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How To Tackle Mouldy Leather


mouldy leather

There are hundreds of microscopic spores all around us, which can be very harmful to your leather. If you have started to notice a mould problem (the signs are usually powdery blue and/or green coatings and spots), then there are some really simple steps you can take to extend the life of your leather products. Even something just as simple as cleaning and appropriately storing your leather can lead to a longer lifespan.

Here are some easy steps to take to remove the mould from your leather and prevent it returning:

  1. Find some old cloths which you don’t mind throwing away after (they will be contaminated with the mouldy spores) If very contaminated where a face mask such as available in most DIY stores or wrap a small scarf around the mouth and nose aka Michael Jackson style.

  2. Using this cloth, take your leather outside and remove all the visible mould and mildew. It’s vital you do this outdoors as you do not want to risk contamination of other leather items in the same room because cleaning will disperse mould spores into the air.

  3. Use an old tooth brush or cosmetic bud to reach into crevices & stitched areas of your leather where mould loves to linger.  

  4. Once you've removed as much surface mould as you can, spray Pickstones Leather Wash onto the leather and then wipe down with a clean cloth.  This will help remove any remaining mould, plus the dirt and grease that mould loves to live with.

  5. Continue wiping down the leather until it is clean

  6. Apply a thin layer of Pickstones Leather Balm to a sponge and rub into the leather using circular motions.  There's no need to wait for the leather to dry from the wash before starting this stage.  Use the balm sparingly, a little goes a long way and you will only need a second coat if your leather was very dry beforehand.

The natural antifungal ingredients in the Pickstones Leather Balm will sink deep into the fibre of the leather and help prevent mould taking a hold again.  Regular application of the balm will assist in the continued fight against mould!  Use these products for your regular cleaning sessions and you will also ensuring the best condition and longevity of your leather.

If you'd like more advice, you can contact us or read on for more about mould!


More about tackling mould in leather

You will definitely be able to recognise the earthly odor of mildew; it’s often found in many dark and damp spaces with limited air flow, and the bluey grey spots of mould on your leather will also confirm it’s presence.

You may be struck with dismay when you see your mouldy leather, but did you know that the presence of this mildew actually indicates that your leather still has life in it. This means that it’s not too late to save it and you can prevent any further damage from happening.

However, it must be said that the removal of this mould is extremely difficult, if not impossible to do without damaging the leather. As the mould has penetrated all the fibrous layers, any chemical or process that you use to destroy the mould, may also harm these fibres too.

Obviously you may be thinking that prevention is the key here, but it’s completely impossible to protect your leather from every single airborne mould spore. There are ways to repel these mould spores though, which are all achievable by cleaning, conditioning and storing it appropriately.

Here are some methods you can implement to protect your leather from those harmful spores:


  1. When purchasing a leather care product, always ensure it contains a natural pH. This makes it kind to its fibres and internal structure.

  2. Remove dirt and impurities after every use ensuring that the leather care product doesn’t get lodged in any creases or stitching.

  3. Regularly condition your leather using special emulsifying conditioning products. By doing so, you will be delivering nutritional oil droplets to the centre of the leathers fibres, without leaving a greasy residue which mould and mildew love to reproduce on.

  4. Ensure that all your leather care products contain mould and mildew growth inhibitors. 

  5. Keep your leather dry at all times, and not in a location where it will be exposed to any extreme temperatures.

  6. Tack cleaning is vital; if you’ve used a sweaty saddle pad, then you must separate it from any leather products as this will be a breeding ground for any mould spores!  

  7. Bike leathers should be well aired after being worn and before being put away for storage.

  8. Greasy leather products that leave greasy residues will also only contribute to the chances of mould developing.

Certain sources, either books or websites may recommend using a homemade solution which contains a concoction of water and various alcohols and/or bleaches to try and combat the mould problem. Despite the fact that they will contribute to removing the mould, these harsh methods will no doubt damage your leather further by drying out its natural oils and changing the original colour.

The humidity of the storage space that you use is a key player in preventing mould from taking over your leather. A bag of desiccant crystals is an easy way to absorb all the excess moisture which may be present, and these are available from many different hardware stores. Even a single light bulb or a bar heater can be sufficient enough to keep the mildew away, due to the heat it generates. Do not wrap in plastic.