Getting rid of mold on shoes is crucial for maintaining their quality and your health. Mold can damage your shoes and cause unpleasant odors, plus it poses health risks. Quickly, here’s how you can banish mold:
Identify the mold: Look for discolorations or a musty smell.
Choose your cleaner: Vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or baking soda are effective.
Clean the shoes: Apply your chosen cleaner, then scrub gently.
Dry thoroughly: Ensure shoes are completely dry to prevent mold from returning.

Mold on shoes is more than an eyesore; it’s a threat to your footwear’s longevity and potentially your wellbeing. Whether you’ve discovered a favorite pair getting that tell-tale musty smell or you’re seeing the signs of mold growth, it’s time to act fast. The trick to getting rid of mold on shoes and preventing its return lies in timely care and proper storage.

For shoe manufacturers or retailers, understanding and combating mold is paramount to ensuring product quality. A reputation for durable, mold-free footwear can set your brand apart in a competitive market. Therefore, tackling mold not only preserves your products but also protects your brand’s reputation for quality.

Infographic: Steps to Get Rid of Mold on Shoes - Step 1: Identify Mold (look for discolorations, smell mustiness). Step 2: Choose Your Cleaner (options include vinegar, rubbing alcohol, baking soda). Step 3: Apply Cleaner and Scrub Gently. Step 4: Dry Shoes Thoroughly in a Well-Ventilated Area or in Sunlight to Prevent Mold from Returning. Reminder: Always use protective gloves when handling moldy items to protect your skin.  - getting rid of mold on shoes infographic pillar-4-steps

This quick guide provides the groundwork for our detailed exploration on addressing mold on shoes. Whether you’re salvaging a personal pair or managing a vast inventory, the upcoming sections will equip you with the knowledge and tools to keep your shoes mold-free.

Identifying Mold on Your Shoes

Getting rid of mold on shoes starts with recognizing you have a mold problem in the first place. Let’s break down how you can spot mold on your shoes, focusing on signs, color variations, and smell. This knowledge is your first defense against mold damage.

Mold Signs

Mold on shoes isn’t always obvious. It starts small and can be sneaky. You might notice:

  • Discoloration: Unusual spots or patches on your shoes, especially in areas that might have been damp.
  • Texture Changes: Mold can appear fuzzy or slimy, depending on its type and how long it’s been growing.

Color Variations

Mold comes in a variety of colors, not just the green or black we often expect. Here’s a quick color guide:

  • Green or Black: The most common colors, often seen in damp environments.
  • White: Can be harder to spot, looking like a thin, powdery layer.
  • Orange or Pink: Less common but possible, depending on the mold type and material of the shoe.


One of the clearest signs of mold is a musty smell. This distinct odor is a dead giveaway that mold is present, even if you can’t see it. If your shoes or closet start to smell less than fresh, it’s time to inspect them closely for mold.

Identifying mold early is crucial. The sooner you catch it, the easier it will be to get rid of the mold on your shoes and prevent it from spreading. With these signs in mind, you’re well-equipped to spot mold before it becomes a bigger problem.

In the next section, we’ll dive into the best cleaning agents for tackling mold on various types of shoes. Stay tuned for expert tips on restoring your footwear to its former glory.

The Best Cleaning Agents for Getting Rid of Mold on Shoes

Mold on your shoes isn’t just unsightly; it can also be harmful to your health. Luckily, there are several effective cleaning agents you can use to tackle this problem head-on. Let’s explore the best options available for getting your shoes mold-free and fresh again.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a powerful ally against mold. Its antifungal properties make it ideal for killing mold spores on leather and synthetic shoes.

  • How to Use: Mix one part water and one part rubbing alcohol. Apply the solution with a soft cloth, gently rubbing the moldy areas. Allow your shoes to air dry completely.


Vinegar, especially white vinegar, is another effective mold killer, thanks to its acidity.

  • How to Use: Create a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Use a cloth to apply this mixture to the moldy spots. After cleaning, wipe your shoes with a clean, damp cloth to remove any vinegar residue and let them dry.

Baking Soda

Not only does baking soda help absorb moisture, but it also neutralizes mold odors. It’s particularly useful for fabric shoes like canvas.

  • How to Use: Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your shoes and let it sit overnight. The next day, brush out the baking soda, along with the mold and odors.

Leather Saddle Soap

For leather shoes, saddle soap can clean mold while conditioning the leather, keeping it soft and preventing future mold growth.

  • How to Use: Apply the saddle soap according to the product’s instructions, usually by working it into a lather with a damp cloth, then applying it to the leather. Rinse or wipe off as directed.

