How to Remove Fungus from Leather Shoes: If you’ve noticed your leather shoes have taken on an unwelcome green or white companion, you’re likely dealing with mold. Here’s a quick guide to getting your prized footwear back in shape:

  • Brush off the surface mold with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Clean with a mixture of water and white vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
  • Dry thoroughly, away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • Condition the leather to restore its luster.
  • Store properly, using silica gel packs to control moisture.

Dealing with mold on leather shoes isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s crucial for the longevity and health of your footwear. Mold thrives in damp, dark, and poorly ventilated environments. When leather shoes are exposed to these conditions, they become prime real estate for mold and mildew growth. This not only compromises the shoe’s structure and appearance but can also lead to unpleasant odors.

Whether you’re a shoe manufacturer or retailer, understanding the causes and solutions for fungal growth on leather shoes is vital. Proper care, cleaning, and storage can not only rescue affected shoes but also prevent future outbreaks. This not only helps maintain the quality and appeal of your inventory but also protects your brand’s reputation for offering durable, high-quality footwear.

Steps to remove mold from leather shoes: 1. Brush off surface mold. 2. Use a vinegar or alcohol solution. 3. Dry thoroughly and out of direct sunlight. 4. Condition the leather. 5. Store with moisture control measures like silica gel packets. - remove fungus from leather shoes infographic pillar-4-steps

Identifying Fungus on Leather Shoes

When it comes to keeping your leather shoes in top shape, knowing how to spot fungus early is key. Fungus on leather shoes isn’t just unsightly; it can cause lasting damage. Let’s break down how you can identify fungus on your leather shoes through visual signs, smell, and recognizing the damage it causes.

Visual Signs

Fungus often appears as discolored patches on leather. These can range from white and green to black or brown spots. They might look like small, circular shapes or larger patches that seem to spread across the shoe’s surface. If you spot anything that looks out of the ordinary, it’s likely time for a closer inspection.


Your nose can be a powerful tool in identifying fungus. Mold and mildew have a distinct musty smell. If your leather shoes start to emit an odor that’s anything but fresh, consider it a red flag. This smell is a clear indicator that fungus has started to grow, and it’s time to take action.


Fungus doesn’t just stay on the surface; it penetrates leather, causing significant damage. Look for signs where the leather appears weakened or where its color has faded or darkened in an unusual way. Material breakdown, such as flaking or crumbling, is a serious sign of fungal damage. These changes not only affect the appearance of your shoes but can also compromise their structure and integrity.

Spotting these signs early can save your leather shoes from irreversible damage. In the next section, we’ll dive into proven methods to remove fungus from leather shoes, helping you restore your footwear to its former glory. Early detection and prompt action are crucial in preventing the spread and minimizing the impact of fungus on your cherished leather shoes.

Proven Methods to Remove Fungus

Fungus on leather shoes not only looks bad but can also damage your precious footwear. Luckily, there are some tried and tested methods to get rid of it. Let’s dive in.

Vinegar Solution

What You Need: White vinegar, water, and a clean cloth.

How It Works: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Gently spray the solution onto the affected areas of your leather shoes. Use the cloth to wipe away the fungus. Vinegar is a mild acid that kills most types of mold and fungus without damaging the leather.

Alcohol Treatment

What You Need: Isopropyl alcohol, water, and a sponge.

How It Works: Create a mixture of one part water and one part isopropyl alcohol. Dip the sponge into the solution and gently apply it to the moldy areas. Alcohol is excellent at disinfecting and will kill the fungus on contact, making it easy to wipe away.

Baking Soda

What You Need: Baking soda.

How It Works: Sprinkle baking soda directly on the moldy spots and leave it overnight. The next day, brush off the baking soda with a soft brush. Baking soda absorbs moisture and odors, making it a great option for removing fungus and the musty smell it leaves behind.

Commercial Cleaners

What You Need: Leather cleaners or mold removers designed for leather, safety precautions as recommended on the product.

How It Works: Follow the instructions on the product label carefully. These cleaners are specifically formulated to remove mold and fungus from leather without causing damage. Always do a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Natural Sunlight

What You Need: Nothing but sunlight!

How It Works: After cleaning your shoes with any of the methods above, let them dry in a spot with indirect sunlight. Sunlight helps to dry out any remaining moisture, preventing future fungus growth. However, avoid direct sunlight as it can fade the color of your leather shoes.

By using these methods, you can effectively remove fungus from your leather shoes and keep them looking their best. Remember to always test a small area first to ensure the cleaning method won’t damage your shoes. With a little care and the right approach, your leather shoes can be saved from the damaging effects of fungus.

Preventing Future Fungus Growth

After you’ve tackled the challenge of removing fungus from your leather shoes, the next step is to ensure it doesn’t make an unwelcome return. Let’s focus on how to keep your shoes in top condition and fungus-free.

