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Mold is a common issue that affects various materials, including leather. It can be not only unsightly but also potentially harmful to one’s health if left unchecked. Mold can also ruin leather so it is important to make sure you can remove it before it is too late. Prevention is also key. In this guide, we will explore how mold can get onto leather items, the supplies needed for cleaning, and how to remove mold from leather.

Let’s learn more about mold on leather and how to remove it!

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that can grow both indoors and outdoors. It thrives in moist environments and reproduces by generating spores that travel through the air. On leather, mold appears as a white or greenish substance that can stain or degrade the material if not dealt with promptly.

But Is It Really Mold?

Before taking any action, it’s important to confirm that the substance on your leather is indeed mold. Look for the characteristic powdery or fuzzy appearance and musty odor which are indicative of mold growth. If it isn’t mold, it could be a stain or something else that will need to be cleaned.

How Does Mold Get on Leather?

Leather becomes a breeding ground for mold when exposed to moisture and warm temperatures. This could happen due to spills, humidity, or improper storage conditions. It is important that leather is stored in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. This is true too for a leather couch you may have in your home. You want to make sure it is in an area that has air circulating so the mold doesn’t have a chance to develop.

Different types of mold can grow on leather.  Removing mold involves cleaning the leather, using a soap solution, and also conditioning.

Types of Mold That Grows on Leather

Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium are types of mold commonly found in various environments. Each has distinct characteristics and potential implications for both health and materials they grow on, such as leather. Let’s learn more about them.


Aspergillus is a genus of molds known to thrive in oxygen-rich environments. It is often found in soil, decaying vegetation, and indoor environments with high humidity levels. This mold can appear in various colors, including green, yellow, or black, and can form thick layers or spots on surfaces. Some species of Aspergillus produce mycotoxins, which can be harmful if ingested or inhaled, leading to health conditions such as allergic reactions and respiratory infections, particularly in immunocompromised individuals.


Penicillium is another genus of mold that is widespread in nature and can also be found indoors. It typically appears as blue or green velvety textures on spoiled food and other organic materials. Penicillium is notable for its role in the production of the antibiotic penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming. However, some species can produce airborne spores that may cause allergies or respiratory problems when inhaled.


Cladosporium is one of the most common molds found both outdoors and indoors. It usually presents as olive-green to brown or black colonies and is often seen on plants, textiles, window sills, and in areas with high moisture levels. While it is less toxic compared to some other molds, Cladosporium can still cause allergic reactions, asthma symptoms, and other respiratory issues, especially in sensitive individuals.

When these molds grow on leather, they not only damage the aesthetic and structural integrity of the material but also pose potential health risks due to their spores and byproducts. Proper identification and remediation are essential to prevent their growth and mitigate their effects.

Leather conditioner can be used to help clean mold off leather.

Supplies Needed to Clean Mold Off Leather

Now that you know the damage that mold can do to leather, let’s look at the supplies needed to clean mold off leather. You will need:

Ensure you have a well-ventilated area to work in as well.

How to Remove Mold from Leather ?

Now that you have gathered the supplies, it is time to remove the mold from the leather. This involves cleaning, a soap solution, and conditioning. Take a look at the steps below so you can be sure not to ruin your leather.

  1. Initial Cleaning: Start by brushing off the surface mold gently with a soft brush.
  2. Soap Solution: Mix mild soap with water and dampen a cloth in the solution. Wring out excess liquid before wiping the leather to avoid over-saturation.
  3. Wipe Down: After lightly scrubbing, use a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue from the leather.
  4. Dry Thoroughly: Allow the leather to air-dry completely in a well-ventilated area.
  5. Disinfect: If desired, gently wipe the leather with a cloth dampened with a mix of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol or vinegar.
  6. Conditioning: Apply a leather conditioner to restore moisture to the leather and help prevent cracking or drying.

Identifying the Source of Moisture

It is important that if mold reappears after cleaning, it’s crucial to identify and address the source of moisture. This could be due to persistent leaks, high humidity levels, or lack of air circulation where the leather is stored. Fixing leaks, using dehumidifiers, or improving airflow can help prevent future mold growth.

How to Prevent Mold from Growing on Leather?

Preventing mold on leather involves maintaining low humidity levels, proper ventilation, and avoiding exposure to direct water or moisture. Regular cleaning and conditioning also play a key role in preventing mold growth. If you have a humidifier in the home, make sure that you are cleaning out the water basin so mold doesn’t have a breeding ground.

Health Risks Associated with Mold Exposure

While mold on leather may not always pose a significant health risk, exposure to mold can have potential dangers, especially for individuals with allergies, asthma, or compromised immune systems. Mold exposure can lead to respiratory issues, and allergic reactions, and in severe cases, can exacerbate existing health problems. It is crucial to handle mold with care and take appropriate measures to protect oneself during the cleaning process.

What if Mold is on the Leather Couch, Do I Clean it Differently?

Cleaning a leather couch follows the same steps mentioned above. However, due to its size, you might need more time and supplies. Always spot-test a small, inconspicuous area first. It is important to do this as you don’t want to ruin the couch.

Mold Prevention and Maintenance

Now that you know about how to remove mold from leather, let’s learn more about mold in the home and how to stop it but also about mold remediation. You want to do what you can to stop mold before it has a chance to start. This can be done by checking for leaks around pipes, windows, and roofs. Also, if you have flooding in the home, everything must be cleaned and dried. Being proactive in these areas is important.

Another area is removing mold from carpet. There are quite a few things that can get mold out of the carpet. These are vinegar and baking soda, antifungal cleaner, and as a last resort, bleach. This is because the other cleaners should do the trick and are better for the environment and for the carpet. However, if they don’t work, then you can try bleach. Keep in mind it can discolor the carpet.

Lastly, if mold remediation needs to be done on the house, you will want to know who will foot the bill. Mold remediation is the specialized process designed to identify, contain, and remove mold spores while ensuring that the infestation doesn’t recur. It may be the insurance company that pays for the mold remediation, or it may be the homeowner. This is something to discuss with insurance and depends on your policy.

When Do I Call a Professional

If the mold infestation is extensive, or if the leather item is particularly valuable or delicate, it may be best to consult a professional cleaner who specializes in leather care. Also, if you have an allergy to mold or other health issues, reach out to a professional. It may be a bigger job than you are able to handle.

Take a look at the video below about removing mold from leather. This strategy can be applied to leather clothing items but also a leather couch in your home.


Mold on leather should be addressed swiftly to protect both the item and your health. With the right approach and preventative measures, you can keep your leather belongings in top condition. This can also affect other areas of the home so taking care of the source of the mold is important. Remember, when in doubt, seeking professional advice is always a prudent decision to ensure the longevity of your leather goods. This is a great time to contact Enviroquest Home Inspections for a complete mold inspection in Harrisburg, PA.

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