Leather mold and mildew growth is common if safeguards are not in place during leather storage, packaging and shipping This is because leather is highly hygroscopic and tends to absorb moisture from the surrounding air. The excess moisture absorbed by the leather during storage, packaging and shipping leads to
While there are mechanical means for removing mold from leather, the process itself is time consuming. In certain instances such as leather being shipped, delay can prove costly as the damage done is beyond repair. The best alternative is maintaining conditions that forestall mold and mildew growth during leather storage and packaging. Leather that is stored and packed dry, stays dry.
Finished leather products regain moisture while in storage, prior to packaging. This results in the high rate of product spoilage due to mould/ fungus/ mildew growth fueled by moisture absorbed by the leather. In order to prevent this spoilage, it is necessary to store the leather in humidity controlled warehouses where conditions are maintained at less than 40% RH at ambient temperature. This prevents leather from regaining moisture and thus, growth of mould/ fungus/ mildew is reduced.
The only way to prevent fungus growth is to ensure that the leather does not regain any moisture during packaging. The best, most simple and economical method to ensure that leather does not absorb moisture from the surrounding air while being packed, is to control the humidity at less than 40% RH in the packing area.
While shipping there are several agents that can cause irreparable harm to the leather consignments; chiefly land and sea breezes, hot and cold cycles: warm days and cold nights, unhygienic environments and modern packaging which asphyxiates finished leather goods. All these lead to mold and mildew growth on the surface of leather goods.
Conditions during shipment vary between hot and cold. During day time the temperature is high which evaporates the moisture from the leather goods, and the surrounding area including moisture trapped in the container. As temperature comes down at night, this moisture condenses over the goods, providing ideal condition for fungal growth.
Controlling relative humidity at less than 40% in the storage and packaging area, mitigates microorganism growth later on.
Once mold and bacteria have established on the product then cleaning will only remove the visual effect. Structural defects however aren’t easily rectified. A dry and well ventilated environment prevents the incidence of leather mildew and mold growth occurring in the first place. Installing dehumidifiers in the leather storage and packaging areas and ensuring dehumidified conditions prior to shipping will ensure fewer rejections.
A word of caution any damage sustained by leather during storage is almost always irreversible. The only option is extra vigilance so as to prevent any damage from happening in the first place.
Many prestigious leather Manufacturers have installed Bry-Air Dehumidifiers in their Leather Packaging and storage areas. Removing mold from leather thus ceases to be major a concern for leather manufacturers.