leather items to their original condition. 

How to Clean Mold off Leather

There are several methods to clean mold from your leather items, whether it’s leather shoes, jackets, bags, or any other leather products like leather car seats etc. However, before we delve into these methods, let us consider some safety precautions.

Safety Precaution to Remove Mold and Mildew.

To safely and effectively remove mold from leather goods, it is crucial to wear a safety kit. This includes disposable gloves, a face mask, safety goggles, long-sleeved clothing, and adequate ventilation in the cleaning area. These measures protect you from direct contact with mold and cleaning solution, prevent you from inhalation of mold spores and fumes, shield your eyes from mold splashes, and minimize skin exposure. These measures minimize health risks like allergic reactions, respiratory irritation, and skin irritation.

Also, keep in mind that leather is a very malleable material, so you shouldn’t use solvent-based mold removers like bleach to avoid damaging it. It is also important to identify the type of mold present on the leather items to determine the appropriate cleaning method. Some of the methods to remove mildew from leather include the following:

Using the Baking Soda Method to Remove Mold.

Use baking Soda to Remove Mold

Baking soda is a great option for white leather. Here, you can either use only baking soda or mix it with distilled white vinegar to create a more effective and safe natural cleaning solution that won’t cause harm or discoloration to anything, not even white leather. This solution can safely and effectively clean your leather without causing any kind of damage to your leather items.

Step 1: Create the Cleaning Paste

When using only baking soda, mix an equal amount of baking soda with an equal amount of water, depending on the desired level of thickness. To make a cleaning paste out of baking soda and distilled white vinegar, combine equal parts baking soda, white vinegar, and a little amount of warm water (optional). The use of warm water can help dissolve the baking soda and speed up the mixing process, but it is not mandatory.

Step 2: Pretreat the Mold Spores

Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to carefully remove any loose mold from the leather’s surface. This helps to eliminate the exterior layer of mold on the leather and keep it from spreading when cleaning. You should do this outside or in a well-ventilated area to avoid fungal spores from spreading.

If the mold has gotten deep into the pores of the leather or the item is highly infested, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to thoroughly suction the leather’s surface before applying the paste. This helps to get rid of any lingering loose mold particles.

Step 3: Apply the Cleaning Paste

Apply the baking soda Paste

Apply the mixture to the leather’s moldy parts using a clean cloth or sponge, and let the paste sit on the leather for about 30 minutes.

This gives the solution to penetrate the mold and loosen its grip on the leather surface.

Step 4: Scrubbing Process.

After the given period, use a soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth to remove the mold-infested areas. Don’t scrub too hard, as this can damage the leather. Once you are done with the scrubbing process, clean the leather to get rid of the mold and paste residue from the leather.

Step 5: Dry the Leather

Let the leather air dry out the leather entirely before storing or using it.

Using Saddle Soap Method to Remove Mold on Leather:

Use Saddle Soap to Remove Mold

Saddle soap is not just a mold and mildew killer or a leather conditioner you can use in cleaning your leather items, it also protects and preserves the color of the leather.

Before you select a leather treatment, understand that it comes in different kinds; some are color-specific, some come in paste or solid form, and others are in liquid. All can be safely and effectively used to clean leather car seats, leather dress shoes, etc., but it is not safe to remove mold from unfinished leather. Follow the steps below to use leather soap on leather and remove mold:

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need to get a conditioner of your choice (either solid or liquid), a leather balm conditioner (optional), two rags or towels, and a small bowl of water.

Step 2: Apply the Saddle Soap

This conditioner is designed to effectively clean mold stains on any type of leather, specifically smooth and finished leather goods. To use saddle soap to clean leather, follow the guide below.

  • Use a toothbrush or a clean cloth to brush away glut debris from the leather.
  • Then dampen one of the towels with water, leaving it somewhat moist but not dripping wet.
  •  Rub the moistened towel onto the leather conditioner to generate a lather.
  • Gently rub the soapy towel onto the moldy spots on the leather surface, working in small, circular, or front and back motions to ensure thorough coverage.
  • For liquid leather cleaner that usually comes in spray bottles, you may just need to spray it evenly on the mold-affected areas of the leather.

