How to get mold out of shoes is a pressing question, especially when you notice a green or brown patch inside your favorite pair. Here’s a quick answer to help you get started right away:

  1. Brush off visible mold outside.
  2. Clean with a vinegar-water or alcohol-water solution.
  3. Wipe and allow complete air drying.

Moldy shoes are more than just a nuisance; they can lead to health issues like allergies and respiratory problems. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your shoes mold-free, not just for aesthetics but for your well-being too.

Understanding how to effectively clean mold from your shoes ensures they last longer and remain safe to wear, preventing discomfort and potential health risks. Let’s explore the simple methods you can use to tackle this common problem.

Steps to clean mold from shoes - how to get mold out of shoes infographic roadmap-5-steps

Identifying Mold on Your Shoes

Before you can tackle mold on your shoes, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Mold can be sneaky and come in various forms. Here’s how to spot it:

Types of Mold

Mold on shoes can appear in different types and colors. The most common types are:

  • Green Mold: Often found in damp environments, it can appear as fuzzy patches.
  • Black Mold: This type is notorious for its health risks and is usually found in dark, moist areas.
  • White Mold: Can be mistaken for dust, but it spreads quickly and can damage materials.
  • Brown Mold: Typically appears in patches and can weaken the shoe’s structure.

Color Variations

Mold doesn’t just come in one color. Knowing the color can help you identify and treat it effectively:

  • Dark Green or Brown: These colors are most common and usually appear in small, circular patches.
  • White: Often found on leather and can be mistaken for dust.
  • Orange: Less common but can appear on shoes stored in very damp conditions.

Mold on shoes - how to get mold out of shoes


Mold can have different textures depending on its type and the shoe material:

  • Fuzzy or Velvety: Common in green and white mold.
  • Slimy: Black mold can sometimes have a slimy texture, especially if it’s wet.
  • Powdery: Some molds, like white mold, can appear powdery and can easily be mistaken for dust.


Your nose can be a great tool for identifying mold. Mold has a distinct, musty smell that’s hard to miss. If your shoes have been stored away and come out smelling musty, mold could be the culprit. This smell is a clear signal that your shoes need some care.

Health Symptoms

Mold can affect more than just your shoes; it can impact your health. If you notice allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, or itching when wearing or handling your shoes, mold might be to blame. It’s a sign that spores are present and possibly affecting your indoor air quality.

By knowing these signs, you can catch mold early and take steps to remove it before it damages your shoes or affects your health. Next, we’ll dive into how to get mold out of shoes effectively using simple, household methods.

How to Get Mold Out of Shoes

Preparing Your Shoes for Mold Removal

Before diving into cleaning, you need to prep your shoes. This helps ensure the mold doesn’t spread and that you stay safe.

Brushing Off: Take your shoes outside to prevent mold spores from spreading indoors. Use a firm-bristled brush to gently remove any loose mold from the surface. This step is crucial to avoid inhaling spores.

Protective Gear: Wear gloves and a mask. Mold spores can cause health issues like coughing and allergies, so it’s best to protect yourself.

Outdoor Cleaning: Always clean your shoes in a well-ventilated area or outside. This minimizes the risk of inhaling mold spores and keeps your indoor air clean.

Step-by-Step Mold Removal Techniques

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to get mold out of shoes using various methods.

Vinegar Solution

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can kill most types of mold.

  1. Mix the Solution: Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket.
  2. Apply the Solution: Dip a soft cloth into the mixture and gently wipe the affected areas.
  3. Drying: Let your shoes dry in the sun. Sunlight acts as a natural mold killer.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is effective for killing mold without damaging materials like leather.

  1. Mix the Solution: Combine one part water with one part rubbing alcohol.
  2. Apply the Solution: Use a cloth to apply the mixture to the moldy areas.
  3. Saddle Soap Application: After treating with alcohol, clean the leather with saddle soap to condition it.
  4. Drying: Air-dry your shoes away from direct sunlight to avoid leather damage.


Ammonia can be harsh but effective for tough mold spots.

  1. Mix the Solution: Combine one part ammonia with one part water.
  2. Apply the Solution: Use a cloth to apply the mixture, focusing on moldy spots.
  3. Rinse and Dry: Rinse with clean water and let the shoes air dry.

Essential Oils

Tea tree oil is particularly effective against mold.

  1. Mix the Solution: Combine a few drops of tea tree oil with water in a spray bottle.
  2. Apply the Solution: Spray the mixture on affected areas and let it sit.
  3. Wipe and Dry: Wipe off with a clean cloth and let the shoes air dry.

Drying and Airing Out

After cleaning, it’s crucial to dry your shoes thoroughly to prevent mold from returning.

Air Drying: Place your shoes in a well-ventilated area. Direct sunlight is best for materials like canvas but avoid it for leather to prevent cracking.

Using Fans: If the weather doesn’t permit sun drying, use a fan to ensure thorough drying.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove mold from your shoes and keep them in good condition. Next, we’ll explore how to handle different shoe materials like leather, canvas, and suede to ensure you use the right technique for each type.

Special Considerations for Different Shoe Materials

How to Remove Mold from Leather Shoes

Leather shoes require special care to ensure they remain in good condition while removing mold. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Rubbing Alcohol Solution: Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water. This solution is effective for killing mold spores.

2. Application: Dip a soft cloth into the solution and gently wipe the moldy areas. Make sure to cover all affected spots.

3. Brushing Off: Use a soft-bristle brush to remove any remaining mold spores. Be gentle to avoid scratching the leather.

4. Drying: Place your shoes in a well-ventilated area to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight as it can cause the leather to fade or crack.

5. Conditioning: Once the shoes are completely dry, apply a leather conditioner to restore moisture and keep the leather supple. This step helps prevent future mold growth.

How to Remove Mold from Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are more forgiving but still require specific steps to ensure mold removal without damage:

1. Brushing: Start by using a soft brush to scrub off the loose mold layers. Do this outside to prevent spores from spreading indoors.

2. Washing: Mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol or use a mild dish soap solution. Dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe down the affected areas.

3. Air Drying: Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly in a well-ventilated area or in direct sunlight. Sunlight not only dries but also helps kill any remaining mold spores.

How to Remove Mold from Suede Shoes

Suede shoes need a gentle touch to avoid damaging the delicate material. Follow these steps:

1. Gentle Brushing: Use a soft-bristle brush to gently remove loose mold from the surface. Be careful not to spread the mold further.

2. Vinegar or Mild Soap Solution: Mix a small amount of white vinegar or mild soap with water. Dampen a cloth with this solution and lightly dab the moldy areas. Avoid soaking the suede.

3. Air Drying: Let the suede shoes air dry in a well-ventilated space, away from direct heat or sunlight.

4. Suede Brush: Once dry, use a suede brush to restore the nap of the suede. This helps bring back the texture that might have been flattened during cleaning.

By following these tailored techniques for leather, canvas, and suede shoes, you can effectively remove mold and keep your shoes in great condition.

Next, we’ll explore how to prevent future mold growth on your shoes with proper storage and daily practices.

Preventing Future Mold Growth on Shoes

Effective Storage Solutions to Prevent Mold

Preventing mold on your shoes starts with proper storage. Here are some tips to keep mold at bay:

1. Use Shoe Racks: Instead of piling shoes on the floor, use shoe racks. Metal racks are ideal because they allow air to circulate around the shoes, reducing moisture buildup.

2. Silica Gel Packets: Place silica gel packets inside your shoes or in the storage area. These tiny packets absorb moisture and help keep the environment dry. Remember to replace them regularly.

3. Avoid Plastic Bags: Never store your shoes in plastic bags. Plastic traps moisture, creating a perfect breeding ground for mold. Instead, use breathable fabric bags or boxes with air holes.

4. Proper Drying: Always ensure your shoes are completely dry before storing them. If your shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper to absorb excess moisture. Change the newspaper regularly until the shoes are dry.

5. Dehumidifiers: Use a dehumidifier in your shoe storage area if you live in a humid climate. This helps reduce the overall humidity and prevents mold growth.

6. Well-Ventilated Area: Store your shoes in a well-ventilated space. Good airflow helps keep moisture levels down. Avoid closed, damp spaces where air doesn’t flow freely.

