How to get rid of mould on shoes is a common question faced by shoe manufacturers and retailers. Here’s a quick solution:

  1. Brush off visible mold using a firm bristled brush.
  2. Wipe with a vinegar and water mixture (equal parts).
  3. Dry thoroughly in a well-ventilated area, preferably under sunlight.

Mouldy shoes not only give off an unpleasant, musty odour but also pose a risk to the health of the wearer. Mold can cause allergic reactions and respiratory issues if left unchecked. Ensuring your shoes are clean and mold-free is essential for maintaining quality and safeguarding the health of your customers.

We’ll show you how to identify mold on your shoes, use effective techniques to eliminate it, and offer tips to prevent mold from coming back. With these insights, you’ll keep your footwear in top condition and avoid inventory delays and damaged stock.

Steps to get rid of mold on shoes - how to get rid of mould on shoes infographic infographic-line-3-steps

Identifying Mold on Your Shoes

Mold on shoes can be sneaky and damaging if not caught early. Here’s how to spot it before it gets worse.

Types of Mold

Mold comes in various forms, but the most common types you’ll find on shoes are:

  1. Aspergillus: Often appears as green, black, or brown spots.
  2. Penicillium: Typically shows up as blue or green fuzzy patches.
  3. Cladosporium: Usually black or green, this mold can thrive in both warm and cool conditions.

Color Variations

Mold doesn’t always look the same. It can show up in different colors, which can help you identify it:

  • Green: Commonly seen on leather and fabric.
  • Black: Often found on leather and rubber.
  • Brown: Appears on older, worn shoes.
  • White: Sometimes mistaken for dust, but it can be mold.

Mold on shoes - how to get rid of mould on shoes

Spotting Signs Early

Early detection is key to preventing extensive damage. Here’s what to look for:

  • Musty Odor: A strong, musty smell is a clear indicator of mold.
  • Discolored Patches: Look for unusual spots in green, black, brown, or white.
  • Fuzzy or Powdery Texture: Mold can appear as a fuzzy or powdery layer on the surface.

Tip: Use a flashlight to inspect dark areas of your shoes, especially inside and around seams.

By identifying mold early, you can save your shoes and prevent health issues. In the next section, we’ll dive into how to get rid of mould on shoes using simple and effective techniques.

How to Get Rid of Mould on Shoes

DIY Mold Removal Techniques

Getting rid of mold on shoes can be straightforward with common household items. Here are some effective DIY methods:


Vinegar is a natural and powerful mold killer. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Use a soft cloth to apply the solution to the moldy areas. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. This method works well for most shoe materials but avoid using it on suede.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another household staple that can help. Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes and let it sit overnight to absorb moisture and neutralize odors. The next day, shake out the excess powder. This method is gentle and works well for sensitive materials.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) is great for tougher mold. Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Apply it to the moldy areas with a cloth or cotton swab. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off. This method is especially effective for leather shoes.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal agent. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the moldy areas and let it dry. This method not only kills mold but also prevents it from coming back.


Use a brush with soft bristles to gently scrub off visible mold. This is particularly useful for canvas and fabric shoes. Always do this outside to avoid spreading spores inside your home.

Vacuum Cleaner

For shoes with a lot of mold, a vacuum cleaner can help. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove loose mold spores from the surface. This is especially effective for canvas shoes.

Soft Cloth

A soft cloth is essential for applying cleaning solutions and wiping off mold. Use separate cloths for each cleaning solution to avoid cross-contamination.

Professional Solutions

Sometimes, DIY methods aren’t enough. In such cases, professional help might be necessary.

NuShoe Inspect & Correct

NuShoe Inspect & Correct specializes in mold removal for shoes. They use advanced techniques to clean and restore your shoes, ensuring they are safe to wear. Their services are effective for all types of shoes, from casual sneakers to high-end leather.

Commercial Cleaners

There are also commercial cleaners designed specifically for mold removal. These products can be more potent than household items and are often available at shoe stores or online. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

By using these DIY and professional methods, you can effectively tackle how to get rid of mould on shoes. Up next, we’ll discuss special care for different shoe materials, ensuring your shoes remain mold-free and in top condition.

Special Care for Different Shoe Materials

When it comes to how to get rid of mould on shoes, different materials require different care techniques. Let’s dive into how to handle leather, suede, canvas, and nubuck shoes.

How to Remove Mold from Leather Shoes

Rubbing Alcohol & Isopropyl Mixture:
1. Mix equal parts water and rubbing alcohol.
2. Dampen a soft cloth with the solution.
3. Gently wipe the entire shoe, including the insides if needed.
4. Air dry in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct sunlight to prevent cracking.

Leather Conditioner:
1. Once dry, apply a leather conditioner.
2. This helps restore moisture and keep the leather supple.
3. Use a soft cloth to rub the conditioner in small, circular motions.

How to Remove Mold from Suede Shoes

Petroleum Jelly:
1. For light mold, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the affected areas.
2. Use a moist, damp cloth to rub gently in circular motions.
3. Air dry thoroughly away from direct sunlight.

Suede Brush:
1. Once dry, use a suede brush to restore the nap.
2. Brush gently to avoid damaging the delicate material.

Rubbing Alcohol Solution for Heavier Mold:
1. Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water.
2. Apply with a cloth or sponge.
3. Air dry and then brush with a suede brush.

How to Remove Mold from Canvas Shoes

Alcohol Solution:
1. Mix equal parts water and rubbing alcohol in a bucket.
2. Dampen a cloth or sponge with the solution.
3. Wipe down the shoes thoroughly.

Sun Drying:
1. After cleaning, let the shoes air dry under sunlight.
2. Sunlight helps kill remaining mold spores and speeds up drying.

Additional Tip:
For stubborn mold, consider washing canvas shoes by hand or in a machine, but always check care labels first.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove mold from different shoe materials, ensuring they stay in great shape. Up next, we’ll discuss preventing mold growth in your shoe closet.

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Shoe Closet

Keeping mold at bay in your shoe closet is all about controlling moisture and ensuring proper storage. Here are some effective tips to help you achieve that.

Tips for Moisture Control

Silica Gel Packets

Silica gel packets are your best friend when it comes to moisture control. These little packets absorb excess moisture, making your closet less inviting for mold. Place them inside your shoes and around the closet. Replace them once or twice a month, depending on your local humidity levels.

Tea Bags

An unconventional but effective method is using dry tea bags. They also absorb moisture and leave a pleasant scent. Place a few in each shoe and around the closet for added protection.

Dry Socks and Shoe Rotation

Always wear dry socks. Moisture from damp socks can transfer to your shoes, creating a breeding ground for mold. Also, rotate your shoes. Give each pair a break to air out and dry completely.

Ideal Storage Solutions

Proper Storage

Store your shoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid areas like basements or garages where humidity levels are high. Make sure your closet is well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup.


Good air circulation is crucial. If possible, keep the closet door open occasionally or use a small fan to promote air movement. This helps keep the air fresh and dry.


In humid climates, a dehumidifier can be a game-changer. It reduces the overall moisture level in the air, making your closet a hostile environment for mold. You don’t need a large one; a small, portable dehumidifier works wonders.

Wire Shelving

Consider using wire shelving instead of solid shelves. Wire shelves allow air to circulate around your shoes, keeping them dry and mold-free.

Avoid Plastic Bags

Never store your shoes in plastic bags. Plastic traps moisture inside, creating a perfect environment for mold. Use breathable fabric bags if you need to protect your shoes from dust.

Use of Sunlight

Sunlight is a natural mold killer. Place your shoes in the sun from time to time to dry them out and kill any mold spores. However, be cautious with materials like leather that can get damaged by prolonged sun exposure.

By following these tips, you can keep your shoe closet mold-free and ensure your shoes stay in top condition. Up next, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about mold on shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mold on Shoes

Is mold on shoes harmful?

Yes, mold on shoes is harmful. Inhaling mold spores can lead to respiratory issues and complications, especially for those with preexisting conditions. Moldy shoes can also cause fungal nail infections. It’s important to keep your shoes clean and dry to prevent mold growth. Source

Does sunlight kill mold?

Sunlight can effectively kill mold. UV radiation and heat from the sun help eliminate mold and dry out surfaces. Be cautious, though—overexposure to direct sunlight can damage materials like leather. A short period in the sun should be sufficient to kill mold without harming your shoes. Source

Does vinegar effectively kill mold?

Yes, vinegar is an effective mold killer. Vinegar’s high acidity (pH of 2.5) makes it great for preventing and eliminating mold growth. Simply mix vinegar with water and apply it to the affected areas. This method is particularly useful for canvas and leather shoes. Source

Next, we’ll explore some DIY mold removal techniques to keep your shoes in pristine condition.


Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to keeping your shoes mold-free. By incorporating simple habits into your routine, you can prevent mold from taking hold and prolong the life of your footwear.

Regular Cleaning: Make it a habit to clean your shoes after each use. A quick brush or wipe can remove moisture and dirt that mold loves to feed on.

Importance of Dry Shoes: Always ensure your shoes are completely dry before storing them. Even a small amount of moisture can lead to mold growth. Use silica gel packets or crumpled newspaper to absorb excess moisture, and store your shoes in a well-ventilated area.

Contact NuShoe Inspect & Correct: If you find yourself dealing with persistent mold problems despite your best efforts, it might be time to seek professional help. NuShoe Inspect & Correct offers comprehensive mold removal services to ensure your shoes are thoroughly cleaned and restored to their original condition.

By following these tips, you can say goodbye to moldy shoes and hello to fresh, clean footwear. Regular maintenance, proper drying, and professional assistance when needed will keep your shoes in top shape for years to come.