Storage Tips

The way you store your leather shoes can make a big difference in preventing fungus growth. Here are a few simple yet effective tips:

  • Keep Them Dry: Before storing, make sure your shoes are completely dry. Moisture is a fungus’s best friend.
  • Breathable Space: Store your shoes in a well-ventilated area. A closed, stuffy space encourages moisture and fungus growth.
  • Avoid Direct Contact: Don’t let your shoes touch each other directly in storage. This minimizes the risk of any potential fungus spread.

Moisture Control

Controlling moisture is key to preventing fungus. Here’s how:

  • Use Silica Gel Packs: These little packets are great at absorbing moisture. Pop a couple into each shoe before storing them. Remember to replace these packets regularly to keep things dry.
  • Consider a Dehumidifier: If you live in a particularly humid area or store your shoes in a basement, using a dehumidifier can help keep the air dry and your shoes safe.

Silica Gel

Expanding on the use of silica gel packs, they’re not just for new purchases. You can buy them in bulk and use them not only in your shoes but also in your shoe storage area. They’re a simple, cost-effective way to absorb unwanted moisture.


For those in humid climates, a dehumidifier can be a game-changer. It reduces the overall moisture in the air, creating an environment where fungus struggles to survive. Place it in your storage area for an extra layer of protection.

By following these straightforward steps, you’re not just preventing fungus; you’re also extending the life and beauty of your leather shoes. It’s all about creating an environment where fungus can’t thrive. With proper storage, moisture control, and the strategic use of silica gel and dehumidifiers, you can keep your leather shoes looking great for years to come.

In the next section, we’ll tackle some frequently asked questions about removing fungus from leather shoes, including whether moldy leather shoes can be saved and what kills mold on leather. Stay tuned for more expert advice on keeping your footwear in pristine condition.

Frequently Asked Questions about Removing Fungus from Leather Shoes

After learning how to tackle and prevent fungus on your leather shoes, you might still have some questions. Let’s dive into some of the most common queries to clear up any confusion and help keep your shoes in top condition.

Can moldy leather shoes be saved?

Absolutely! Don’t throw out those moldy shoes just yet. With the right approach, many leather shoes can be brought back from the brink. Cleaning, sanitizing, and conditioning are your best friends here. It’s crucial to act quickly, though. The longer mold sits on your shoes, the harder it will be to remove, and the more damage it can cause.

Does vinegar kill mold on leather shoes?

Yes, it does. Vinegar is a powerful ally in the fight against mold. Mixing white vinegar with water (a 1:1 ratio is recommended) creates a solution that can kill mold spores without damaging the leather. It’s a simple, affordable, and effective method. Just remember to let your shoes dry completely after treating them.

What kills mold on leather?

Several things can kill mold on leather, but the most effective are:

  • Vinegar and Water Solution: As mentioned, this mix can effectively kill mold spores. The acidity in the vinegar is what does the trick.

  • Isopropyl Alcohol and Water: Mixing equal parts of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and water provides another powerful solution to tackle mold. It’s particularly useful for more stubborn mold or mildew.

  • Commercial Mold Removers: There are products specifically designed to remove mold from leather. If you go this route, ensure the cleaner is safe for use on leather by checking the label or consulting with a professional.

  • Natural Sunlight: Sometimes, good old sunshine can help kill mold and dry out any lingering moisture in your shoes. Just be careful not to leave them out too long, as too much sun can damage the leather.

After killing and removing the mold, conditioning your leather shoes is a must. This step helps restore the leather’s natural oils, keeping it soft, supple, and more resistant to future mold attacks.

By following the tips and techniques discussed, you can successfully remove fungus from your leather shoes and keep them looking their best. Regular care and proper storage are key to preventing mold growth and extending the life of your leather shoes.


Taking care of our leather shoes is not just about keeping them looking good; it’s about preserving their quality and longevity. Mold and fungus can be a real nuisance, but with the right approach, we can tackle this problem head-on and keep our shoes in top condition.

Maintenance is crucial. Regular cleaning and conditioning of your leather shoes cannot be overstated. It’s like giving your shoes a health check-up; it keeps them resilient against the everyday wear and tear, and against mold and fungus. Every once in a while, give your shoes a good clean and follow up with a quality leather conditioner. This helps in maintaining the leather’s flexibility and prevents it from becoming a breeding ground for mold.

Regular checks are your best defense against mold. Don’t wait for the problem to show itself; be proactive. When you switch your wardrobes with the changing seasons, take the opportunity to inspect your leather items closely. Look for any signs of mold or mildew, and deal with them immediately. Catching the problem early is half the battle won.

Lastly, we at NuShoe Inspect & Correct are here to help. Our expertise in shoe repair and mold removal means your cherished leather shoes are in good hands. Whether it’s a beloved pair of boots or your go-to dress shoes, we have the skills and knowledge to bring them back to life. Our services don’t just stop at mold removal; we’re here to ensure your shoes are well-maintained, comfortable, and ready for any occasion.

In summary, removing fungus from leather shoes, maintaining them regularly, and conducting frequent checks are essential steps in preserving the life of your shoes. With our help, you can keep your leather shoes looking and feeling great for years to come. The health of your shoes is in your hands, and we’re here to lend ours when you need it.