How to Remove Mold and Mildew From Leather Jackets 

How to Remove Mold and Mildew From Leather Jackets 

young woman, rock, leather jacket

Leather jackets are timeless fashion pieces that exude style and sophistication. However, when mold and mildew find their way onto these prized possessions, they can cause unsightly stains, an unpleasant odor, and potential health hazards. But fret not!

With the right approach and a few handy techniques, you can easily remove mold and mildew from your leather jacket and restore its original charm. This blog post will guide you through the methods to remove mold on leather jacket effectively.

What are the Signs Of Mold On Leather Jacket?

  • Musty Odor: A damp or musty smell is one of the earliest signs of mold on a leather jacket. If you notice a distinct odor emanating from your jacket, it could indicate mold growth. The smell might be more noticeable when you unzip or handle the jacket, releasing trapped spores into the air.

  • Discoloration and Stains: Mold can cause visible discoloration and mold stains on a leather jacket. Keep an eye out for green, black, or white spots on the surface of the leather. These patches may appear fuzzy or powdery and can spread rapidly if left unaddressed.

    Discoloration and mold stains indicate mold has taken hold and should be addressed quickly.

  • Texture Changes: Mold can cause the leather to become brittle, stiff, or even crumbly. If you notice any unusual texture changes, such as a rough or powdery surface, mold is likely present.

  • Allergic Reactions: Mold spores can trigger allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to them. If you find yourself sneezing, coughing, or experiencing itchy eyes or skin whenever you wear your leather jacket, mold could be the culprit. Paying attention to these symptoms is essential, as continued exposure to mold can lead to respiratory issues and other health problems.

What Causes Mold on Leather Goods

  • Moisture: Moisture is the primary enemy of leather articles. When leather jackets come into contact with excessive moisture or damp environments, the chances of mold growth increase significantly. Leather is a porous material that readily absorbs moisture from its surroundings. Therefore, leaving a leather jacket in a humid area, storing it in a damp closet, or wearing it in wet weather without allowing it to dry completely can create a breeding ground for mold.

  • Improper Storage: Storing leather jackets in a dark, poorly ventilated area can contribute to mold development. A lack of air circulation prevents moisture from evaporating, providing an ideal habitat for mold spores to thrive. Additionally, placing a leather jacket in a plastic bag or covering it with non-breathable materials can trap moisture and build a conducive environment for mold outgrowth.

  • Poor Cleaning and Maintenance: Neglecting regular cleaning and maintenance routines can also contribute to mold issues on leather jackets. Over time, sweat, body oils, and dirt can accumulate on the surface of the leather, attracting moisture and promoting mold outgrowth. Failing to promptly address stains, spills, or other forms of soiling can further exacerbate the problem.

Simple Methods of Cleaning Mold from a Leather Jacket

Baking soda

Baking soda is a safe and practical solution for removing mold and mildew from white leather. To use it:

  1. Start by vacuuming the area to remove loose particles and dispose of the contents promptly.

  2. Sprinkle baking soda over the infested area and let it dissolve for about 20 minutes.

  3. Vacuum off the excess baking soda and gently wipe the area with a cloth soaked in a mixture of alcohol and water.

  4. Allow the leather to completely dry.

This method is gentle on leather and helps keep it clean and mold-free.

Vinegar-Based Spot Cleaner 

To create a vinegar-based spot cleaner for leather, combine equal parts white vinegar and tap water in a spray bottle. This solution not only disinfects the leather but also eliminates mold and mildew. Before applying the cleaner, it's advisable to test a small, inconspicuous area of the leather to ensure it doesn't cause discoloration.

Once confirmed, spray a soft cloth with the vinegar spot cleaner and gently dab the damaged area of the leather. Afterward, use a clean and dry cloth to absorb excess moisture. Finally, allow the item to air dry by leaving it outdoors in direct sunlight.

Mild Soap

Dish soap or additive-free laundry detergent works well for this purpose. Mix a small amount of soap with water to create a soapy solution. Apply soapy water to the affected leather area using a sponge or soft, moist cloth.

Be careful not to soak the leather. Once you've applied the soapy water, use a dry clean cloth to wipe the area and remove the soap residue.

Alternatively, you can use saddle soap, which is a highly effective cleaning product specifically designed for treating hard leather items such as shoes. Ensure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use saddle soap.

After cleaning leather, applying a leather conditioner to restore and protect the leather's moisture is essential.

Finally, leave the item outdoors in an area with indirect sunlight to allow it to dry and further discourage any remaining mold or mildew.

Rubbing Alcohol

To effectively disinfect, create a solution by combining 1 part rubbing alcohol(isopropyl alcohol) with 4 parts warm water in a clean container. Before applying the solution:

  1. Test a hidden section of the leather to avoid any potential discoloration.

  2. Dip a cotton ball or a clean cloth into the solution and gently dab the affected area without saturating it.

  3. Leave the leather to air dry naturally.

Brush it Off

Do these steps outside to prevent spreading spores indoors. Start by brushing(use a soft brush) the affected area to remove visible mold or mildew. Then, use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean and eliminate loose mold and mildew spores. Finally, leave the leather item outdoors in an area with indirect sunlight.

The sunlight will help kill mold and mildew without risking damage from intense direct sunlight.

How to Prevent Mold on Your Leather Clothing

1. Keep the jacket clean: Regularly clean your leather jacket with a soft, damp cloth to remove any surface dirt, dust, or residue. Avoid excessive water or harsh cleaning agents, which can potentially damage the leather. Read manufacturers instructions to know which leather cleaner is explicitly formulated for the type of leather your jacket is made from.

2. Ensure proper ventilation: Store your leather jacket in a well-ventilated space with a moderate humidity level. Avoid storing it in plastic bags or non-breathable covers. Instead, use a breathable garment bag or cover that allows air circulation.

3. Maintain optimal moisture levels: Use dehumidifiers or moisture-absorbing products, such as silica gel packets, in your storage space to reduce excess humidity. If your leather jacket gets wet, gently blot the moisture with a clean cloth and allow it to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight.

5. Professional Cleaning and Conditioning: Periodically, take your leather jacket to a professional cleaner who specializes in leather garments. They can effectively remove mold, and deep-seated dirt, treat the leather, and apply a leather conditioner to maintain its suppleness and resistance to mold. If doing DIY, apply a small amount of leather conditioner using a clean cloth and leave it for an hour.

Using a conditioner regularly can prevent mold on leather jacket and extend the lifespan of leather goods.

4. Treat with a mold inhibitor: Consider applying a mold inhibitor designed explicitly for leather products. These inhibitors help to repel mold and prevent its growth on leather surfaces. However, make sure to test the product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility with your jacket.


Mold growing on leather jacket can be distressing, but recognizing the signs early on and taking appropriate action can minimize the damage and protect your investment. Regular inspections, proper care, and vigilant storage practices are key to preventing mold from taking hold. Remember, the health and longevity of your leather clothing depend on your proactive efforts to keep it mold-free.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mold on Leather Jacket

What is Leather Mold?

A leather mold refers to the accumulation of fungal growth on various leather items such as boots, jackets, purses, furniture, and shoes. Leather mold can be classified into two types: mold and mildew. Mold on leather jacket often exhibits green or black hues, while mildew typically appears white, yellow, or gray.

Can you Save a moldy leather jacket?

A moldy leather jacket can sometimes be saved, depending on the degree of mold damage and the type of leather. If mold grows on a leather jacket that has been left in a closet for several months, it is highly likely that the jacket is irreparably damaged and should be disposed of. This recommendation also applies to leather clothes exhibiting sizable areas of black mold growth, as these patches have the potential to pose health risks.

Is the presence of mold on leather jacket dangerous?

Exposure to mold can pose health risks, particularly for individuals with allergies, respiratory conditions, or weakened immune systems. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, itching, eye irritation, and difficulty breathing.

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