Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.
Check this epic thread: Treating Musty Moldy Leather. What works for you?
When I first had this problem last year I read that thread and was discouraged which led to the percarbonate experiment, which, in hindsight, was a terrible idea. Hydrogen peroxide "eats", "burns" and/or "dissolves" organic materials, why wouldn't it destroy my shoes... I should have known better.
Man of Lint did seem to cover his bases with "normally" accessible household cleaning products for an entirely different purpose, attacking a smell, which is a far more difficult task. I was wondering if he had purchased a plastic last, lasted the shoe, removed the sole, cork and shank, and then bleached if he would have been happier with the results.
I also have a habit of wondering if I can do something myself "cheaper", hence, I started mixing my own Oxyclean with bulk purchased chemicals which eventually led me to doing my laundry differently.
I am still eying that sample bottle of 2-Phenylphenol, I feel that an aqueous solution has the best chance of saturating the leather of the shoe, but haven't looked up the MSDS to find out how to properly handle it yet. It can wait. Mid-terms begin Monday, delayed from an already delayed schedule. More time to work on my proofs.
As for the "air-tightedness", you can't fumigate an open or drafty space. You can get a large enough box that you can exhaust all the oxygen in the box and potentially put out the candle. That would not necessarily be a bad thing, but means I'd have to watch my accelerant/sulphur mixture so that the sulphur burns but the accelerant doesn't drink all the air.
Also, and worth considering, is that SO2 is a bleach. It makes Panama hats white, not yellow. I may have to re-dye the shoes if the dye reacts. Don't have a problem with that, actually, I'm a bit excited by the prospect because I've found many a vintage shoe in great condition in bland colors. I can only imagine how many SF members will either poison themselves or burn down their houses if this safely (for the shoe) bleaches leather.
The big, million dollar question is, "is S02 Heavier or lighter than air?" because that will determine the placement of the shoes relative to the candle. I had been thinking of suspending the shoes above the candle using paracord in a slightly larger than mini-fridge sized box. But if it is heavier, I should change the orientation.
I suppose you've heard of Rube Goldberg?
Just a though, perhaps incorrect, on the use of bleach: I do recall reading a while ago that bleach does not work on porous surfaces, it will attach to the "surface" of the material and not penetrate with the fluid INTO the leather.
While that doesn't really matter with clothes, it may matter when it comes to leather, wood and other porous surfaces.
So, the goal is threefold
1) to find a chemical which combats mold
2) which has the ability saturate leather and other porous surfaces
3) not damage the leather or (ideally) the finish
There is potentially a fourth: to not be dangerous enough to kill a foolish person who hasn't had HAZMAT training or a background in the physical sciences, but this depends on your opinion of Darwinism...
Well, I should have the sulphur by the middle of next week. It was trash-day today so I can't go pick'n for a box. Results potentially next Saturday.
I would love to hear feedback from any others on mold-fighting agents which might qualify - I hit the thrift shops regularly to flip for health-insurance - finding cheap, trashed donor shoes and boots to experiment with is hardly difficult. Any day I need to don my respirator and snap the nitrile gloves is a good day.
I think you should consider adding a bellows to the assembly in order to facilitate good burning. Perhaps a small circulating fan, and a monkey.
Not sure what the monkey will do yet - but somehow it just seems like a swell idea at the moment.
keep it simple...
I'll give you the solution: get the cardboard box ready but cut the lid out; lit the sulphur in the tin can (a little lighter fluid sprinkled on it will help...), get the shoes ready.
When the sulphur in the can is burning at full speed, throw the box over it; the box won't catch fire but will starve the burning sulphur of oxygen. Quickly lift the box and throw the shoes in; release the box.
Seriously, there will be enough SO2 to kill mold in 10 pairs of shoes.
Never tried the method on shoes, but cleaned old oak barrels of mold this way and I see no reason why it won't work on shoes.
I would use vinegar. Use a spray bottle to soak the inside of the shoe. let sit for a day, then air out the shoes a best as possible for a day, then rub leather conditioner around the inside of the shoe.
PS - can somebody pls make a flowchart of the process
Go read that other thread for why this didn't work
I still think the UV is a cheaper and much much much less dangerous experiment to try both for the shoes and for you (and for your home which definitely won't be burned down by a blacklight)
Thanks for referring me back to the link NODB supplied. Very good read on the subject.
I have used vinegar on an old leather dog leash to remove mold, and it seemed to work fine. However, DWFII knows leather very well, and if he says it doesn't work, then I believe him. It may have been that simply cleaning the mold off in general removed enough spores to solve the problem, or I didn't keep the leash long enough to notice the mold return. In either case I will write off vinegar as a solution.
Has anyone tried the freezer approach?
It wouldn't work as the spores would simply remain dormant until the temperature increases & then mold will return.
Chemical solutions are the most effective route, I've always used a weak solution of chlorine bleach.
A friend of mine had this issue with used shoes. Tons of mold inside. He used alcohol on the inside, then onbeneufs leather oil. That stuff has propolis, which is a natural antibacterial.
A while back, I was playing around with leather stuffings for some oak-tanned horsehide. Was an interesting and expensive series of experiments but one of my choosen additives was tea tree oil. Undiluted or diluted the stuff is not exactly safe for men who don't like growing breasts (this may be a desirable effect in a portion of the population) and is also a very powerwful anti-fungal which is why I included it. I've considered wiping the insole with it as a preventative measure but don't feel it will saturate the leather well enough to be effective against the full-blown problem I have.
I'm hoping after a week it will "lightly condition" the leather and not be absorbed by my feet. This seems like a second experiment.
Operation Tetbury - Result
As swell as they look, my inner shoe care enthusiast questions the lack of conditioning of the suede.
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