How to Get Mold Out of Shoes | Jeremy Jenum

We've all experienced the horror of taking out a box of shoes from storage only to be met by the overwhelming stench of mold. Don't give up hope quite yet if your first reaction is to discard them. It's possible that your shoes can be salvaged at this point.

Water is the root cause of all mold and mildew issues. The issue can be avoided by opting for watertight footwear, such as these Vessi shoes. There are other options, however, if you'd rather make do with the footwear you already own.

How to remove mold from shoes and bring them back to life

Why Do Sneakers Grow Mold?

Microscopically rough mould is a type of fungus that thrives in humid environments. It can colonize virtually any damp surface, from drywall to upholstery to footwear. A hot climate, high air humidity, lack of ventilation, and lack of maintenance are also contributing factors in the accumulation of this annoying fungus.

Mold thrives in humid environments, making shoes a prime target. The fungus loves the conditions here: dark, warm, and damp. One reason is that the outer surface of the shoes is typically exposed to the elements, while the insoles are particularly vulnerable to moisture from perspiration. So, shoes that aren't dried thoroughly become breeding grounds for mold.

Invading Mold Spores

If you spend time outdoors, you may unknowingly pick up mold spores and bring them inside. Mold spores, for instance, can accumulate on your shoes and clothing if you step on rotting wood. The spores will keep multiplying if there's any moisture in your shoes, and you'll end up with that gross, sticky film on your footwear.

Methods for Removing Mold from Shoes

The following methods are typically effective in removing mold from shoes, though their efficacy will vary depending on how much mold there is.

  • Vinegar, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, or tea tree oil are all examples of disinfectants.

  • Specifically designed to clean canvas shoes

  • A brush

For your own safety, you should arm yourself with the proper gear before beginning the process of removing mold from your shoes. Protect your lungs from mold spores by donning a mask. Some people may experience adverse health effects from them, including asthma, wheezing, and chronic coughing. Also, it's a good idea to protect your hands from the chemicals you'll be working with by donning some gloves.

Once you have everything you need, it's helpful to be familiar with various removal methods depending on the material of your footwear. We've provided some examples down below:

The Proper Way to Remove Mold from Leather Shoes

Leather Shoes | Jia Ye

From: unsplash com

Materials Required

  • Bristle-free brush

  • Detergent

  • Water

  • A solution of alcohol for rubbing

  • Container or bucket

  • Absorbent materials like sponges and washcloths


Step 1: Do it outside (or in a well-ventilated area) to reduce the likelihood of inhaling spores from the shoes and tools.

Second, brush off any obvious spores from the shoes with a soft bristled brush. If you don't have a brush, a dry, clean cloth will do. You can also use a smaller brush to reach the tight spaces inside the shoes if mold has started to grow there. Always take out the insoles and give them a good scrub when you can.

3. Fill the bucket with plain, cold water, and then add rubbing alcohol. If you add one cup of water, for instance, you'll also be adding one cup of liquor.

Four, dip a cloth into the solution, and then clean the shoe's exterior by wiping it with the soaked cloth. Depending on the size of the area, you may need to use a cotton swab to clean it.

5: Moisten a fresh cloth with plain water and wipe the leather down.

While the shoes are drying, prepare a solution of warm water and a mild detergent. Leather saddle soap, if you have any, is another option.

Step 7: Soak a clean cloth in the solution and use it to wipe the shoe down.

The eighth step is to use a cloth dampened with plain water to remove any remaining soap residue, then to let the shoes dry naturally once more.

When they're dry, use a leather conditioner to make them feel like new. 9. However, if you're unsure if you should skip any of the above steps, it's a good idea to consult the care instructions that came with your shoes.

As an added bonus, this YouTube video does a fantastic job of outlining the entire process.

Mold Removal from Suede and Nubuck Shoes

Suede Shoes | David Lezcano

Source of image: unsplash com

Suede is a soft, supple leather with a napped surface. The grain side of top-grain leather is buffed to create nubuck, which typically has a velvety texture.

The good news is that the same method works for mold removal on both materials. Follow these steps:

Prerequisites and Equipment

  • Alcohol for rubbing

  • Lubricating oil

  • Water

  • Sponges and washcloths


First, if the mold on the shoes is mild, you can try applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the affected areas.

Mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water, then apply the solution to the moldy areas of your shoes using a cloth or sponge.

Rub the petroleum jelly or alcohol into the shoes using gentle circular motions using a damp cloth or sponge.

Put the shoes in a cool, dry place out of the sun and heat to dry out.

Fifth, after they have dried completely, brush them gently with a suede or nubuck brush to help restore the soft texture.


Always preform a patch test on suede or nubuck shoes before fully applying an item. It's been documented that these shoes' colors shift after being cleaned with certain chemicals.

Preventing and Removing Mold from Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes can easily become discolored or unusable due to mould and mildew. Mold can grow on canvas shoes, but they can be easily cleaned.

You'll Need

  • Soft brush

  • Cleaning device for carpets and rugs

  • Isopropyl alcohol for rubdowns

  • Water

  • Bucket

  • Cleaning materials such as sponges or washcloths


1. Scrub your shoes with a soft brush to remove the surface mould.

Secondly, vacuum the remaining mould off the fabric to get rid of any moisture that may have been trapped. Make sure you get every crevice, even the soles of the shoes, when you vacuum.

Step 3: Fill a bucket with water and rubbing alcohol, 50/50.

Next, wet a cloth or sponge with the solution and use it to wipe down the remaining mold.

The fifth step is to let the shoes dry in the sun after you have eliminated all traces of fungus.

Curing Shoe Fungus: A Step-by-Step Guide

One of the leading causes of foot fungus and unpleasant odor is fungus in shoes. Learn how to keep it under control by doing these things:

  • If you wear the same shoes every day, it is especially important to change your socks frequently to prevent the buildup of moisture.

  • If your shoes have been infected with fungus, you may want to consider using a disinfectant spray.

  • Think about spraying the insoles with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. A spray bottle would be ideal for this.

  • Occasionally, it's a good idea to let your shoes dry in the sun. Mildew spores are easily destroyed by UV light. However, special care must be taken with some materials, such as leather, because they are susceptible to damage from sunlight.

Storage Precautions for Sneakers to Avoid Mold

Clean Mold | Marc A. Sporys

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Most closets provide the perfect environment for mold growth due to the high humidity and low light levels. However, you can keep your closet mould-free by following these guidelines.

When you get home from being outside in the rain, don't put your wet shoes away right away. Your laundry should not be hung in the closet while it is still wet for the same reason.

Microbial growth is facilitated by the presence of dirt and debris. Before storing anything in the closet, give it a thorough cleaning. Be sure to include closet cleaning on your monthly schedule as well. You can kill any existing spores and prevent new ones from growing by spraying a mixture of baking soda and vinegar on a regular basis.

Mold thrives in the damp conditions that are encouraged by the use of plastic.

Close the closet doors as much as possible if you have a humid climate at home. This seals off the opening from any infiltration of moist air. Long periods of time with the closet lights on is another option. The dryness in the area can be maintained by the bulb's heat.

  • Silica gel packs should be inserted.

Leave some silica gel packs in your closet if you don't have a dehumidifier to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. These aid in preventing moisture buildup and keeping things at a comfortable temperature inside. You should change the packs every month, or every other month.

Moldy Shoes: Frequently Asked Questions

Are shoes that have mold on them dangerous to wear?

Yes Moldy shoes not only smell bad, but the spores you inhale could cause serious health problems if you breathe them in. Those with preexisting conditions face greater dangers. Second, fungal nail infections can be brought on by wearing shoes that have mold. Keep your shoes clean and dry to prevent mold growth.

Does exposure to sunlight eliminate mold?

Mold can be killed in two ways by direct sunlight. It's important to note that ultraviolet light (UV) is very effective at killing mold. Secondly, heat is crucial in removing mildew and drying out surfaces. It's important to remember, though, that prolonged exposure to sunlight can deteriorate your footwear's material.

Does vinegar kill mold? 3

Yes There is a pH of 2 in vinegar. 5 Because of its high acidity, it can kill mold.

What does a musty odor indicate?

Musty odors are often indicators of the presence of fungal and mold growth. In order for the odor to reach your nose, mold growth must be quite advanced. Mold should be removed effectively by airing out the space, controlling the environment, and cleaning thoroughly.

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