How you can deal with mould on your leather 

 

 

Mouldy leather - help is at hand and it's cheaper to deal with than you think!

 

If you have mould on your leather it will need removing and dealing with BEFORE you condition your leather.

 

 

Introduction

Once your tack gets mould on/in it, it's very hard to get rid of it completely.

If I come across any mould on tack that's in for repairs, firstly I take it well away from

my other leather, that is VERY important.

I take it outside so when I clean it the spores don't float off and land on the

uncontaminated leather.

Mould spores are present in the air all the time, so even if you go through all this and you have other leather stored in damp, dark conditions you will get more mould-guaranteed!

By removing your mouldy leather to outside and following extreme hygiene methods listed below you will reduce the risk of spreading the existing mould spores on your

mouldy leather on to your good non mouldy leather.

 

What do I use?

I use vinegar, you are supposed to use white vinegar but as I can buy 5 litres of the normal dark (malt) vinegar from a cash and carry for a couple of quid, that's the one I use and I know it works.

There are many types of mould ranging from white that's on your tack to black in my van and vinegar does seem to kill it all.

My Transit van is boarded out, first year I had it (2012) it dripped water from the roof as the condensation was bad. Most non insulated vans have this problem and my roof isn't insulated, just bare metal.

The wooden boards on the walls went black with mould.

I washed it off, then coated the wood with neat vinegar, I and it smelt like a fish and chip shop for a week or so but that was 6 years ago and mould's never returned.

It is said vinegar in great concentration can damage leather, I have no evidence to support that but my methods help reduce this risk by rinsing well and then conditioning it.

 

Method.

Get yourself set up with a roll of kitchen tissue and a plastic bag for disposing of all the rubbish when you have finished. You'll need vinegar too, white if you prefer but brown malt will do but it's a tad smellier and you will smell for a while.

You'll need a place to wash your hands after each treatment too.

You are best to do this outside if you can or in a lean to, conservatory etc anywhere AWAY from your other tack or any leather at all really.

Using paper towels (kitchen roll) remove as much of the mould as you can, dispose of the towels in a plastic bag that you can tie up and shove in the dustbin when you have finished, do not let any of the towels or plastic bag back in to the tack room.

If it's windy outside when you do this, stand up wind so the wind doesn't blow the spores all over you and your clothes/hair as the first thing you will do is walk back in to the tack room and spread them - believe me, it's that easy to spread them around and they will love you for it :)

Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them (using the kitchen roll) then apply the vinegar via a new paper towel, neat, not watered down as that's next to useless, it has to be neat.

Leave it on allowing it to kill the spores off for 5 minutes but no longer.

Make sure you bin all the paper towels, don't use rags and be tempted to wash and re use as

chances are they will still carry the spores and it only takes one to start the whole process off again on other uncontaminated tack stored near it.

Wash your hands again thoroughly and dry them again before the next bit.

Rinse the leather off with plain water, hang to dry either outside if dry enough or indoors

in a warm, dry, bright room away from direct heat (radiators, open fire etc) 

 

Aftercare and follow ups.

When dry it's important to keep the leather in a dry, not overly warm, bright room.

Keep out of direct sunlight but light is good to keep mould at bay.

Avoid, glycerine saddle soap, it encourages mould as it's a humectant which means it draws in moisture from the surrounding air and that includes those demon mould spores right along with it, you will also need to avoid dark, damp unheated, tack rooms where possible.

If funds and power supply allow, use a de humidifier in your tack room and/or an electric oil filled radiator.

If not consider taking your tack home which I know is a pain but saves you a lot of cleaning/treating !

You will have to use a leather conditioner (not oils of ANY kind) at some point after the vinegar treatment to keep the fat content up in the leather.

If the leather after treatment feels hard, creaks or very dry/brittle when you have killed the mould then condition it asap.

I of course recommend my own brand of leather conditioner purely because I know what's in it!

There's no harsh chemicals or additives in mine and it includes a natural anti fungal ingredient to help keep those evil mould spores at bay.

 

Once you have done all that remember what I have said, the secret to keep it in good condition is a dry, well lit room at 56 degrees Celsius or slightly higher if the leather has a good fat content but no more than 65-70 degrees where possible.

During the Summer you will need to condition your leather more obviously as all veg tanned

leather whether new or old, used or unused will lose moisture everyday and the Summer heat speeds this up, same as your own skin, it can dry out and what do you do?

Apply a moisturiser don't you, apply the same principles to your leather and you won't go far wrong.

 

Storing leather

Place any bridles or saddles not being used in thin white cotton pillowcases or wrap them in white cotton sheets, these help absorb moisture in the air, stops spores getting in to the leather from any other leather in the room and lets the light through which will help kill spores.

DO NOT use plastic bags as I have seen some people do, it won't allow air flow and encourages the leather to sweat in the heat, inducing more mould.

Sunlight in moderation is a natural disinfectant, helping to kill the spores but don't leave it in the sun for too long as it will damage the leather and dry it out too much, try to get the balance right.

Monitor your stored or unused leather as it will need conditioning again at some point.

Lastly, good luck and if you have any questions and I know the answers please email me on unicornleather@excite.com or unicornleather@gmail.com

 

Copyright Unicorn Leather Saddlery 2017