If you live in the south where humidity is high, you will run across mold on leather or some of your gear from time to time. This usually happens when you take a break from the horse world for a bit and keep your gear stored in a dark saddle house or in the tack compartment of your trailer when temperature and humidity are at their worst.
In my opinion, mold on leather is a good sign that your leather goods are healthy enough to support the life that is mold. By this I mean that you have done a great job of keeping your tack and saddles oiled up. Mold will not grow on saddles or leather that is dry rot and dead… nothing available for the mold spores to live on.
*SIDE NOTE: Letting your leather starve from a lack of oil is not a good mold prevention game plan.
Since seeing mold on leather after a period of storage is a good thing what’s the problem? Mold isn’t something you can just not worry about. After time, mold will stain the leather and deprive the leather of much needed oils and nutrients that are important to insure that your tack stays soft and comfortable not to mention safe.
The thing that I recommend for killing mold on leather is simply vinegar and sunlight. Mix a spray bottle with half vinegar (white vinegar is fine) and half water, then spray the infected piece with this solution and set out on a sunny day to dry. If your saddle is covered in mold it won’t hurt to spray the entire saddle down with this and set outside in the sun. You don’t have to soak the leather, a little will do. Once sprayed down, wipe the mold away with a cloth. The vinegar should kill the spores which can remain in the leather for years waiting for another chance to grow.
A dehumidifier in your saddle house will cut down on the mold for those saddles stored for longer periods without use. When it comes to your tack compartment on your trailer, if your done for an extended period of time take your gear out and store in your saddle house. The absolute best place to store all your tack and saddles is in your house where its climate controlled. Unfortunately, most women don’t take too kindly to tripping over bridles, breast collars and saddles when their walking through their home… but give it a shot anyway and let us know how that turns out.
Don’t freak out over a little mold on your leather… grab that bottle of magic mold killer you mixed up (and labeled so your not spraying your horses for flies with vinegar) and fight back!