7 Reasons Mold Grow On Leather And Tips On How To Prevent It

why does mold grow on leather

Mold is a common problem that can affect many different types of material, and leather is no exception. In this blog post, we will discuss 8 reasons why mold grows on leather and how to prevent it from happening.

So why does mold grow on leather? Mold will grow on leather if the leather is left for a long time without cleaning, conditioning, and protecting it. Mold will especially grow on leather if the leather item is stored in a damp place or mold and mildew infested place. The best way to prevent mold from growing on leather is to store it in a cool dry place, clean, and condition regularly.

To learn more about why mold grows on leather, how to remedy and prevent it, keep reading this article.

1. Mold Grows On Leather Due To Its Porosity

Mold grows on leather for the same reasons it does on many other porous materials, like fabrics.

Leather is porous and absorbs moisture in the air as well as sweat from our bodies when humidity is high.

This particularly applies to leather apparel and leather furniture as they often come into contact with our skin.

The good news is leather items that get mold this way can easily be dealt with using household items like dish soap and warm water. More on this later.

2. Mold Will Grow On Leather If There Is Heat

Mold will form on leather items if there is heat around the leather items as well as inadequate ventilation.

This can usually happen when leather items like shoes, wallets, bags, etc are stored wrongly.

Usually, you would want to store leather in a cool dry place. Storing leather in plastic bags or other types of containers that trap heat will cause mold to grow.

If you notice any type of mold on your leather items, it’s usually a good idea to clean or dry the item as soon as possible and store it in an area with adequate airflow and ventilation.

Usually, cleaning can be done using dish soap mixed in warm water applied with a damp cloth to remove mold from leather.

If the problem is more severe, it may need something stronger like alcohol wipes.

For minor cases of mildew just wipe down with some vinegar diluted in water followed by wiping it off immediately after treatment so there isn’t time for anything else to grow before drying out completely.

3. Mold Will Grow On Leather If Left For A Long Time Without Use

Leather articles that are used often come into contact with body oils that help to keep the leather from developing mold, mildew, or drying out.

However, if there is no contact with the body oils for a long period of time then mold will grow on leather as it cannot keep itself moist enough to stay healthy and prevent any other damage from occurring.

Our body oils through constant or regular use help to keep mold and mildew away from growing on the leather articles.

If we stop using them, then there will be no oils to prevent mold and mildew growths.

For example, if you have a favorite pair of shoes that are in storage for an extended period of time without use – the likelihood is they will develop mold or mildew over time.

So with this being said it’s best not to store your leather items for long periods of time alone as there may come a point where they’ll need some care and treatment before use again.

Mold and mildew will particularly not grow on your leather if you wipe the surface of your leather after each use.

4. Mold Grows On Leather If It’s Left Untreated For Long

Every leather item must be treated from time to time. This means that leather articles must be cleaned, conditioned, and protected every 3-6 months to help prevent mold among other types of damages.

Cleaning, conditioning, and protecting leather articles is important because it will help keep your leather clean and protected from drying, cracking, peeling, and mold attacks.

What cleaning your leather regularly will do is to remove dirt, dust and oils that are attracted to the surface of your leather.

Mold will not grow on clean surfaces so this is a good reason why it’s important for you to keep them clean.

Likewise, mold can be prevented by regularly conditioning your leather articles because they’ll provide a protective coating from water damage as well as other liquids that may promote mold and mildew growth.

The best types of conditioners should contain beeswax or carnauba wax which help keep the natural oils in place while protecting the leather against liquids and moisture.

5. Moldy Water

Another reason why mold can grow on your leather items due to the kind of water used to clean, wipe, or treat it.

If you are using chlorinated or tap water, mold will begin to grow shortly after.

If you begin to notice mold growth on the surface of your leather even after you have cleaned it, consider using distilled water or at the very least, a mixture of half tap and half distilled.

This is because the water you’re using to clean your marble surfaces might be moldy without you knowing.

The key takeaway is that the best methods of preventing mold growth on your leather items will be to avoid using tap water and chlorinated water when cleaning your leather surface, instead try distilled.

6. Mold Will Grow On Leather If It’s Stored With Other Molded Items

A common reason for mold growth on leather is that the material was stored with other items which had already begun to grow mold.

Mold could also grow the same way if leather items are stored in places that have mold.

This could be because of a lack of air circulation, but it could also happen if the area is damp.

To avoid this happening, make sure that your leather items are spaced out and not side-by-side to stop the spores from spreading.

It’s also important to store them in a dry place with plenty of air circulation so they won’t be sitting next to their moldy counterparts for long periods of time.

This will allow you to keep any potential problems at bay!

7. Airborne Mold

Mold can get onto your leather through aircondtioning systems, vents, or any other air-movement in the house.

This type of mold can be very dangerous because it is airborne and could end up on your clothes or furniture too, not just leather products.

For this reason, you should clean your leather items regularly to remove any spores that may have landed onto them from their surroundings.

It’s also important to make sure that there are no vents blowing air towards your leather items whether it’s in storage or in use.

Tips On How To Prevent Mold On Leather Goods

I know I have given a couple of hints on how to prevent mold on your leather articles but below is a complete list of things you can do to prevent mold growth on leather.

You can prevent mold from leather by taking a few precautions.

  • Keeping your leather products dry by regularly wiping them down with a damp cloth or using an appropriate cleaner to do the job for you.
  • Use cedarwood, lavender oil, tea tree oil, citrus oils (lemon), clove leaf essential oil etc as natural deodorizers and fungicides on your leather goods which will help prevent mold growth and keep the item smelling fresh.
  • You can also use waxes like carnauba wax that contains high levels of paraffin to offer some protection against moisture while adding shine too.
  • Dilute white vinegar in water and wipe it over any areas where there is mold growing on your leather product inside or out so that it kills off the mold.
  • If mold is growing on your furniture, you can use a small vacuum cleaner attachment to suck out the spores of mold before wiping it down with soap and water or white vinegar in order to kill the mold.
  • Conditioning or moisturizing your leather will help prevent moisture from seeping into it which is what causes contact for mold growth so giving your product regular conditioning treatments will keep it looking fresh longer.
  • If you have an area where there are some deep creases, use a rag dipped in mineral oil to rub over those areas until they shine again as this helps create additional protection against mold growing inside these crevices.
  • Another effective way of preventing mold growth on leather is to use a mixture of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide which will kill the mold on contact.
  • Lastly, be sure you’re always storing your leather in an area with sufficient air flow so that it won’t get recirculated into itself.


This article discussed the reasons why mold grows on leather and some of the most effective ways to prevent the mold growth. I hope this article has brought some light onto this matter and helped you to understand more about it.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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