attack of the mould! a.k.a. how to clean it off leather bags

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Earlier this week I mentioned that a good portion of our flat here in Singapore was attacked by mould. I blame it on (a) living so near the sea (we live somewhere near the south) and (b) stupidly locking up the flat and leaving all doors and windows closed for weeks during our Christmas holiday. Little did we know that the attack would come from within! *cue Psycho murder music*

What was more heartbreaking was that a lot of my leather bags had grown mould too. This was despite being stored individually in their cloth bags in (what appeared to be) a dry closet. I underestimated the humidity here in Singapore. I never had this problem before.

mould on poor Longchamp

mould on poor Longchamp

Phase One of the removal process is to wipe the mould off the bags.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1. Rubbing alcohol (I used isopropyl alcohol)

2. Microfibre cloth

3. Tap water

4. Dehumidifier sheets

5. A sunny room

HOW TO REMOVE THE MOULD:

1. While I have a healthy skepticism for eHow articles and the like, this article on how to remove mildew and mould from leather was actually pretty useful. I filled a small bucket with Green Cross isopropyl alcohol (I had one on hand from Manila) and tap water, in a 1:1 ratio.

2. I soaked a clean microfibre cloth (available at S$2 each in Daiso) in the solution and gently wiped the surface of all my bags. For hard-to-reach spots or tricky buckles I used an old toothbrush.

I’m happy to report that across a wide range of leather bags of different textures, colors, and types, the solution didn’t seem to have any nasty effects. (So far!) One blue Tory Burch bag did seem to have bit of its color wash off on the cloth, but the effect wasn’t too obvious. Test a small portion first before wiping down the whole bag.

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3. After wiping each bag, place in a sunny room and let dry.

4. In the meantime, I washed all the cloth bags where my leather bags were stored with a mix of detergent and color-fast bleach, just to make sure all traces of mould spores were gone.

5. For extra measure, I bought dehumidifier sheets (3 pieces for S$2), large black ones for the closet where I store my bags:

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…and smaller sheets (5 sheets for S$2) for the interiors of the leather bags and inside the cloth bags.

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Each sheet has about 6 silica gel packets. You can cut each sheet into smaller packets and scatter 1-2 pieces inside each bag.

DSC00517

We also bought a lot of Giant brand dehumidifiers (3 pieces for S$5) and scattered these in other parts of the flat.

My bags haven’t completely dried yet. Phase Two of the process, once it’s dry, is to wipe each bag with a leather cream and a microfibre cloth. I have a pot of Collonil leather gel and another from Russell & Bromley, bought in the UK. I’ll update this post for the final results.

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Whew! How about you? How do you prevent your leather goods from getting mould?

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The Author

I am 100% Filipina. I've lived in Manila, Jakarta, and London. Right now, I'm firmly planted in the tiny island of Singapore! I caught the travel bug early on. I also love reading, dark chocolate, spur-of-the-moment food trips, Fridays, dachshunds, and lazy weekends with my family or the Hubby.

3 Comments

    • Hi Su! Sorry for the delayed response–busy dealing with a new baby :)

      Yes, it worked for my bags. I will add though, that it seems like the best thing to do for leather bags is to waterproof them from the start. I noticed that my Mulberry Bayswater didn’t have mould at all. It was the only bag I waterproofed on purchase (I used Collonil Leather Proof Classic).

  1. San says

    Hi, Thanks for mentioning Collonil Leather Proof Classic, I know you got it in UK but have you seen this in Singapore or know where to order online? the UK site doesn’t ship to SG. Also how often do you moisturise with leather cream and spray Collonil? Thanks!

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