What Causes Mold On Shoes? 6+ Ways To Prevent Mold on Shoes

Shoes can be made of many different materials, including leather and suede. We rarely wash shoes for the most of these. Conversely, moisture, sweat, and spills can still seep into the pores of shoes, which can lead to the beginning of mold growth on the surface.

Is mold on shoes dangerous? What causes mold on shoes? In addition to being unsightly, moldy shoes can carry bacteria and fungi that can infect your feet as you wear them. Even if you keep the shoes in a closet, moldy shoes can still transfer mold spores to other parts of your house. Mold on shoes must be eliminated and kept from growing again.

What causes mold on shoes? 4 Annoying Reasons

1. Wet shoe zones

On a rainy night, if you got your shoes seriously wet, you might expect an unpleasant odor as mold slowly establishes colonies on your footwear. If your shoes have wet insoles or other damp locations, mold can grow there.

When the feet perspire, the insoles of the shoes may also be wet. In order to allow your exercise shoes to naturally dry and prevent mold contamination, place them in an area with sufficient airflow after wearing them.
The same holds true for the shoe’s exterior, which may have come into contact with dust, grime, and other harmful impurities. Therefore, wherever you travel, make sure to completely clean and dry your shoes before reusing them.

2. Soiled wardrobes

It’s also conceivable that the closet where you keep your shoes has already developed mold. Make sure to frequently inspect it and remove any apparent mold to avoid having it infest your shoes.

What causes mold on shoes

Keep the closet tidy by not keeping any soiled clothing or shoes inside to prevent mold growth from beginning in the first place. Remind yourself to throw away all plastics, particularly the dry cleaning bags, as they could contain filth.

You can think about leaving the lights on inside the cabinet to maintain a dry climate. By doing this, the light bulb’s warmth will keep the moisture at bay.

Keep the closet as close as you can to the humidity level to prevent wet air from entering and ultimately polluting the interior.

3. Contained moisture

It is also recommended that you avoid putting your shoes in plastic bags. Contrary to what many people think, putting your shoes in these containers won’t keep them safe.
The substance might retain moisture, which would be ideal for the growth of mold.

Because a dehumidifier is a small choice, you could also take it into account. Additionally, since you can put it in a corner simply as a homeowner, it can be practical to utilize.

The surplus moisture will be drawn out, as its name implies, preventing wet regions.

Switching from closet doors to louvered doors can help with ventilation if humidity is not a problem in your home. The latter will allow fresh air to enter, maintaining a climate within the closet that is more mold-resistant.

4. Wooden bookcases

Additionally, there is a good likelihood that the wooden shelf where you store your shoes contributed to the mold on them. Replace the wood with wire to avoid repeating the worst-case situation.

Wire is a substance that resists mold growth. It will enable proper air circulation and stop mold spores from floating in the atmosphere.

How to Clean Mold Out of Shoes

You most certainly have mold and mildew growing within your shoes if you notice a musty odor coming from them. Spraying vinegar on shoes is a good way to get rid of mold on them. After allowing the vinegar to kill mold spores for at least 30 minutes, wash or air-dry the shoe as usual.

For shoes made of nubuck or suede, mold removal is different. Given enough time to become wet, suede may become destroyed as it is not waterproof. Instead of using vinegar, lightly mist rubbing alcohol over the shoes before wiping with a dry cloth. On contact, alcohol should eradicate mold.
How to Stop Shoes From Molding Inside the Closet
Once mold has established a foothold on your shoes, the material will quickly begin to deteriorate even after the mold has been eliminated. Your shoes will probably be fine if there are only a few minor patches of mold, but heavily covered shoes may not fare as well. It’s crucial to stop mold spore colonies from developing in your shoes in the first place!

Method #1: Apply Silica Gel Packs

Silica gel packs are beneficial for two reasons: they deodorize musty and other unpleasant aromas from shoes and prevent mold on shoes by absorbing excess moisture surrounding them. To keep your shoes dry while in storage, think about buying silica gel packets in bulk and putting a few packets in and around them.

