How To Remove Mold/Mildew From Leather Shoes – Cleaning Tips

How to Remove MoldMildew from Leather Shoes

I am a very big fan of leather shoes and will do anything to get rid of anything that tries to get in my way of happiness. Unfortunately, mold/mildew is one of my biggest challenges. When mold settles on leather shoes, the sight is unwelcoming. That explains why I take my time to clean my shoes immediately I notice any traces of mold/mildew. Here, I take you through my secrets of removing mold from leather shoes with utmost ease using three different methods.

Method 1: Using Suede and Mixture of Rubbing alcohol and Water

Cleaning suede is one of the most reputable cleaners especially when it comes to cleaning leather materials. It therefore follows that it is one of the best when it comes to mold/mildew removal. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Apply a Layer of Petroleum Jelly

When a great part of your leather shoe is covered in mildew, the first step is to apply a layer of petroleum jelly on the affected areas. First, test the effects of the petroleum jelly by applying it on unnoticeable area of your shoes. If there are no negative effects, continue to apply the rest of the affected parts of your shoes with the jelly. 

Alternatively, you can use suede cleaners. However, you should read the instructions provided by the manufacturer keenly before trying that. Consider a brand that has a good reputation when it comes to cleaning leather shoes. 

Step 2: Use Rubbing Alcohol with Water

Using a ratio of one to one, mix rubbing alcohol with water and apply it on your shoes. This mixture will do away with the mold/mildew that might have survived step one above. However, just like petroleum jelly, first test the mixture on a small part of your shoe to ensure that it does not affect its original color.

Step 3: Wipe Away the Mold

Both the petroleum jelly and the mixture of rubbing alcohol together with water used in steps 1 and 2 above respectively serve the purpose of easing the toughness of the mold/mildew on your shoes. Using a moist and soft rag or sponge, carefully wipe the mold off your leather shoes. Repeat the process until your shoes are clear of the molds. 

While at it, do not force the stains to go away completely to avoid damaging the materials of your shoes. If the stains do not come out easily, repeat either step 1 or 2 above. 

Step 4: Put the Shoes Out to Dry

At this stage, all of the mildew/mold will have come out but your shoes will be wet. Put the shoes out for the suede to dry after which you can use a suede brush to restore its original texture.
If you can still notice some traces of mold/mildew at this stage, it is advisable to seek the services of a professional suede cleaner. 

Method 2: Using Soap

Yes, soap can also help you to get rid of mold on your leather shoes effectively. All you need to do is take the steps below:

Step 1: Remove the Loose Mold

Take a brush with soft bristles and use it to remove the loose molds on your shoes. If you are going to use an old brush, wash it first before using it on your shoes. Also, remove the molds outdoors to avoid spreading the spores in your home.

Step 2: Soap Your Shoes

To avoid getting your shoes wet, make sure that your leather shoes have a finish. Having a finish means that the shoes have a coating of pigment atop. Using a wet rag or sponge, use it to apply the soap on your shoes. Take your time to make sure that the lather is spread evenly on the affected regions of your shoes. After that, use another clean cloth to wipe clean your shoes. However, while at it, keep the following in mind:

  • Do not get your shoes overly wet as that may lead to damages
  • Before applying the soap on your shoes, first test to see whether it is safe. To achieve this, take a tiny amount of the mixture and drop it in a part of your shoe where it is unnoticeable. If the water darkens or stains the area, do not proceed with the procedure. This is a sign that the mold may have moved to more cushioned parts of your shoes.

Step 3: Hang Your Shoes Out to Dry

After wiping your shoes and ensuring that there are no further traces of mold, hang them out to dry. If you can still spot some stains, repeat the procedure above. Remember not to force the stains out, as that will only damage your shoes further.

Method 3: Using a Mixture of Vinegar and Water

In any home, vinegar will help you perform many activities. in our case here today, a mixture of vinegar and water can help us get rid of mold/mildew from leather shoes. Follow the simple steps below:

Step1: Mix Water and Vinegar

Take an equal ratio of water and vinegar and mix them well. If you are not sure about the proportions, you can use a measuring cup to attain perfect results.

Step 2: Clean your Shoes

Take a clean cloth or sponge and use it to clean your shoes both on the inside and outside of your leather shoes. However, just like the other methods, you should first test whether the mixture is suitable for your shoes by dropping a little drop on an unnoticeable area on your shoes. If there is any sort of discoloration, do not proceed.

Step 3: Hang the Shoes to Dry

After using the vinegar mixture to clean your shoes, wipe them carefully and hang them out to dry. If you can still spot some traces of mold/mildew, repeat the procedure without using any additional force.


Mold/mildew settling on your leather shoes can be very disturbing. Fortunately, you can get rid of them in 3 different ways explained in this article. Remember not to use any additional fore in any of the methods and do not hesitate to abandon any method that threatens to dismantle the original texture of your shoes. It is my hope that this article has been useful to you. If so, do not hesitate to like and leave a comment below.

Jennifer Collins

Hi This Is Jennifer Collins, a home blogger, and lover of golf. I have built my website around my passion for golf, so that fellow golf lovers will enjoy the content and also find it interesting and useful. My life-long pursuit of the sport has given me in-depth experience in writing about golfing. Follow my blog for tips to improve your golfing game information about the season's hottest golfing products.

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