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How to clean mouldy leather

Updated November 21, 2016

Leather is a porous material made from the skin of animals such as cow, deer, goat and sheep. Commonly used for clothing, accessories and furniture, leather may be exposed to moisture through daily life and use, which can cause mould to develop if the area is not exposed to fresh air or dried thoroughly. There are a few techniques to remove mould from leather.

Place the leather item in a well-ventilated area, if possible, to allow for free air circulation. Mold and the mildew spores that accompany it can be dangerous if inhaled and can also be released into the air, which is why attempting to clean the mould should not be attempted in a closed space if it can be avoided.

Wipe the mould with an old, clean towel. Use the towel to wipe away as much of the mould as possible, and then throw the towel away. Do not reuse, as the towel will be infected with mould spores.

Dampen an old toothbrush with clean water, and use it to gently scrub at the mouldy area, particularly in any crevices or cracks in the leather. Remove as much remaining mould as possible, and then discard the toothbrush.

Create a mixture of 1 cup of warm water with a ½ tbsp of baby wash or dishwashing detergent. Dip a clean, soft cloth into the cleaning mixture, and apply it to the mouldy area. Scrub gently, but do not allow the area to become saturated, as this will further stain the leather. Use a clean, soft cloth dipped in clean water to gently wipe away any remaining suds. Let it dry completely. Discard the cloths when finished.

Use a gentle, pH-balanced leather conditioning product, such as Leather Therapy Restorer and Conditioner, applied to a clean, soft cloth and wiped onto the leather. Such pH-balanced products can be found at many feed and animal supply stores, dry cleaning stores or hardware stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean cloth(s)
  • Old toothbrush
  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid or baby wash
  • Leather conditioner
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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.