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Mold removal in leather


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By Ella on 10/2/2010


I have my leather couches in storage. There was a leak in there, and now they have mold on them. Can they be saved? They've had mold since April of 2009. We are moving into an apt. soon and I do not know if this is a health hazard if we cleaned them. Can they be cleaned and with what? Will the mold grow back?


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By Ella on 10/4/2010


On hard surfaces, you need to use a scrubber with some bleach cleaner. The bleach sterilizes the environment wherever you apply it. Inspect your closet or other enclosed area to ensure there is not a buildup on walls or the ceiling.


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By Matt in Mooresville, NC on 10/4/2010


I have some mold that has accumulated on the floor joists in my crawl space during construction. As a result, we're converting this area to a sealed, conditioned space, and this product is what has been recommended to me by several professionals to remove the mold. They say that bleach doesn't actually kill the spores, and they will start growing again if the conditions allow it. concrobium.com

I haven't used it yet, so I can't tell you how well it actually works.

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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 10/4/2010


This is probably not the advice that you were looking for, but on upholstery any kind of surface cleaning would be insufficient. The mold spores are likely below the leather covering and in the cushioning foam of the furniture. There is some chance that a professional remediation company may be able to fumigate the mold to kill hidden mold permanently. I would have some doubt regarding the likelihood of success for that procedure.

If these couches were mine, I would buy two sets of Tyvek coveralls, rubber gloves and masks, and transport them straight to the nearest dumpster or landfill.

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By Terry in Phoenix / Oracle, AZ on 10/4/2010


I've seen a method of removing mold with minimal damage using CO2 dry ice as a sort of sand blasting medium, but I don't know of any companies in the Phoenix area that do this. You might want to check into it as a method to save your furniture.
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By David in Ocoee, FL on 10/17/2010


Ella,

That couch looks pretty bad. I am glad that I saw this picture after eating lunch and not before. Rather than give you my opinion on the subject, let's look at the science behind mold.

Molds are small organisms found almost everywhere, inside and outside, including on plants, foods and dry leaves. They can be nearly any color – white, orange, green or black. Molds are beneficial to the environment and are needed to break down dead material. Very tiny and lightweight, mold spores travel easily through the air.

Most building surfaces can provide adequate nutrients to support the growth of mold. When mold spores land on material that is damp – for example, walls, floors, appliances (such as humidifiers or air conditioners), carpet or furniture – they can begin to multiply. When molds are present in large numbers, they may cause allergic symptoms similar to those caused by plant pollen.

What does mold need to grow? A food source such as leaves, paper, wood or dirt, a source of moisture and a place to grow. In the case of your storage space, you stated that there was a leak. There is your source of moisture. In fact, if nothing has been done to dehumidify the storage space, the mold will continue to grow on anything that it can as long as the humidity remains at or above 70%. That is the threshold for mold.

Now on to your question. Exposure to any mold could cause health effects (e.g., allergic symptoms such as watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, itching, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headache and fatigue) under the right conditions. Similarly, the same amount of mold may cause health effects in one person, but not in another, because some people are more sensitive to molds than others. So it would be impossible for anyone on this forum to be able to intelligently answer your question concerning your health exposure. Having said that, I do not know of anyone who would disagree with the idea of erring on the side of caution.

On the question of what to do with the furniture. Carpets, paper and other absorbent materials can grow mold after getting soaked. In general, it is best to throw out those items. Other items made of glass or metal should be cleaned and disinfected.

What to do with everything else? Please read this information: health.ri.gov/environment/risk/mold. That is where I got all the information for this post.


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By Ella on 11/25/2010


Thanks to everyone.

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