Dish Soap

For a mild mold problem, regular dish soap can do the trick, especially on durable materials.

  • How to Use: Mix a few drops of dish soap with water. Dip a soft brush in the mixture and gently scrub the moldy areas. Rinse with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.

Remember: No matter which cleaning agent you choose, always test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your shoe first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage. After cleaning, make sure your shoes are completely dry before wearing them again or storing them away. This will help prevent the mold from returning.

In our next section, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of removing mold from different types of shoes, ensuring you have all the knowledge needed to tackle this issue effectively. Stay tuned for practical advice on maintaining your footwear in top condition.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Mold

Removing mold from your shoes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right approach, you can get your favorite pairs looking and smelling fresh again. Here’s how to tackle mold on canvas, leather, and suede shoes.

Preparing Your Shoes

Before you start the cleaning process, it’s important to get your shoes ready:

  • Brushing off: Use a firm bristled brush to gently remove any loose mold from the surface of your shoes. This is best done outside to prevent mold spores from spreading in your home.
  • Protective gear: Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning solutions and a mask if the mold situation is severe, to avoid inhaling spores.

Cleaning Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes can absorb moisture easily, making them susceptible to mold. Here’s how to clean them:

  • Vinegar solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can kill most types of mold.
  • Applying the solution: Dip a soft cloth into the vinegar solution and gently wipe the affected areas. Vinegar not only kills the mold but also helps remove musty odors.
  • Drying techniques: After cleaning, let your shoes dry completely in the sun if possible. Sunlight is a natural mold killer and will help eliminate any lingering spores.

Cleaning Leather Shoes

Leather requires a bit more care to avoid damage while removing mold:

  • Alcohol and water mix: Mix one part water with one part rubbing alcohol. Alcohol is effective at killing mold without damaging the leather.
  • Saddle soap: After applying the alcohol solution, use a small amount of saddle soap with a damp cloth to gently clean the leather. This will also help condition the leather after the alcohol treatment.
  • Drying and conditioning: Allow the shoes to air dry away from direct sunlight, then apply a leather conditioner. This helps restore moisture to the leather that the cleaning process may have removed.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Suede is delicate and requires gentle handling:

  • Gentle brushing: Use a soft suede brush to carefully remove surface mold. Always brush in the direction of the suede’s grain to avoid damage.
  • Vinegar or soap mix: For tougher mold, mix a mild solution of vinegar and water or a small amount of mild soap and water. Test on an inconspicuous area first.
  • Drying and nap restoration: After cleaning, let the shoes dry naturally. Once dry, use the suede brush again to restore the nap of the suede.

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of mold on shoes requires patience and the right technique. Prevention is key to avoiding mold growth in the future. Store your shoes in a dry, well-ventilated area, and consider using silica gel packets to absorb excess moisture. Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep your shoes in top condition for years to come.

In our next section, we will delve into how to prevent future mold growth on your shoes, ensuring that once you have tackled the issue, it doesn’t return. Stay tuned for more expert advice on keeping your footwear fresh and clean.

Preventing Future Mold Growth

Keeping your shoes mold-free is not just about cleaning; it’s about creating an environment where mold can’t thrive. Let’s dive into the best practices for preventing mold from making an unwelcome return to your footwear.

Proper Storage

  • Keep It Dry and Cool: Store your shoes in a place where air flows freely. A dry, cool spot prevents moisture buildup, which is mold’s best friend.
  • Avoid Dark Corners: Don’t shove your shoes in the back of a dark closet. Mold loves dark, undisturbed places.

Silica Gel Packets

  • Absorb the Moisture: Tuck silica gel packets into your shoes when you’re not wearing them. These little packets are moisture’s worst enemy.
  • Easy to Use: You can find these packets in new shoe boxes, or buy them separately. Just pop a couple into each shoe.

Shoe Racks

  • Air Circulation is Key: Store shoes on an open rack instead of piling them on the floor. This setup lets air circulate around and through the shoes, keeping them dry.
  • Metal Over Wood: Opt for metal racks. Wood can absorb moisture and contribute to the problem.

Moisture-Wicking Socks

  • Keep Feet Dry: Wear socks that pull moisture away from your feet. This not only keeps your feet more comfortable but also prevents that moisture from settling into your shoes.
  • Change Regularly: If you’re active or it’s a hot day, change your socks to keep feet dry. Less moisture means less risk of mold.


  • Control the Environment: In very humid areas, a dehumidifier can be a game-changer. It reduces the overall moisture in the air, making your home less hospitable to mold.
  • Portable Options: If you can’t use a whole-house dehumidifier, small, portable units are available and can be very effective in smaller spaces like closets.

