Mold is a type of fungus. Under certain temperature and humidity conditions, it can easily grow on leather and feed causing various undesirable effects:
- Stains (can be grey, green or black and may be permanent in light color leathers)
- Spots and marks on the grain that make the leather look inferior causing a downgrading of the finished product
- Can consume important additives used in leather making, such as fat liquors, tannins, etc.
- Can negatively impact the physical properties of leather (e.g. reduce tear and tensile strength)
When mold starts growing on leather, it is invisible. It becomes visible only when it has multiplied to the point that permanently removing it becomes much more difficult, and simply wiping the surface clean will not solve the problem as it will grow right back again. The leather or finished product will need to be thoroughly cleaned with an anti-mold fungicide solution in order to prevent a further reoccurrence.
Ultimate success in the battle against mold is an end-to-end mold prevention program. The first step begins at the tannery, and the conditions in which the leather is stored in the factory where the leather will be turned into a finished product:
- During its production, the leather must be treated with the appropriate level of fungicides
- During shipment and in the material warehouse of the finished product factory, leather must be wrapped in protective plastic packaging to prevent it from absorbing moisture and/or getting wet.
- The finished product factory’s material warehouse must be dry and clean:
- Adequate spacing between the warehouse stacking racks to ensure sufficient air circulation
- Avoid direct sun light
- Warehouse floors and walls should be washed frequently with anti-mold fungicide solution
- Maintain warehouse humidity between 50% and 75%
- Maintain warehouse temperature between 15ºC and 30ºC
- Fix all leaks in roofs and windows which can permit rain water to enter
Contributed by Muhammad Saleem Amin – Impactiva’s Pakistan Team