Step 3: Allow the Leather Cleaner to Rest on the Leather.

Let the leather soap sit on the leather for one minute. This gives it time to penetrate the mold and loosen its hold on the leather.

Step 4: Wipe Away Saddle Soap Residue

After the soap has sat for the specified time, use the second clean, damp towel to wipe away the soap residue from the leather. Make sure to remove all traces of the soap. After wiping the leather off the residue of the leather soap it is time to dry it.

Step 5: Dry the Leather

Hang leather clothes on a sturdy stand in a space with good airflow to dry thoroughly. Do not dry your leather in direct sunlight or heat. Understand that minimizing prolonged exposure of leather items to strong sunlight helps to preserve their quality and appearance.

Step 6: Apply a Leather Conditioner (Optional).

Utilizing the leather conditioner will add more moisture to the material, preserve it, and prevent it from cracking and peeling. Follow the steps below to apply the leather balm:

  • Make sure the leather is clean, free of dirt or dust, and completely dry before applying the leather balm conditioner.
  •  Apply a little amount of leather balm to a soft, clean cloth or sponge and rub it on the leather in a circular or front-and-back motion to ensure even coverage. Begin with a light application, since you can always add more as needed, and rub it in, paying special attention to peeled or cracked areas.
  • After applying the balm, let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the leather to absorb it. You may need to apply multiple coats of balm, for worn leather, allowing each coat to absorb before applying the next one.
  • Once the balm has been absorbed by the leather, put it in a cool, dry place away from UV rays to help keep it in good condition.

What Causes Mold Growth on Leather?

Prevent mold growth on leather
  • it is important to understand what causes mold to develop on leather items.
  • Mold growth on leather can occur due to various factors such as
  • moisture (such as excessive sweating when wearing leather clothing or accessories),
  • high humidity,
  • poor air ventilation,
  • improper storage (storage in plastic bags or non-breathable containers),
  • contamination from Fungal spores in the environment, and
  • neglected cleaning and maintenance can all contribute to the development of mold on leather material.

Leather, being an organic material, provides the perfect environment for mold to develop, making it susceptible to mold and mildew growth. That being said, how can you get rid of mold or mildew if it eventually grows on leather?

How to Prevent Mold from Developing on Your Leather

Preventing mold on leather requires consistent upkeep, including ensuring the leather stays dry by promptly drying it after exposure to moisture. Store your leather in a dry, well-ventilated area and in breathable containers to avoid mold from growing on it. Additionally, it is important to remove dirt and dust that may cause mold to grow on your leather regularly.


Q: Should I seek professional help for cleaning mold or mildew from leather?

A: To remove mold and mildew from leather is something you can do yourself with relative ease; however, if you don’t know how to clean the leather yourself, it is fine to get the help of a professional leather cleaner who has the knowledge and tools to safely clean and restore mold-affected leather goods.

Q: Is it safe to use a blow dryer or heat gun to dry moldy leather?

A: It is not recommended to dry moldy leather with a hairdryer or heat gun because overheating can cause the leather to shrink, split, or become brittle.

Q: How often should I Apply Balm to my Leather Materials?

A: The frequency of applying leather conditioners depends on factors like usage, type of leather, and environmental conditions. Generally, for frequently used items like shoes or bags, conditioning every three to six months is advised, while less-used items like jackets may only need conditioning once or twice a year.


In summary, when faced with mold on your leather items, the methods mentioned above, such as using baking soda and saddle soap, can effectively be applied to remove mold while safeguarding the integrity of the leather. Ultimately, the key to maintaining the beauty and longevity of your leather items is consistent care and attention while not forgetting the causes of mold growth on leather, such as moisture, poor ventilation, and inadequate maintenance.

Scroll to Top
Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.