Daily Practices to Keep Your Shoes Mold-Free

Incorporating simple daily practices can also help prevent mold on your shoes:

1. Regular Cleaning: Make it a habit to clean your shoes regularly. A quick wipe to remove dirt and moisture after each wear can make a big difference. Aim for a quick clean once a week and a more thorough clean once a month.

2. Changing Socks: Socks can contribute to moisture buildup inside your shoes. Change your socks frequently, especially if you sweat a lot. Opt for moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry.

3. Using Dehumidifiers: If your home has high humidity, consider using dehumidifiers in your living spaces. This helps maintain a dry environment, which is less conducive to mold growth.

4. Proper Drying: After wearing your shoes, let them air dry completely before putting them away. This is especially important for gym shoes or shoes worn in wet conditions.

5. Silica Gel Packets: Keep silica gel packets in your shoes or storage area to absorb moisture. These packets are a simple yet effective way to control humidity.

By following these storage solutions and daily practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of mold growth on your shoes. Keeping your shoes dry and well-ventilated is key to preventing mold. Next, let’s look at how NuShoe Inspect & Correct can help you maintain your shoes in top condition.

NuShoe Inspect & Correct: Your Partner in Shoe Maintenance

When it comes to keeping your shoes in top condition, NuShoe Inspect & Correct is your go-to expert. We’ve been in the shoe care business since 1994, providing fast service and high-quality repairs that our customers trust.

Experience Since 1994

With nearly three decades of experience, we’ve seen it all—from minor scuffs to severe mold infestations. Our long history means we’ve perfected our techniques to handle any shoe-related issue. Whether it’s leather, suede, or canvas, our team knows exactly how to restore your shoes to their former glory.

Fast Service

We understand that you rely on your shoes every day. That’s why we offer quick turnaround times without compromising on quality. Our efficient processes ensure that you get your shoes back as soon as possible, ready to wear and mold-free.

Quality Repairs

At NuShoe Inspect & Correct, we prioritize quality above all else. Our skilled technicians use top-notch materials and proven methods to repair your shoes. From removing mold to fixing soles and stitching, we ensure every repair meets our high standards.

Here’s what one of our satisfied customers had to say:

“I thought my favorite leather boots were ruined by mold, but NuShoe Inspect & Correct brought them back to life. The service was quick, and the quality was exceptional. Highly recommend!” — Sarah J.

Don’t let mold or wear and tear ruin your favorite shoes. Trust NuShoe Inspect & Correct to keep them looking and feeling like new.

Next, let’s recap the essential steps for preventing mold and maintaining your shoes, and when to seek professional help for severe cases.


Let’s recap the essential steps for preventing mold on shoes and maintaining them in top condition.


  1. Identify Mold: Mold can appear in various colors like green, black, brown, and even orange. It’s often patchy and circular.
  2. Remove Mold: Use a mixture of water and white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or saddle soap depending on the shoe material. Always dry shoes completely after cleaning.
  3. Special Care for Different Materials: Leather, canvas, and suede each require specific cleaning methods to avoid damage while removing mold.
  4. Prevent Future Mold Growth: Store shoes in dry, well-ventilated areas. Use silica gel packets and avoid plastic bags to control moisture.

Importance of Prevention

Preventing mold is not just about keeping your shoes looking good. Mold can cause health issues like skin irritations and respiratory problems. By keeping your shoes dry and clean, you’re also protecting your health.

Contacting Professionals for Severe Cases

Sometimes, DIY methods might not be enough, especially if the mold is extensive. In such cases, professional help is essential. NuShoe Inspect & Correct offers specialized services to restore mold-damaged footwear.

“I thought my favorite leather boots were ruined by mold, but NuShoe Inspect & Correct brought them back to life. The service was quick, and the quality was exceptional. Highly recommend!” — Sarah J.

Don’t let mold or wear and tear ruin your favorite shoes. Trust NuShoe Inspect & Correct to keep them looking and feeling like new.

By following these steps and knowing when to seek professional help, you can ensure your shoes stay in great condition for years to come.