By incorporating these strategies into your shoe care routine, you’re not just preventing mold; you’re also extending the life of your footwear. Mold thrives in moisture. Control the moisture, and you control the mold. Keep your shoes dry, give them a chance to breathe, and you’ll enjoy fresh, clean footwear without the worry of mold taking hold.

In our next section, we’ll tackle some common questions about getting rid of mold on shoes, including whether moldy shoes can be saved and if heat kills mold. Stay tuned for these answers and more, as we continue to guide you through keeping your shoes in pristine condition.

FAQs on Getting Rid of Mold on Shoes

When it comes to getting rid of mold on shoes, there are a few questions that pop up time and time again. Let’s dive into some of these frequently asked questions to give you a clearer path forward in battling shoe mold.

Can moldy shoes be saved?

Yes, moldy shoes can often be saved, especially if you act quickly. The sooner you address the mold, the better your chances of rescuing your shoes. Different materials require different care:

  • Canvas shoes can usually handle a vinegar and water solution well.
  • Leather shoes may benefit from a gentle cleaning with an alcohol and water mix, followed by conditioning.
  • Suede shoes are more delicate, requiring a softer approach, like gentle brushing and careful application of a vinegar or soap mix.

The key is thorough drying after cleaning. For severe cases or valuable shoes, professional cleaning might be the best option.

Does heat kill mold on shoes?

While heat can help in drying out shoes and may hinder mold growth, it’s not the most reliable method for killing mold. Direct sunlight can help since UV rays have a detrimental effect on mold. However, too much heat can damage the materials of your shoes, especially leather or suede, causing them to dry out and crack. It’s better to focus on thorough cleaning and ensuring your shoes are completely dry.

How do you stop mold from growing on shoes?

Preventing mold growth is all about keeping your shoes dry and clean. Here are some tips:

  • Dry thoroughly: Always ensure your shoes are completely dry before storing them. If they’re damp, leave them out to dry in a well-ventilated area or use a fan.
  • Use silica gel packets: These can absorb excess moisture. Pop a couple into each shoe before putting them away.
  • Store smart: Opt for breathable storage solutions like shoe racks or boxes with ventilation holes. Avoid plastic bags as they trap moisture.
  • Moisture-wicking socks: These can help keep your feet and shoes drier, reducing the risk of mold.
  • Dehumidifiers: In humid climates, a dehumidifier can make a big difference in your home’s overall moisture levels, protecting not just your shoes but all your belongings from mold.

By following these steps, you’re not just saving your shoes from mold; you’re also ensuring they’re ready and in great condition for your next wear. Regular cleaning and maintenance are your best defenses against mold. Keep everything dry, clean regularly, and you’ll significantly reduce the risk of mold growth on your clothes and shoes.


In wrapping up, it’s clear that regular cleaning and maintenance stand as the pillars in the battle against mold in your shoes. Mold is not just a minor inconvenience; it can cause damage to your beloved footwear and, worse, pose health risks through exposure. But with the right approach, getting rid of mold on shoes is entirely achievable and can be maintained over time.

At NuShoe Inspect & Correct, we’ve seen how mold can take a toll on shoes of all types and materials. That’s why we emphasize the importance of not only addressing mold once it’s appeared but taking proactive steps to prevent its return. Our comprehensive shoe odor removal service not only tackles the immediate issue of mold and its accompanying smells but also provides your shoes with a fresh start, ensuring they’re in prime condition for continued use.

The key to mold prevention lies in the care and storage of your footwear:
Dry your shoes thoroughly after they get wet, either from external moisture or from perspiration.
Use silica gel packets when storing shoes to absorb any excess moisture.
Opt for shoe racks or open shelving to ensure good air circulation, minimizing the risk of mold growth.
Consider a dehumidifier in damp environments to keep the overall humidity in your home at bay.

And, should you find yourself facing a mold issue that seems beyond the scope of home remedies, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals. At NuShoe Inspect & Correct, our team is equipped with the knowledge, tools, and expertise to rescue your shoes from the clutches of mold. We’re not just about cleaning; we’re about restoring your shoes to their former glory, ensuring they’re mold-free, fresh, and ready for the road ahead.

Mold on your shoes doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your favorite pairs. With vigilant care, regular cleaning, and the occasional professional touch, your footwear can remain in excellent condition, free of mold and ready for whatever your next adventure might be. Let’s keep our shoes clean, dry, and ready to go—mold doesn’t stand a chance.