Mold is a fungus that can grow almost anywhere there is moisture and organic material. Leather is a popular item for mold to grow on, as it is a porous material that often contains moisture. But does mold stain leather?
To briefly answer this article’s main question, Yes, mold is a fungus that grows in multi-cellular filaments known as hyphae. These hyphae can produce pigment or color, which can stain and discolor leather surfaces.
Mold typically leaves behind a dark, black, or gray stain on leather, which can be difficult to remove.
Here’s what I’m going to cover in the rest of this article;
- why mold stains leather,
- what do mold stains on leather look like, and
- how to remove mold stains from leather.
Mold Stains On Leather
Mold spores are everywhere and float through the air on tiny microscopic seeds that can land on any surface.
When they land on something wet, like leather, they start to grow and spread quickly.
Leather is a porous material that absorbs liquids easily, making it the perfect place for mold to take hold.
If you don’t clean up a mold stain quickly, the stain will get bigger, and the mold will continue to grow.
Why Mold Stains Leather?
1. Mold Produces Color Or Pigment
To understand why mold stains leather, you first need to understand the structure of mold. Mold grows in a multi-cellular filament that produces color or pigment.
The color comes from the interaction between the mold cells and their environment.
When the mold cells are in contact with something that contains color (like leather), they take on that color-well, at least, a distorted version of that color.
2. Mold Reacts With Leather’s Surface
When mold comes into contact with leather, it doesn’t just sit on the surface.
Instead, it reacts with the surface of the leather. This reaction causes the color change we see when mold stains leather.
3. Mold Causes Discoloration On Surfaces
The reason why mold stains leather is that it causes discoloration.
The mold cells interact with the surface of the leather, causing a change in the color of the leather.
This change can range from a slight discoloration to a complete change in the color of the leather.
What Do Mold Stains On Leather Look Like?
Mold stains will range in color depending on the type of mold and the surface it is growing on. Mold that grows on leather will typically have one or a combination of the following below;
- Black and
Let’s delve into the details!
White Mold Stains
White mold stains will typically appear as small, white spots on the surface of the leather. The spots will be raised and have a fuzzy or downy texture.
If you look closely, you may be able to see mold spores on the surface of the leather.
White mold is often the result of mold that has not fully matured and is still in the early stages of growth.
This usually means you can safely and easily remove the mold with a simple cleaning solution. So anything from rubbing alcohol to vinegar will do the trick.
Gray Mold Stains
Gray mold stains are usually the result of mold that has been growing on the leather for a relatively long period of time.
The spots will be larger and more defined than white mold stains. They may also have a fuzzy or downy texture.
Gray mold stains can be difficult to remove than white mold because it has had time to sink into the pores of the leather.
You may need to use a stronger cleaning solution, like bleach, to remove the mold. Be sure to test the solution on a small, hidden area of the leather first to make sure it won’t damage the surface.
Green Mold Stains
Generally, green mold stains are usually the result of mold growing on the leather for an extended period.
The spots will be large and well-defined. They may also have a fuzzy texture.
Green mold stains on leather are usually formed in warm, humid environments.
If you have green mold stains on your leather, you’ll need to clean them as soon as possible. Otherwise, the mold could damage the leather permanently.
A mixture of vinegar and water generally works for this type of stain. Simply mix the two ingredients in a bowl and apply them to the stain with a clean cloth.
Black And Brown Mold Stains
These are absolutely the most difficult stains to remove. Not only are they large and well-defined, but they’re also usually embedded deeply into the pores of the leather.
This type of mold is often the result of prolonged exposure to moisture or humidity.
If you have black or brown mold stains on your leather, you can use saddle soap or leather cleaners to remove them.
Otherwise, the mold could damage the leather permanently.
How To Remove Mold Stains From Leather
Here are three easy ways to remove mold stains from leather;
1. Use A Mixture of Vinegar And Water
Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent that can remove mold stains from leather. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a natural cleaner and disinfectant.
This method can also be used to kill and remove mold. Vinegar contains anti-fungal properties that make it an effective mold killer.
So you get the full package of killing the mold spores, cleaning them out, and removing any lingering mold stains.
To use vinegar to remove mold stains, here’s what you need to do;
- Step 1: Mix vinegar and water in a bowl.
- Step 2: Apply the mixture to the mold stains with clean cloth by patting, dabbing, or blotting the stains. Do Not rub!
- Step 3: Let the mixture sit on the stains for about 2-3 minutes.
- Step 4: Use a damp cloth to wipe away the mixture and the mold stains. Rinse the cloth and wipe over the area again to remove any residue.
- Step 5: Let the leather air dry completely.
- Step 6: Apply a very thin layer of leather conditioner to protect the leather.
2. Use A Mixture of Rubbing Alcohol And Water
Rubbing alcohol is another powerful cleaning agent that can remove mold stains from leather.
Rubbing alcohol also contains cleaning and disinfecting properties, making it one of the best natural cleaners and disinfectants.
This method can also be used to kill, remove mold, and treat any mold stains left behind.
To use rubbing alcohol to remove mold stains, here’s what you need to do;
- Step 1: Mix rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Use a ratio of 1:1.
- Step 2: Spray the mixture onto the moldy leather surface and gently blot the mold stains.
- Step 3: You should see the mold stains begin to come off. Continue spritzing the mold stain with the rubbing alcohol solution and wipe until you’re happy with the results.
- Step 4: The leather should look and feel dry now, so you want to apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather from cracking.
- Step 5: Finally, let the leather air-dry in a cool, dry place.
3. Use Saddle Soap or Leather Cleaners
Saddle soap is a type of cleaning agent that contains soap, oils, and waxes. These ingredients work together to break down and remove leather’s dirt, grime, and stains.
Leather cleaners are also effective in removing mold stains from leather. Leather cleaners are usually a mixture of soap and water.
The leather cleaner and the saddle soap are store-bought and can come at a hefty price, but they are definitely worth the investment if you have moldy leather.
All you do is use a clean cloth to apply the saddle soap or leather cleaner on the mold stains.
Then, use a second clean cloth to wipe away the saddle soap or leather cleaner. The mold stains should also come off with it.
Make sure to finish off by using a leather conditioner to protect the leather.