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Thread: CEVE - Please Help with Mold / Mildew on Briefcase

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default CEVE - Please Help with Mold / Mildew on Briefcase

    Good day!!

    I've searched and read on some previous posts on the topic but I haven't come across an exact case. Apologies if this has been tackled, kindly lead me to it if so.

    The rainy season is on and while the briefcase is stored inside a cloth bag kept in a cabinet with louvered doors in an a/c room, I discovered the briefcase covered with molds/mildew a few days ago. Unsure about what kind of full grain (?) leather it is I had done the following:

    - aired the briefcase in the shade
    - exposed it in the morning sun for 1 hour
    - wiped it down with a damp cloth inside and out, then air-dried
    - placed a dryer sheet inside to help with smell
    - washed the cloth bag

    The white stuff on the outside had been removed and it physically looks fine. Some small black spots remain though and the strong moldy smell persists in and around the briefcase. Inside materials are a combination of leather, suede, and fabric. I can smell it standing 3 feet away.

    I'm quite familiar with care and maintenance of smooth leather, but this type is new to me. Please advise how I can:
    - further clean the case to ensure unseen mold spores are removed
    - condition this kind of leather (without discoloring it) to extend its useful life
    - remove the smell and bring out the true scent of leather.

    Appreciate hearing your experience and what advise you can offer. Many thanks!

    The briefcase is of this type...

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Greater Vancouver, Canada.


    >>> The briefcase is of this type...

    This is a vegetable-tanned leather that is infused with fashion pull-up effect oil (Leather Doctor Oil Effect-2.8) that gives a distress look also known as “Crazy Horse”. Vegetable tanned leathers are pH sensitive and fatliquor thirsty, care products used should be within the pH range (3 to 5) of the leather as well otherwise it denatures the leather and reverts to rawhide. Symptoms such as discoloration, tackiness, stiffness is associated with alkaline overexposure.

    >>> Further clean the case to ensure unseen mold spores are removed

    Recommend working the surface with leather Eraser-4.

    >>> Some small black spots remain though

    These small black spots are sinking pits (physical damages). Camouflaging these spots is to apply Leather Doctor Oil Effect-2.8 to darken the effect.

    >>> Moldy smell persists in and around the briefcase. Inside materials are a combination of leather, suede, and fabric. I can smell it standing 3 feet away.

    Problem is solved with Leather Doctor d’Mold-3.6 and should retard growth for the next 8 months.

    >>> Condition this kind of leather (without discoloring it) to extend its useful life.

    There are two levels of conditioning, below surface pertaining to the leather structure is by Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Oil Effect-2.8 and above surface is by Protector-B+.

    >>> Remove the smell and bring out the true scent of leather.

    Removing smell is by Oil Effect-2.8, bring out the true scent of leather is by leather scent infused fatliquor – Fatliquor LS-5.5 for below surface and leather scent infused surface protector using Protector-B+

    Roger Koh
    Leather Care Consultant
    [email protected]

    For your further readings:

    Mold is the colloquial term applied to a large diverse number of fungal species where their growth result in a moldy appearance on objects, including leather. A layer of fungal growth discolors such objects. Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multi-cellular filaments called hyphae. The hyphae are generally transparent, so the mycelium appears like very fine, fluffy white threads over the surface. The dusty texture of many molds is caused by profuse numbers of asexual spores formed by differentiation at the ends of hyphae. The mode of formation and shape of these spores are traditionally used to classify the mold fungi. Many of these spores are colored, making the fungus much more obvious to the human eye at this stage in its life cycle. Molds cause biodegradation of natural materials like leather. It can then be unwanted as mold-damaged property. Mold requires moisture for growth. Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live. Typically, molds secrete enzymes that degrade complex substances into simpler substances, which can be absorbed by the hyphae. Molds reproduce through producing very large numbers of small spores. Mold spores may remain airborne indefinitely or cling to leather and fur. It can survive under extremes of temperature and pressure.

    Vegetable-Tanned leathers:
    Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using tannin and other ingredients found in vegetable matter, such as tree bark prepared in bark mills, and other similar sources. It is supple and brown in color, with the exact shade depending on the mix of chemicals and the color of the skin. It is the only form of leather suitable for use in leather carving or stamping. Vegetable-tanned leather is not stable in water; it tends to discolor, so if left to soak and then dry it will shrink and become less supple, and harder. In hot water, it will shrink drastically and partly gelatinize, becoming rigid and eventually brittle.

