Mold on Leather Jacket – How to Clean & Remove the Mold!

Can Mold Grow On Leather Jackets?

Yes, mold can absolutely grow on leather Jackets.

Leather clothing is actually more prone to mold and mildew than regular clothes.

It can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow on a leather jacket so taking care of the problem quickly and efficiently is best.

 In this article, you will learn:

  • Signs and causes of mold on leather jackets,
  • How to clean mold off of leather  jackets,
  • How to prevent mold from growing on your leather jacket.

Make sure to act quickly once you spot mold on your jacket. If you wait too long then the mold can permanently damage the leather.

Signs Of Mold On A Leather Jacket


Fuzzy fungus flecks of white/gray will begin to develop on your jacket.

It will start off looking like dust but as it gets worse there will be larger spots of cloudy white, black, green, or grey stains. The stains can be spread across a wide area or be very close together in a particular spot.


Your jacket will begin to have a mildew-like or musty smell to it. Getting this smell out can be tricky but if you follow the steps below you are sure to get rid of it.

Most Common Causes Of Mold On Leather Jackets


Because leather happens to be a porous material it allows for moisture to creep inside. When the jacket is used often, body oils from the wearer help keep the outside of the jacket moist. But when the jacket isn’t worn for a long period of time the surface dries out.

This allows mold to grow as the moisture cannot escape.

Getting water on your jacket could also cause mold. Both chlorinated and tap water can cause mildew to form. Using distilled water is the best and safest option when cleaning a leather jacket.

2.Poor Storage

Storing your leather articles with moldy items. Mold spreads very quickly and will most likely transfer so be sure to check the other items in your storage area.

When leather items are stored, it’s usually in a dark and humid environment with poor air flow such as a closet. These are the perfect conditions for mold to grow.

Be sure to not store leather articles in hot environments as well.

Leather jackets need to be clean and dry before storing.

3.Not Being Taken Care Of Properly

Leather garments need to be conditioned, cleaned, and protected every 3-6 months to help prevent mold and other kinds of damages. Mold won’t grow on clean surfaces.

Conditioning your leather jacket protects from water damage and other mold causing liquids.

Keep it out of the heat. Heat damages the leather which can make it more susceptible.

Can A Moldy Leather Jacket Be Saved?

Yes! Although, depending on how extensive the mold growth is, it could be more or less difficult.

But leather jackets in particular are usually a lot easier when getting rid of mold due to the higher quality leathers used to make them.

But be careful to clean mold fast as it can damage leather permanently.

The longer you wait the greater the risk.

How To Clean Mold Off A Leather Jacket

Always be sure to wear protective gear such as masks and gloves when dealing with mold. I recommend spot testing any and all cleaners you may use to ensure no damage will occur.

Standard Practice

You will need soap, a clean nylon brush, a solution of alcohol and water, and a vacuum.

First, take the soft brush and remove all loose mold from the surface of the jacket. It’s best if you do this outside so you don’t spread the mold or expose anyone/anything else to it.

You will then need to vacuum the jacket. Be sure to dispose of the contents as fast as possible.

After vacuuming, apply a thick layer of mild soap suds to the area. Remove the suds using a wet towel. Be careful not to over wet the material.

Using a clean cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts alcohol and water, carefully wipe the area. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective mold and mildew killer and is often used on white leather to avoid staining. It’s the safest option to avoid damaging your leather as most other cleaners will do some degree of damage to leather.

First, vacuum the area thoroughly to get rid of any loose mold particles. And, again, dispose of the vacuum contents as fast as possible to avoid contamination.

Then, sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it sit for 20 minutes or until the baking soda has completely dissolved.

Next, you will vacuum off all of the excess baking soda.

You will finish with a clean cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts alcohol and water and carefully wipe the area. Once again, do not over wet. Allow to dry thoroughly.

For Unfinished Leather

For unfinished leather you will need a moist sponge or towel and some saddle soap.

Grab the moist sponge or towel and a small amount of saddle soap. Begin carefully cleaning the jacket. Be especially sure not to over wet the unfinished leather.

Once the area is clean, remove the soap residue with a moist cloth. Allow to dry.

Getting The Musty Smell Out Of Your Leather Jacket

You will need a spray bottle, white vinegar or cheap vodka.

First, fill the spray bottle with either the white vinegar or a cheap vodka. Using vodka will smell a lot better than the vinegar,

Spray your leather jacket on the inside and outside lightly. Be careful to mist, not drench.

Put near an open window or hang up outside to dry. But be careful to not leave it in the sun for too long as the sun can severely damage leather.

What To Avoid When Cleaning Mold Out Of Your Leather Jacket

Take care of mold as soon as possible. Mold can permanently damage the leather of your jacket if you wait too long to get rid of it so be sure to clean mold right away.

Do not use saddle soap on less-heavy or finished leathers as it can dehydrate the leather. Avoid using too much pressure when working with leather.

Never use a wet finish for unfinished leather. In addition, do not over wet leather when using wet finishes.

Wouldn’t recommend using sunlight or UVs to get rid of mold as leather is sensitive to sunlight and UVs. Again, be sure to spot tests everything you use on your leather jacket before going all in, especially if you are unaware of the kind or type of leather you’re working with.

It would be best if you didn’t clean mold inside as it can spread easily and get in the air of the home. make sure you dispose of mold remnants and particles properly and safely.

Never wash leather garments in a washing machine.

Also, avoid working with mold if you do not have the proper safety gear. A mask, gloved and even eye wear is adequate protection from mold spores and contamination.

Preventing Mold On Your Leather Jacket

Be sure to use leather conditioner often. By reducing friction and lubricating the leather fibers, leather conditioner will help keep the jacket protected and soft and in good condition.

Also be sure to keep the jacket clean as dirt, grease, and dust can get trapped in the pores of the leather. Clean with a damp cloth before storing, allow to dry before storing.

Using waxes like carnauba wax containing high levels of paraffin, will add some shine as well as protect against moisture.

Be sure to always keep the leather dry.

You can store camphor and silica gel in the storage area to prevent moisture as moisture often leads to mold.

The more air circulation in the storage area the better. This will create less dust and less humidity/moisture in the air.

If you live in an area with high humidity levels, putting up a dehumidifier in the storage area would be best.

Keep the jacket out of hot environments or areas.

Also, rearranging the closet or storage area once a month helps to prevent mold.

Be sure to check on the condition of your leather jacket on a regular basis. If you spot mildew, clean immediately so it doesn’t become mold.

Crawlspaces, attics, and basements are not good places to store leather garments as they encourage mold growth.

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