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Mold on leather!

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  • Mold on leather!

    Can anyone suggest a leather cleaning product that will actually kill the mold? I was horrified the other day to find mold on my leathers (on my non-molded Passier saddle). I live in the South, and it has been really hot & humid this spring, and the tack room is not climate controlled. I can wipe the mold off, but what will stop it from coming back--and worse, spreading to other leather in the tack room?

  • #2
    Mold won't hurt much but your pride.

    Some leather is very prone to it while other leather seems impervious. I can't seem to make a distinction based on cheap/pricey/stiff/soft/etc.

    Get some rags you'll promise to throw away after
    Get some white vinegar
    clean that mold off thoroughly, with white vinegar and rub down with those vinegary rags, then toss the rags immediately.
    Let the leathers get some sunshine on them.
    Consider adding a fan to the tack room to keep the air moving.
    Consider adding some of those wicking things called Damp Rid in the tack room.

    Ride more so your leathers can't mold


    • #3
      White vinegar is the best I have found also



      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the help. White vinegar to the rescue. And MORE RIDING! I'm enjoying reading the thread about weekly riding/training ideas. Will get on both--and the horses!


        • #5
          Ditto on the white vinegar and Damp Rid - I keep it in the tack room and horse trailer.


          • #6
            I got a moldy smelling saddle off of Ebay. I wiped it down with white vinegar and then used leather therapy. No more mold smell.
            Leather Therapy is supposed to have a mold inhibitor.
            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


            • #7
              Do you need to wash off the white vinegar or is it okay to apply saddle soap/conditioner right on top of it?
              Amber King
              Furever Dachshund Rescue
              Fundraising Chair


              • #8
                How do you get rid of that awful vinegar smell afterwards?????? I had a moldy saddle and followed that advice, about the vinegar, and now I think I'd rather have the moldy smell. Cannot bear that sharp, acidic smell, and it lasts and lasts and lasts. Ugh, I'm so sorry I wiped vinegar on it. And the mold still came back anyway!


                • #9
                  Is it really mold or just the white ickiness from saddle soap going funny in the humidity? I've been told that thin, white coating you get on tack that hasn't been used in a week or so is the soap, not mold.
                  Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                  Thank you for everything boy.

                  Better View.


                  • #10
                    I'm sure this is a horrifying thought to many (was to me too...then I got desparate! ), but, bleach. Yep.

                    I bought a old saddle that got dry and then over-oiled, so it had a real mold problem. Even after I cleaned it up and stored inside the house with normal humidity levels, the mold would show up in a few days.

                    I tried cleaning it thoroughly and repeatedly with Leather Nu (changing rags after one use and multiple rags per cleaning session), Leather Therapy, diluted vinegar, then straight vinegar, left it out in the sun for hours on days with low humidity, nothing helped. The mold would be back in a few days.

                    I finally got desperate to get that mold under control, so I tried straight bleach, figuring the saddle wasn't really usable if it needed to be cleaned every few days when NOT in use. So far, and still holding my breath, but, no mold. Yet, anyway. Which is a definite improvement!!! And the leather looks and feels great. Yes, it had a slight swimming pool odor for a few hours, but it's fine now -- and I'm very sensitive to smells like chlorine.

                    Sooo, yea bleach! Okay, so I can't actually *recommend* that anyone else try it, particularly on a good saddle but, it worked for me.
                    Proofreading is your friend.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post
                      I got a moldy smelling saddle off of Ebay. I wiped it down with white vinegar and then used leather therapy. No more mold smell.
                      Leather Therapy is supposed to have a mold inhibitor.
                      This is what I do also, and I can vouch for the mold inhibitor in the Leather Therapy. I cleaned a bridle in this manner, and didn't treat the leather slobber straps on the new reins that I attached to it. 6 months later, I pulled it out of the bridle bag, and the bridle was fine, but the slobber straps were a lovely hairy shade of green.
                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                      • Original Poster

                        Altag: after the bleach routine, did you retreat with something like the leather therapy or oil or leder balsam? And do you still keep the saddle inside, or have you tried keeping it in the tack room?

                        MunchkinsMom: Amazing story--so the mold DIDN'T migrate because of the leather therapy (and I'm looking at my dover catalogue: this must be the "Leather Therapy Restorer & Conditioner"?). Was your bridle kept indoors or out?

                        thanks for all the suggestions!


                        • #13
                          Good to know! I also got a moldy saddle off ebay, but sent it back.


                          • #14
                            After bleaching, I left it alone to see how it fared. I had already tried Leather Therapy several times, with no improvement.

                            I'm still keeping it in the house because I generally do, the tack room is not only hideously hot and humid, it also has no lock on the door (only a few boarders, and the BO keeps HER tack at the newer barn --which she put a lock on!) .
                            Proofreading is your friend.


                            • #15
                              I hate to disagree but mold will hurt your leather. It eats it. You will have small round depressions in the leather wher the mold has digested it.
                              Bleach is OK as long as it is not straight out of the bottle. Dilute it some with warm water. Like a cup of bleach to quart of water.
                              Same with the vinigar. One cup to a quart of water and wash it off afterwards with clean water. Don't put it back out inthe hot humid tack room at the barn. That is where the mold spores are.
                              You `can also use oxolic acid but it is an acid and will burn your hands. I use it to bleach out the dirt and iron stains and water stains on saddles. However I use gloves and when it is done doing what I want it to do, I rinse it off and mix a half cup of baking soda in a quart of water and wash the saddle with that on a washcloth. I am free with it and make sure I neutralize all the acid with the soda water. It kills the mold too but it is harsh on the leather and on your skin.
                              I do not recommend the oxalic acid unless you read up on it and know what you are doing.
                              And I also suggest you do it outside.
                              I suggest also that one keeos their good leather tack in thehouse where it is climate controled and hunidity controled.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by MXL View Post
                                MunchkinsMom: Amazing story--so the mold DIDN'T migrate because of the leather therapy (and I'm looking at my dover catalogue: this must be the "Leather Therapy Restorer & Conditioner"?). Was your bridle kept indoors or out?

                                thanks for all the suggestions!
                                I guess it didn't migrate to the treated leather. The bridle was in an inexpensive nylon bridle bag, hanging in my tack room (which is just a stall in the barn, not a closed in room, so no climate controls and it does get pretty humid in there. So I would say outdoors, meaning it was in the barn and not in the house.

                                My expensive show tack stays in the house in my walk in closet. I have never had any mold on the tack stored in the house.
                                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams