Frank asked: How do I clean mold/mildew from leather shoes? The shoes were stored in a dark, damp location. I now have a green colored mold or mildew on and inside of several pairs of shoes. How do I safely remove it and protect against this in the future?
Mold requires moisture to grow. Whether it comes from perspiration that develops while wearing or from a damp room, the moisture must be removed to stop the growth of mold and mildew. Once the source of the problem is identified, you can remove the mold and mildew once and for all. There are different methods for leather shoes, depending on the durability of the leather. Suede and Nubuck should be treated the gentlest to avoid damaging the nap on the surface.
You Will Need:
- Long sleeve shirt
- A mask
- Stiff nylon brush
- White vinegar
- Simple Green
- Soft cloths
Steps to Remove the Mold and Mildew:
- Put on a long sleeve shirt, gloves, and a mask to prevent inhaling the spores.
- Take the shoes outside.
- Begin by dry-brushing the surface with a stiff, nylon brush. This will brush away most of the mold and mildew that has built up on the surface of the shoe. Try not to inhale any of the spores and stand out of the wind direction to prevent getting any spores on you.
- For suede and nubuck leathers, this is all that can be safely done. If further cleaning is needed, utilize a suede cleaner to remove any remaining mold and mildew. Follow the directions on the packaging for application instructions.
- For smooth leather shoes, as long as the leather remains unaffected, it is safe to continue on with further cleaning methods.
- Mix one part vinegar with one part water.
- Moisten a soft cloth with the mixture and use it to wipe the surface of the shoes clean.
- If the mold and mildew persist, spray the surface with Simple Green and wipe away with a clean, soft cloth.
Additional Tips and Ideas
- DampRid can be purchased from most stores, including Wal-Mart. Simply place it in the closet to absorb extra moisture to help prevent the return of mold.
- Another option to remove moisture from the area is to make your own low-budget dehumidifier, which can be as simple as a bowl or bucket filled with plain (no lighter fluid added) charcoal bricquettes.
- Silica gel can be purchased from craft stores. Simply place it in a small sachet and set in shoes when not in use to absorb excess moisture. Another option is to pour salt or baking soda in your shoes between uses to absorb moisture.
- To prevent moisture from building up, rotate through the shoes so that each pair is only worn for one day and then has a chance to dry out.
- Sunshine is a natural mold killer. If nothing else will kill the mold, set them in the sun for a day.