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    Leather Doctor Kit V2 – Vachetta Leather Care Kit
    Leather Doctor® Kit V2, unfinished leather care is designed for preventive care of vachetta, saddlery and veg-tan leathers. These naked leathers are tanned using vegetables and plants derived tanning agents and are most sensitive to pH fluctuation. Rain and tap water often leave a lightening spot with an outer ring. The pH 7 alone of water will often cause a rippling effect on the tannin that causes it to moves. Preventive care starts with a surface tension check with Hydrator-3.3 follows by fat and oil replenishing with Fatliquor-5.0. Saturating the leather structure with fat and oil prior to use against the ingress of liquid stains is a preventive measure. When leather is full of fat and oil, it makes the leather less absorbent. Fat and oil conditioning or rejuvenating with Fatliquor-5.0 mellows and enrich the appearance of the leather while most oil conditioners will simply darkens and dulls the appearance poorly. Protector-D enhances a rub resistant draggy-feel against friction rubs and is used routinely to conceal and fill scuffmarks. Body contact areas should be clean periodically with Clean-3.8 follows with Rinse-3.0, thereafter applied with non-stick protection and commence for another cycle of use. Neglected and prolong body grease and sweat contacts will require a corrective cleaning depending on Degreaser-2.2 follows with Acidifier-2.0 in most cases. Preventive cleaning and protection to shield against sticky soiling, with the abilities to heal and conceal lightening scuff and abrasion marks keeps the leather appearance level high at all times rather than relying on corrective or salvage cleaning where the cleaning appearance deteriorates and diminishes with each cycle. Note that the mentioned products suffix numbers denotes its pH value in this holistic approach to removing vegetable, plant and water stains from vachetta, saddlery and veg-tan leathers.

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    Leather Doctor Oil Effect-2.8

    Leather Doctor® Oil Effect-2.8 is design for aniline and nubuck oil-pull-up leathers. This is a pH 2.8 emulsion blend for rejuvenating diminishing oil pull-up effect lost through usage, ageing or cleaning.

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    Leather Doctor d'Mold-3.6

    Leather Doctor® d'Mold-3.6 is a waterbased pH 3.6 leather-safe non-phenol fungicide develops to kill mold growth. It is for disinfecting and controlling musty odor from mold activities after decontamination cleaning. This universal fungicide is for all leather types including pigmented, aniline, vachetta, nubuck, suede, hair-on-hide and woolskin.

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    Leather Doctor Fatliquor LS-5.5

    Leather Doctor® Fatliquor LS-5.5 is the leather-scented version that imparts a classic leather scent to mask unpleasant odor with softness and strength. It is a pH 5.5 anionic charged emulsion fatliquor for rejuvenating leather of all types. It relaxes coarse breaks; creases and wrinkles enhance suppleness and prevent cracking. It softens the leather with stretchability, compressibility and flexibility, while enhancing its rip tensile strength greatly. It is for replenishing the original fat and oil that diminishes thru sun bleaching, ageing, heat and alkaline overexposure or cleaning. When applied the emulsified fat and oil encased water molecule breaks free when hydrogen bond attraction takes place between the fat and oil with the protein fiber, and wicks out leaving a breathing space behind for leather transpiration to function naturally. The fat plumps the leather with fullness from easily collapsing into creases and wrinkles during stress or flex, while the oil lubricates the fibers so that they slide over one another like millions of inter-connecting hinges with smoothness. Thus helps to keep leather at its optimum physical performance and prevent premature ageing. It is for all leather types including pigmented, aniline, vachetta, nubuck, suede, hair-on-hide and woolskin.

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    Leather Doctor Protector-B+
    Leather Doctor® Protector-B+, a buttery-feel with a classic leather scent is design for pigmented, aniline and nubuck oil pull-up leather types. This is a non-film forming, non-stick, rub-resistant protector that enhances a soft natural tactile feel for imparting a breathable barrier essentially to shield the detrimental effects of sticky soiling and preventing the too common pesky ballpoint from ever ready rolling out its nasty ink. Moreover, for helping to release those tenacious blue jeans dye-transfer stains obviously on light colored leathers easily. Its natural buttery-feel protection increases the leather resistance to wet and dry rubs, thus reduce stretch; scuff and abrasion with reduce friction squeaks.

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    Leather Eraser-4
    Leather Eraser-4 is a 2½ x 2¼ x ¾ inch foam rubber sponge block with a crepe side for effective dry/wet soil removal.
    Last edited by Roger Koh; 07-31-2014 at 06:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    Thank you very much, Roger!

    The description of the leather and how to deal with the particular issues are very helpful. I realize it will be a combination of steps and the solutions are quite centric to a certain line of products. I will research on where to procure the products here in the Philippines, since they could be quite prohibitive to ship. Failing in that, perhaps I would have to find out alternatives, unless you or other members have DIY options to recommend.


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