How To Remove Mold From Leather Jackets, Seats & Shoes

This guide will focus on mold removal on leather car seats, boots, jackets, etc.

According to statistics, the lifespan of leather furniture doesn’t go beyond a decade. As surprising as this may sound, it is very true.

How To Clean Mold Off Leather

Leather furniture with mold growth isn’t expected to last beyond 7 years, and one of the major reasons for this is the build-up of mold!

The worst part is, mold doesn’t just grow on leather furniture, it can grow on leather jackets and shoes too!

If you notice mold growth on your leather, don’t panic. We’ll be teaching you how to effectively get rid of it.

All you have to do is keep reading!

What Causes Mold And Mildew On Leather?

Knowing the causes of mold growth on your leather will help you prevent them from coming back. Here’s why mold grows on your leather.

The area is humid or damp: Mold thrives easily in humid environments. If your leather furniture or wears are kept in rooms that are high in humidity, then mold can grow on them.

Dirt: Mold is a living thing, and like all living creatures, they also need to feed to stay alive and multiply.

If you have food or mud debris on your leather, then mold can grow on it.

Poor ventilation: A poorly ventilated room will allow a build-up of dampness. Couple that with dirt and there’s every chance that mold will grow on your leather.

How To Clean Moldy Leather

Now that you understand the causes of mold growth on your leather, follow these steps to get rid of them.

Step 1: Take the leather outside

In case you didn’t know, mold only needs a single spore to start a new colony. This means cleaning the leather furniture inside will increase the chances of loose spores flying around and spreading to other areas of your house.

Taking the mold-infested furniture outside is your best bet.

Step 2: Use mild detergent and water

Make a quick mixture of mild detergent and water in a bucket then stir properly until the mixture foams. If you have leather saddle soap, then that would be much better.

After the detergent has been prepared, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Scrub the mold away

Do not use a hard-bristled brush to scrub your leather furniture to avoid damaging it. A soft-bristled brush will be ideal in this case.

Go all around the areas where there is mold growth and softly brush them away.

Step 4: Wipe the surface dry

Use a clean dry cloth to wipe the leather surface dry. Of course, there will still be some soapy residue left behind after the first wipe, so you have to use another cloth to clean once more.

This time, soak the new cloth in clean water and use it to go over your leather furniture again. This will remove most of the leftover soap and take out what’s left of the mold.

You will need a third wipe down, this time with only a dry towel. This will clean the remaining water off the leather furniture.

Step 5: Place the furniture out to dry

When you’re done cleaning, Don be in a hurry to bring the furniture back inside!

No matter how many times you wiped the surface, some water would definitely trickle into the inner parts of the furniture.

Placing the furniture back inside with even the slightest amount of dampness can still lead to mold growth. If this happens, it means all your efforts at removing the mold would have gone to waste.

Be sure to leave the furniture outside for at least 24 hours so the sun can dry it up. The ultraviolet rays which the sun produces can also kill mold, so consider it insurance.

Cleaning Mold From Leather With Rubbing Alcohol

Besides detergent, another substance you can use to clean mold off your leather furniture is rubbing alcohol. This substance has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so mold doesn’t stand a chance against it.

Mix equal parts of cool water with rubbing alcohol in a plastic bowl. Stir properly so the solution is even, then dip a clean cloth into it and wipe down the affected areas of the leather.

You should also wipe down the parts where mold isn’t visible, just in case the invisible spores have settled there.

If the mold growth is on your leather shoes, then use the cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol solution to wipe the shoes clean. Thankfully, leather has a smooth surface so mold can’t really latch on to it.

For the tight inner corners of the leather shoe, you can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean.

After the rubbing alcohol solution has been used to dislodge the mold from your leather, you can use a clean cloth dipped in clear water to wipe down and finish the job.

Once again, be sure to air-dry the leather items after you have cleaned them with water to get rid of all the leftover moisture.

In the case of shoes, you can use white paper to stuff them as you air-dry. Doing this will retain their original shape.

Do not use newspaper or any paper with prints to stuff, or else you’d be left with ink marks inside your leather shoes. This will also leave marks on your socks or feet when you wear it.

Here is how to get mold out of leather car seats, shoes, and jackets.

How To Remove Mold From Leather Jacket

Removing mold from leather jackets isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, it is just as easy as removing mold from leather shoes and other small leather materials.

If your leather jacket is machine-washable, then a dip in the washing machine with a mild detergent will do the trick. Remember to follow the specific instructions on the detergent’s box to prevent your jacket from shrinking or cracking.

After the wash, take the jacket outside and flap it as hard as you can to remove any leftover mold residue. The next and final step would be to spread it in the sun so that the heat can kill the rest of the mold spores.

If the mold growth occurs only on the outer surface of the jacket, then you may not need a machine wash. You can simply use the rubbing alcohol to wipe off the small patches of mold.

You should still spread it out in the sun to kill the rest of the mold spores and dry the remaining moisture.

Reconditioning Leather After Mold Treatment

After you have gotten rid of mold from your leather, you shouldn’t start using it immediately. Remember that leather is a natural product and it contains oil. This means you need to maintain it properly.

If you don’t follow proper maintenance practices after getting rid of the mold, then your leather may begin to crack on the surface. This is due to the expansion of the oil due to changing temperatures during the cleaning and drying process.

For this reason, it would be wise to have a leather conditioner before you start disinfecting your leather. Once the leather dries up completely, use the conditioner to keep your leather oil in its proper state, and maintain the original look of the leather.

Leather conditioners aren’t hard to find. If you don’t already have one, then you can buy from almost any retail store in your neighborhood.

How To Prevent Mold Growth on Leather

To ensure that your leather items last for as long as they possibly can, you should take up mold prevention practices. Leather is a natural material, so it can serve as a growing space for mold if the conditions are right.

Here’s what you can do to prevent mold from growing on your leather items.

Keep your leather furniture clean: Since mold feeds on food debris, having crumbs falling in between your leather seats is very bad. It’s even worse when you leave them there to rot and serve as food for mold.

Make sure you clean your leather furniture as many times as required. Use a small vacuum cleaner to suck up all the debris that may have lodged in hidden spaces and dispose of them outside.

Control the humidity in your home: Spaces with humidity levels above 60% are perfect for mold to grow. That being the case, you can use a dehumidifier to control the humidity levels and bring it down to 50%.

Once excess humidity has been eliminated, the chances of mold growing on your leather will be greatly reduced.

Place your leather wears in dry closets: If your leather shoes, bags, or jackets are stored in closets with moisture problems, then mold can grow on them.

Ensure that your closets and other storage spaces are kept dry at all times.

Ventilate your home: If your leather items are receiving enough air, then it would be hard for mold to grow on them.

Allow good airflow by opening your windows and turning on the fans to reduce or remove moisture in your home.


Removing mold from leather is very easy and you can do it all by yourself. Just follow the simple tips provided here to get rid of them, and stop them from reappearing.

Thanks for reading!

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