Method #2: Keep dry tea bags in storage

Similar to silica gel packets, dry tea bags function by absorbing excess moisture from the air around them. Put a few dry tea bags into each pair of shoes you plan to store them with. However, you might need to replace the tea bags frequently because the soggy leaves can grow mold and attract bugs.

Method 3: Dry shoes completely before storing

After wearing or cleaning your shoes, let them air dry in a room with good ventilation or in the sun. As you keep the shoes in your closet, this will stop mold from growing on them. The drying process can be accelerated by using a hair drier set to low heat, but in hot weather, the shoes will frequently dry fast on their own without the need for this.

Method #4: Place Dry Shoes in Canvas or Mesh Bags

Use canvas or mesh bags rather than plastic bags to store your shoes. Mold can form on your shoes because plastic bags tend to hold moisture inside. Choose bags made of mesh, cloth, or cotton to provide greater airflow and prevent moisture from gathering around your shoes.

When you first purchased your shoes, you may have already received fabric bags, which are designed to keep shoes safe when not in use. To store your shoes and keep them dry, you can also use mesh laundry bags, cotton fabric bags, clean cloth bags, or even brown paper bags.

Method #5 : Waterproof Shoes

Waterproofing nubuck and suede shoes while they’re clean and dry is a fantastic strategy to keep them clean. Spray plenty of waterproofing spray on your shoes, then let them air dry. On leather shoes, use a leather conditioner. You should be able to stop the growth of mold on your shoes. You may quickly remove any liquid that has spilled on your shoes with a clean cloth if it is water or another liquid.

Waterproof Shoes

Method #6: Regularly clean your shoes

Finally, make sure to periodically clean your shoes. You must frequently clean your shoes, even if you don’t wash them, to avoid shoe mold. To remove surface dust from shoes, dry-clean them with baking soda. You may also keep a spray bottle of diluted vinegar on hand to remove stains.

What to do if your leather shoes have mold?

More than any other material, leather shoes are more prone to mold formation. They emit a strong odor when they have mold on them, which I don’t believe you want to experience.

Insufficient storage is what results in mold on a leather shoe. Storage conditions for leather shoes should include continual ventilation and a humidity range of 60 to 70 percent.

Aspergillus mold, on the other hand, enjoys growing on leather surfaces. This particular mold can be dangerous to people since it can make them sick.

Their removal is challenging. Cleaning the surface won’t completely get rid of the mold. The good news is that you may entirely remove it by cleaning with an anti-mold fungicide solution.
To achieve complete eradication, adhere to the steps below:

  • Wear gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in the spores.
  • Take off your shoes outside, where it will work better than inside.
  • As firmly as you can, scrape the surface with a stiff nylon brush.
  • Apply a damp soft cloth to the surface of the shoe and wipe it with a solution of vinegar and water. About 80% of the mold is destroyed by vinegar.
  • Make use of isopropyl alcohol on the surface if the growth doesn’t go away. But before using it, test it on a small area of the shoe to make sure it is secure.
  • To keep the shoe dry, add a leather conditioner after the alcohol.


Mold — can vinegar kill it?

It does, indeed. 80 percent of the mold on the surface of your shoe is eliminated by vinegar.

Is mold on shoes dangerous?

Yes, if the mold is a hazardous variety, shoe mold may be unsafe. Aspergillus mold, which likes to grow on leather products, can be extremely dangerous. High pathogenicity describes it. This is why you need to get rid of the mold on your shoe as soon as you can.

Is mold on shoes dangerous


You are aware of what contributes to shoe mold growth and how to stop it. The most crucial piece of advice is to keep your shoe out of damp areas.

Prior to storing your shoes in a closet, always dry them. Allow enough airflow in your closet to prevent the growth of mold.

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