Thursday, September 3, 2009

Removing Mold and Mildew from Leather Tack -- Permanently

You've forgotten to clean your your $3000.00 saddle and left it in the tack room way too long.  Now it's covered with a lovely layer of slimy green fuzz!  What do you do? Leather experts often lament the inability to permanently remove mold and mildew from tack and other leather goods, once the little green buggers get a good toe hold.  The mold spores lodge deep down in the pores of the hide, making it extremely difficult to remove.

However, after a flood in my home, I discovered the key to eradicating the green nasties pretty permanently -- the Ozone Generator.  Ozone generators artificially create ozone and are used by home restoration companies that deal with water and fire damage after a home disaster.  And while great care should be exercised when using ozone at home, not only will ozone remove the stench of smoke, but it will also kill toxic mold and mildew spores, like magic. It seeps deep into the pores of the leather, killing it.

Ozone generators may be purchased in a variety of sizes and price ranges.  I tend to be mold phobic and wanted to own so I ordered my generator online from a specialty company.  But unless you live in a flood zone or an area prone to hurricanes, you may want to rent a unit from your local tool rental company. You might also want to forgo the D.I.Y. aspect altogether and contact a disaster restoration company and let them gas the green goo for you. 

But if D.I.Y. is your thing, besides the generator, the only other tool you'll need is a seal-able container like a garbage can and lid  large enough to hold your leather goods and the generator.

Ozone displaces oxygen so, if you want to be able to breathe, it's best to complete this procedure out of doors or in an extremely well-ventilated area.  You'll need to open the doors and windows and use box fan to clear the ozone from the room once the process is complete. Ozone sinks to the lowest level so place the moldy object on the bottom of the garbage can or plastic storage tote, and prop the generator on top with the electrical cord running outside. Plug in the cord, set the generator timer to run for about eight hours, seal the lid and let the generator do its work.  When the timer shuts off the generator, leave the container sealed for another couple of hours. Then open the lid, thoroughly ventilate the area, clean and condition your newly fresh leather with Leather Therapy® (which also has it's own mold inhibitor ingredient) and you're good to go. No more green fuzz, no more nasty mildew smell, just nice clean leather!

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