Leather goods are an investment in your wardrobe, so taking great care of leather items is a priority for many individuals. However, you may sometimes get caught in the rain while wearing your precious leather jacket. If you never waterproof your jacket and forget to dry it off once you find cover, mold and mildew could grow on your leather—and rain isn't the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to this type of damage. Check out this guide to find out how to prevent mold from growing on your leather goods.
Reasons for Mold Growth
It's no secret that quality leather sells at a high price, but almost everyone can agree it's well worth the money. Beautiful full-grain leather bags, belts, and other attire will never go out of style. But if you don't take proper care of these items, they can get moldy. Below, we've detailed the common reasons mold grows on leather.
Leather Is Porous
Like other materials, leather naturally absorbs any moisture in the air. This becomes problematic when the leather absorbs high amounts of water, and you neglect to tend to the material. In addition, mold could also grow on leather if you don't use the piece for a while. This is because our body oils and other forms of moisture can build up, and without the proper care, mold can develop.
Set a schedule for when you'll clean your leather, and set a reminder on your calendar. This way, you'll ensure you always take great care of this luxury item to lessen the risk of mold growth.
Poor Storage Habits
You've put this precious material at risk if you store a leather bag, boots, or other attire in a dark closet alongside another damp or moldy garment. Mold can spread to the leather object, and that dark closet is the ideal environment for it to thrive. Prevent this by ensuring all clothes—and especially leather ones— are dry when you put them away.
Excessive heat mixed with little to no airflow is a recipe for mold growth. You should store your leather in an area that's cool and dry—but never put leather away when it’s still wet. Most leather lovers recommend keeping this material inside a breathable bag or container. So, search out a garment bag with holes at the base to allow for proper airflow.
Mold can begin growing on untreated leather if you expose it to water or other sources of moisture like high humidity levels. Therefore, most leather makers recommend applying a water repellent to these goods quarterly or at least twice a year. As you use a water repellent, you should also clean and condition the leather to maintain it.
If you use water to clean off an area of your leather, experts recommend always using distilled water. Why? Because tap water contains other elements such as chlorine, which will ruin the leather by leaving stains.
How To Prevent Mold Growth
While mold can grow on leather, the good news is that there are several ways to prevent this catastrophe. Knowing how to prevent mold from growing on your leather goods is vital to maintenance, so jot down these tips.
Air Our Leather Goods
Since mold does best in the dark, don't leave leather goods cramped in the closet for months. If you plan to store these items for the season, you should still pull them out once a month and place them in direct sunlight for about an hour. Keep in mind that leaving it in the sun for too long could lead to damage, and it's a good idea to apply a leather conditioner after the sunbath to prevent it from getting too dry.
Some individuals use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels where they store their precious leather attire. This works great because it keeps the leather in the environment it does best in—somewhere dark yet dry.
Always Dry Your Leather
We can't stress this enough. Whether you're outside on a humid day or stuck in the rain, you need to dry your leather before putting it away. It's best to wipe it down as soon as possible and then give it some time to breathe. It's safe to put the piece away once you are positive it is as dry as possible.
Tips for Removing Mold From Leather
In the event that your leather attire begins to harbor mold, don't fret—you can fix this. For example, we briefly explained that a little sunbath could do the trick, since it'll kill the mold. But the direct sun could also dry out your leather, so do this with caution.
Many individuals recommend trying home remedies to remove mold; they do this by applying a small amount of deluded vinegar to a wet cloth and then dabbing it on the affected area. And if you don't have vinegar, lemon juice will also do the trick.
Do this with caution, as the water used to dilute the vinegar or lemon juice could cause water damage. You should also ensure the leather is thoroughly dry before putting it away. Beware of using an excessive amount of vinegar or lemon juice, as these substances are acidic and eat away at leather’s surface.
Visit a Pro
If you have concerns over what products to use or which method is best, locate a dry cleaner that accepts leather goods. These professionals know how to care for leather and may even have better access to cleaning solutions to solve the problem without risking further damage.
Key Take Away: Maintain Your Leather
Compared to other materials, leather is a bit high maintenance, but tending to it can ensure it lasts a lifetime. Proper maintenance is key to preventing mold from growing on leather items. So, if your leather bag gets wet because you got caught in the rain, take time to dry it off, even if you've applied a water treatment.
If you’re in the market for quality leather items like a leather briefcase, check out our selection here at Western Leather—just remember to wipe the briefcase down if you get caught walking in the rain. The better care you take of your leather, the longer it’s bound to last.