How to Clean Mold off Leather Shoes? – Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are a timeless staple in any wardrobe, exuding style and sophistication.

One of the most frustrating things as a shoe lover is to discover mold growing on your beloved leather shoes.

Not only is it unsightly, but it can also cause damage to the material if not properly addressed.

But fear not! With the right techniques and a little patience, you can bid farewell to mold and restore your leather shoes to their former glory.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the steps to effectively clean mold off leather shoes and ensure they remain immaculate for years.

How to Clean Mold off Leather Shoes Infographic

How to Clean Mold off Leather Shoes?

Cleaning mold off leather shoes requires careful attention to prevent damaging the leather.

Materials You’ll Need:

Gather the following materials before you begin the cleaning process:

  • Soft brush or cloth
  • White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Cotton balls or Q-tips
  • Leather conditioner
  • Soft cloth for drying

Here’s a table outlining the steps for cleaning mold off leather shoes:

Step Name Method
1. Prepare the work area Find a well-ventilated area with plenty of natural light. Lay down a clean towel or newspaper.
2. Brush off loose mold Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove loose mold spores from the surface of the shoes.
3. Create a cleaning solution Mix equal parts white vinegar or rubbing alcohol and water in a bowl.
4. Test the solution Test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoe.
5. Clean the shoes Dip a soft cloth or cotton ball into the cleaning solution and gently wipe the affected areas.
6. Spot treat stubborn mold Dampen a cotton ball or Q-tip with the cleaning solution and carefully dab at stubborn spots.
7. Dry thoroughly Allow the shoes to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
8. Condition the leather Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to restore moisture and suppleness to the leather.
9. Prevent future mold growth Store shoes in a cool, dry place away from moisture, and consider using silica gel packs or cedar shoe trees.

Remember, prevention is key to keeping mold at bay. Keeping your shoes clean, dry, and properly stored will help maintain their condition and prevent mold growth in the future

Source: DIY with Cam YT Channel

Which Products Can You Use to Clean Mold off Leather Shoes

When cleaning mold off leather shoes, it’s crucial to use products that effectively remove mold without damaging the leather. Here are some products you can use:

  1. Mild Soap and Water: Mix a solution of mild soap or detergent with water. Use a small amount of soap to avoid excessive moisture.
  2. White Vinegar: White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and can help kill mold spores. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the moldy areas of the leather shoes, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
  3. Rubbing Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol can also help kill mold spores. Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the moldy areas of the leather shoes.
  4. Commercial Leather Cleaners: There are several commercial leather cleaners available specifically designed to clean mold and mildew from leather surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you choose.
  5. Baking Soda: Baking soda is known for its odor-absorbing and mild abrasive properties. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste, then apply the paste to the moldy areas of the leather shoes.
  6. Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can help kill mold spores and disinfect the leather surface. Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the moldy areas of the leather shoes, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
  7. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal agent and can help prevent mold growth. Dilute tea tree oil with water and apply it to the moldy areas of the leather shoes using a clean cloth. Allow it to air dry completely.

What Causes Mold On Leather Shoes?

Factors contributing to mold growth on leather shoes include:

  1. Moisture: Leather shoes can absorb moisture from various sources, such as rain, snow, or sweat from wearing them. If the shoes are not allowed to dry properly, the moisture can create an ideal environment for mold growth.
  2. Lack of Ventilation: Storing leather shoes in airtight containers or areas with poor airflow can trap moisture inside, promoting mold growth.
  3. Warmth: Mold thrives in warm environments, so keeping leather shoes in a warm, damp place can accelerate mold growth.
  4. Organic Matter: Dust, dirt, and other organic materials can provide nutrients for mold growth when they accumulate on the surface of leather shoes.

How to Prevent Mold From Growing in the Future

Preventing mold growth in the future requires ongoing maintenance and proactive measures to control moisture and inhibit mold spores. Here are some effective strategies to prevent mold from growing on leather shoes:

1. Keep Leather Shoes Dry

Ensure leather shoes are thoroughly dried after exposure to moisture, such as rain or sweat.

Use a dry cloth to wipe away any moisture and allow the shoes to air dry completely before storing them.

2. Store Shoes Properly

Store leather shoes in a cool, dry place with good airflow. Avoid storing them in airtight containers or plastic bags, as this can trap moisture and promote mold growth.

3. Clean Shoes Regularly

Clean leather shoes regularly to remove dirt, dust, and other organic matter that can provide nutrients for mold growth.

Use a mild soap or leather cleaner and a soft cloth to gently clean the surface of the leather.

4. Condition Leather

Apply a leather conditioner periodically to keep the leather soft, supple, and resistant to moisture.

Conditioning helps to seal the pores of the leather, making it less susceptible to mold growth.

5. Inspect for Mold

Routinely inspect leather shoes for any signs of mold or mildew.

If you notice any mold growth, clean the affected area promptly using appropriate cleaning methods.

6. Control Indoor Humidity

Keep indoor humidity levels in check, ideally between 30% to 50%.

Use a dehumidifier if necessary, especially in areas prone to high humidity, such as basements or closets.

7. Treat Stains Promptly

If you notice any stains on your leather shoes, address them promptly. Stains can attract mold and provide a conducive environment for its growth.

8. Use Mold Inhibitors

Consider using mold inhibitors or treatments specifically designed for leather products.

These products can help protect your leather shoes from mold and mildew growth by creating a barrier that inhibits their development.


In conclusion, knowing how to clean mold off leather shoes is essential for maintaining their longevity and appearance.

By following the steps outlined in this blog, you can effectively remove mold and prevent further damage to your beloved leather shoes.

With regular care and attention, your leather shoes will continue to look stylish and last for years to come.

Resources Consulted

James Chiles

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