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The Right Way To Clean Moldy Horse Tack
 By Winniefield Park   •   27th Sep 2014   •   6,139 views   •   1 comments
The Right Way To Clean Moldy Horse Tack

Weíve had very rainy weather lately. My saddle hasnít seen much use in the last few weeks. So when I did go to ride, I took the cover off to find it grey and dusty. Mold! Yuck! Right now, itís on a saddle rack in my living-room, waiting for a cleaning. My living-room smells distinctive too. Now that itís been in my air conditioned, dry home for a few days, itís time to get to work.

Some mold on your leather tack isnít a really big deal, although itís looks terrible. It really means your leather is still Ďaliveí. And itís my theory, that good quality leather goods tend to mold easier than the cheaper cardboardy stuff. If left to grow, mold will ruin the leather and stitching. So as soon as you can, youíll want to get it cleaned up. It will spread if the conditions are right, and no one wants to handle moldy reins or sit in a dirty saddle.

First, let your tack dry out. If you have allergies, or respiratory problems, you could use a mask while you clean. If the tack is badly molded, you might want to work outdoors, so you donít spread the mold spores in your house. Start by wiping your tack down with a damp, not wet, cloth. Wipe off the mold and dirt, and then wash the cloths youíve used with bleach. You want to kill off the mold spores so they donít float around in your house. Once youíve gotten rid of the mold, let your tack dry out again.

Iíve read advice that suggested using lemon juice, bleach, vinegar or rubbing alcohol to clean mold from leather. Even in diluted, Iíd be concerned about ruining the finish of my leather tack. All of these are very drying and lemon juice, although it is acidic, might just provide more food for mold to grow on. I know Iíve found moldy lemons in the back of my fridge. Mold spores root deeply in the leather fibre, and thereís no way to get rid of them without soaking the leather, which isnít good for it either.

Even if youíve just used water, you may find the leather is dry and the finish dull. Iím ambivalent about using saddle soaps. They help to carry away dirt, but they can leave a film, which I dislike. Some are drying, despite being made of glycerine or vegetable oil. I dislike two-in-one products because I worry that these might leave behind detergents that will damage the leather over time.

My compromise is to use as little saddle soap as possible in the dirtiest areas, and a leather conditioner to clean the rest. I apply the conditioner, and use it like a cleaner to wipe up any dirt. Before you use anything, whether your tack is moldy or not, test an inconspicuous area so you know how it affects the leather. Some leathers will get quite dark after an application of conditioner or they will change the finish, especially if the finish is very shiny.

Once your leather is cleaned, store it in a dry place so it doesnít happen again. Iíll be carrying my saddle back and forth to the barn. Besides, it looks quite nice in my living room when it isnít on my horse.

--
ref: My mom, who is a harness maker, among other things.
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
Bellatrix Stables  
This is actually super helpful right now! I'm constantly have to clean mold of mine. It's at my house now waiting to be cleaned.
  Sep 27, 2014  •  6,353 views
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