Who doesn’t love the look of a leather jacket? Versatile, good-looking, and easy to sport in countless outfits, leather jackets are a priceless addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Unfortunately, caring for leather jackets can be quite tricky, and many of us will oftentimes struggle with mold, a common – and one of the worst – enemies of leather.
Mold usually forms on leather jackets when the environment is damp and poorly ventilated – and Singapore is usually very humid. This causes the mold, which is a fungus, to thrive and cover your beloved jacket with ugly spots that make it impossible to wear again. Needless to mention, mold also gives the leather a displeasing odor that will completely ruin the fresh vibe of your otherwise clean and neat outfit.
To help you clean your moldy leather jacket, we gathered 6 super effective methods below.
1. A Natural Approach
Did you know that sunlight is a powerful and completely natural antiseptic that can kill off mildew and mold? Instead of accidentally releasing mold spores into the air while attempting to remove it from your leather jacket, why not protect your home of this fast-spreading fungus by using a natural approach? Follow these steps to learn how to use sunlight to get rid of mold on your leather jacket:
• Take the jacket outside and remove as much mold as possible with a soft brush or dry sponge.
• Leave the jacket in the sun for a couple of hours – 4 to 6 will be just enough.
• Create a solution of soapy water by mixing 1 tablespoon liquid soap and about 17 oz water.
• Sponge the leather with this solution, and leave it in the sun to dry.
• If mold is still there, mix equal parts of water and denatured alcohol (or rubbing alcohol), and use a sponge to wipe the leather down.
• Wipe again with a clean sponge or cloth and water.
• Let it dry in the sun.
2. Enzyme Cleaner
Enzyme cleaners have a thousand of uses, and removing mold and mildew from your leather jacket is one of them. However, you will need to look for a product that has been tested on leather, as not all enzyme cleaners are created equally, and many of them might actually damage the finish of your jacket.
• Apply the enzyme cleaner on a clean cloth or sponge, and proceed to carefully wiping down the leather. Avoid scrubbing it, otherwise you risk damaging the leather.
• Once you are done using the enzyme cleaner, take a pH balanced leather wash and apply a small amount on the entire jacket. This will prepare the leather for the final step of the process.
• Apply a restorer or conditioner using a clean sponge to prevent buildup around metal or in stitching. On top of removing the mold, this will also restore conditioning to the interior of leather, enhance flexibility, and enhance faded areas too.
3. Bleaching Agents
While you wouldn’t normally use bleach on your clothing, using it to get rid of mold on your leather jacket is a completely different story. It is important to choose a product that will not change the color of the leather, which is a common happening with most bleaching agents on the market. Have a pair of waterproof rubber gloves handy to avoid direct contact between the bleach and your skin.
• Put your rubber gloves on before starting.
• Create a diluted mixture of chlorine bleach and water. Mix about 2 tablespoons bleach with 1 quart of water.
• Use a clean sponge to thoroughly remove the mold from the jacket. Work carefully, wiping down the mold, and try to avoid scrubbing it, as you risk releasing mold spores into the air.
• Apply a small amount of pH balanced leather wash to the leather jacket using a clean cloth.
• Wipe off any moisture, or set the jacket in the sun for a couple of hours to dry.
4. Lemon Juice and Salt
If you cannot find a good bleaching product to use, a mixture of lemon juice and salt is going to be just as effective. Use freshly-squeezed lemon juice if available, or squeeze it yourself if you have a few lemons handy. Limes can be used when lemons are not available.
• Put on waterproof rubber gloves for protection.
• Create a concoction of lemon juice and salt. Mix about 2 teaspoons of salt with a glass of lemon or lime juice, and make sure that the salt is completely incorporated before you proceed.
• Apply this solution to the leather jacket using a clean sponge or rag. Remember that you should not let the mixture sit on the jacket for too long, as salt might cause the leather to shrink and get a dry appearance.
• Wipe off the solution with a sponge or cloth and water. Leave it dry in the sun.
A mildewicide is a chemical substance that has been specifically designed to fight off mildew and mold. However, you must look for a product that has been formulated for – or tested on – leather to avoid damaging the finish of your jacket. At the same time, working with precaution is necessary to ensure that your health is not put at a risk during the process, as mildewicides are toxic and can constitute a reason of concern if not used correctly.
Before you proceed to using a mildewcide, try contacting the manufacturer of the jacket to ask whether this method is advised. They might recommend you a specific brand for handling mildew and mold with care without compromising your jacket. Make sure to wear goggles and gloves when using mildewcide, as these substances might burn or severely affect your skin once they get absorbed in the body.
Vinegar remains a popular option when it comes to cleaning mold and mildew, especially for leather jackets. It is strong enough to remove the spores, dissipate the moldy odor, and also to make your jacket look like new. You will need white vinegar, water, a nylon brush and soft clothes for this particular method.
• Take the jacket outside and brush the mold and mildew off it with the soft nylon brush.
• Mix one part vinegar with one part water. You may add a squeeze of liquid soap or lemon juice to enhance the effect of this cleaner.
• Moisten a soft cloth in this mixture, then wipe the surface of the leather jacket clean.
• Let it dry in the sun for a few hours. Repeat the process one more time if needed.
For many of us, our leather jacket is perhaps the most valuable piece in our wardrobe – and for a good reason. Luckily, you can easily clean a moldy leather jacket as long as you make sure to use one of the methods above. Remember to carefully seal the jacket in a plastic bag to avoid exposing it to the humid environment in Singapore, which might cause the mold to come back.