How to Clean Mold Off Leather Shoes

Careful cleaning removes mold from leather shoes.
Careful cleaning removes mold from leather shoes. (Image: shoes image by Christopher Hall from

Leather shoes mold if they are damp when they are put away, or if stored in a humid area. The moldy leather feels hard, and discoloration makes the shoes appear ruined, sometimes referred to as "green shoe syndrome." However, careful cleaning with denatured alcohol and water will save your shoes and leave them in almost new condition. The key is waiting a few minutes for the cleaner to soak into the leather surface so the mold spores will wipe away easily.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup denatured alcohol
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Spray bottle
  • 2 soft cloths
  • Wax shoe polish that matches the shoes' color
  • Natural bristle shoe brush

Pour the alcohol and water into the spray bottle, and tighten the spray nozzle. Gently shake the bottle to combine the alcohol and water.

Spray the alcohol and water mixture over the moldy leather surface, until the surface is visibly wet. Allow the mixture to soak in for 3 minutes, then wipe the cleaner and mold off of the shoes with a soft cloth, using a small, circular motion. If any mold spots remain, spray another coat of cleaner on the shoes and wipe dry after another 3 minutes.

Allow the shoes to dry completely. Dip a soft cloth into the wax shoe polish, and apply using a small, circular motion and firm pressure.

Buff the shoes, using the shoe brush and a wider, circular motion.

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