Because damp is a common problem in the UK, it often causes mouldy shoes and clothes. The most common mould that grows on shoes is green, furry and enjoys the dark, stale conditions of your closet. Closets are usually dark, warm areas where air is poorly ventilated. That is the perfect environment for mould to thrive. In addition to creating a musty odor, mould damages and discolours fabrics and leather and sometimes even eats into shoes causing them to rot and fall apart. Preventing mould is easier than removing it, which is often not possible.
Preventing Mould on Shoes
Remove the cause of mould. Ensure that shoes, and other clothing, are dry before placing them in your closet. Wet shoes or dampness from nearby clothing will encourage mould growth.
Dry the air within the closet either by installing a light fixture and bulb that generates heat or using a dehumidifier to remove dampness from the air. If neither of these options is practical in your closet, make several rice bags by placing a cup of white rice in a nylon knee high stocking and tying the stocking in a knot. Place these bags inside of your shoes. The rice will absorb any dampness in the shoes.
Circulate the air in your closet either by leaving the door open to promote ventilation or using a fan directed at the closet to force dry air in. Shoes should be stored on a shoe tree or rack to allow air to circulate around each shoe. Piles of shoes leave the shoes on the bottom without fresh air. These shoes are more likely to grow mould, which then transfers to other shoes in the pile.
Leather shoes will benefit from a light coat of wax on both the uppers and soles of the shoes to shield the leather against moisture.
If using a light bulb, choose one that emits heat and position it well away from clothes and other flammable items to avoid the danger of fire.
Other chemicals, such as silica gel, are available to remove moisture from the air, but please check warning labels as many chemicals are poisonous to children and pets.