Molds are a common problem in many workplaces, especially for those who wear safety work shoes made of suede. Not only are molds unsightly, but they can also pose health risks and cause damage to your footwear.
However, with the right tools and techniques, removing molds from suede safety work shoes is a straightforward process.
In this guide, we'll show you step-by-step how to safely and effectively remove molds from your safety work shoes, and provide tips for preventing future mold growth.
How Awful the Molds Could be
Molds are a type of fungus that can grow on various surfaces, including shoes made of suede. Molds thrive in warm, humid, and damp conditions, making footwear a perfect breeding ground.
When shoes get wet, and then left to dry in an area with poor ventilation, mold spores can settle on the surface of the suede and begin to grow.
There are many health issues that can be caused by molds, such as allergic reactions, asthma, and respiratory problems. For people who work in industries where safety footwear is required, the risks associated with molds can be even greater.
If molds are present in the shoes, the structure can become weaker, which reduces the effectiveness of the shoes in protecting against hazards such as slips, falls, and punctures.
How to Spot Molds on Suede Safety Work Shoes
It is possible to spot molds by looking for some visual signs that indicate their presence. Common signs of mold include discoloration of walls or other surfaces, a musty smell, or visible mold growth.
The discoloration of suede shoes is often caused by molds, which result in patches of dark, black, or green color on the surface of the shoe. It is possible for these patches to be small or large, depending on how extensive the mold growth has been.
It is also possible for molds to show up as fuzzy, thread-like growths on suede shoes when they are contaminated with moisture. As a result, you may be able to see the growth on the surface of the suede as well as in the crevices and seams of your shoes.
In some cases, molds can leave stains on the surface of the suede, which can be very difficult to remove. It is possible for the shoes to be stained with blotchy spots or patches that appear on them.
A musty smell is caused by molds that emit a foul, musty odor which is often noticeable, especially when you take off your shoes and step inside. It is believed that this odor is caused by the release of microbial volatile organic compounds, which are toxic to human health.
All in all, when you observe any of these visual signs or smell a musty odor emanating from your safety work shoes, it is important to take immediate action in order to prevent the mold from spreading and to avoid any further problems.
The Necessary Tools for Wiping off Molds
It is important to note that not all cleaning solutions and tools are suitable for use on suede shoes, so make sure you use the right ones.
Ensure that you check the instructions provided by the manufacturer before using any cleaning solution on the shoe, and always test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the shoe before applying it to a larger area.
Soft-bristled brush: Using a soft-bristled brush will assist in removing all loose mold from the surface of the suede without damaging it in any way.
White vinegar: The use of white vinegar is an effective way of killing mold spores and preventing them from returning again in the future. Suede work safety shoes can also be cleaned with this product without damaging them.
Clean cloth or sponge: It is important that you use a clean cloth or sponge for applying the cleaning solution to the suede and wiping away any excess moisture that may have been left behind.
Mold and mildew cleaner: For complete mold and mildew removal, you might need to use a specialized mold and mildew cleaner if the mold growth is severe.
Suede protector spray: For the best results, it is recommended to apply a suede protector spray after cleaning the shoes in order to prevent future mold growth, as well as to prevent water damage to the suede.
Steps for Mold Removal from Suede Safety Footwear
The removal of mold from your safety work shoes should be done promptly and thoroughly so that they do not spread and cause additional damage to the shoes in the future.
As long as you use the right cleaning techniques and preventative measures, you can ensure that your shoes stay clean and their protective properties will remain intact for a long time to come.
Step 1: Prepare the cleaning solution
In a bowl, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. This mixture is safe to use on suede shoes and will help kill mold spores. You can also add a few drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent.
Step 2: Brush off any loose mold
Using a soft-bristled brush, gently brush off any loose mold from the surface of the suede. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or scrub too hard, as this can damage the suede.
To remove stubborn mold from your shoes, you can take a scissor out and use its blade with a soft brush to remove any loose mold from the seams and crevices of the safety shoes for work.
Step 3: Apply the cleaning solution
Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and wring out any excess moisture. Gently apply the solution to the affected area of the suede, making sure to cover the entire surface.
If you're using a spray bottle, spray the cleaning solution evenly on the suede, but avoid saturating it.
Step 4: Let the solution sit
Allow the cleaning solution to sit on the suede for about 30 minutes. This will give the vinegar time to kill the mold spores and prevent them from returning. Cover the shoes with a plastic bag or wrap to keep them moist and help the solution penetrate deeper into the suede.
Step 5: Rinse with clean water
Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with clean water and gently wipe away any excess cleaning solution from the suede. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and remove all traces of the cleaning solution. You can also use a suede cleaning brush to remove any residue.
Step 6: Absorb excess moisture
Place a clean towel or paper towel inside the shoes to absorb any excess moisture. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or tissue paper to help them retain their shape and prevent shrinkage. Avoid using a hair dryer or heater to dry the shoes, as this can damage the suede.
Step 7: Let the shoe air dry
Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area and allow them to air dry completely. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat, as this can damage the suede. It may take a few hours or overnight for the shoes to dry completely.
Step 8: Brush the suede
Once the shoes are dry, use a suede cleaning brush or a soft-bristled brush to restore the nap and texture of the suede. Brush in one direction to avoid damaging the suede. You can also use a suede eraser to remove any stubborn stains or marks.
Step 9: Apply suede protector spray
Once casual safety shoes are clean and dry, apply a suede protector spray to prevent future mold growth and protect the suede from water damage. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and make sure to apply the spray in a well-ventilated area.
Step 10: Inspect the shoes
Inspect the shoes for any remaining mold growth. If the mold is still present, repeat the cleaning process or consider using a specialized mold and mildew cleaner.
If the shoes are heavily infested or have been contaminated for a long period of time, it may be best to dispose of them so that you do not expose yourself to health risks in the long run.
How to Prevent the Growth of Molds in the Future
It can be a lengthy task to remove mold from shoes, which can take quite a bit of time. In the end, we all hope that this will be a task that can be completed in one go.
Although we cannot give you a 100% guarantee that mold will not appear on the suede safety shoes in the future, we can assure you that the actions we suggest below will effectively help you prevent mold from accumulating over time.
Store Your Shoes in a Dry and Well-Ventilated Area
Mold thrives in damp and humid environments, so it's important to store your suede safety shoes in an area that is dry and well-ventilated. Ideally, you should store them in a room with good air circulation, such as a balcony or living room.
Avoid storing them in damp or humid areas like basements or closets without proper airflow. If you need to store your shoes in a container, make sure it is well-ventilated and not airtight.
Keep Your Shoes Clean
Regular cleaning of your suede safety shoes is crucial to prevent the buildup of dirt and moisture, which can create a breeding ground for mold.
Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove dirt and debris from the surface of the suede, and a clean, dry cloth to wipe off any excess moisture. Make sure to clean your shoes as soon as possible after exposure to moisture or dirt.
Allow Your Shoes to Air out
After wearing your suede safety shoes, allow them to air out for a few hours before storing them away. This will help to remove any excess moisture and prevent mold growth. You can also use a shoe tree or crumpled paper towels to help absorb excess moisture.
Use a Suede Protector Spray
A suede protector spray can help to repel water and prevent future mold growth on your most comfortable safety shoes.
Be sure to choose a product specifically designed for suede and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. It's also important to apply the spray in a well-ventilated area.
Avoid Wearing Your Shoes in Damp or Humid Environments
While it's not always possible to avoid exposure to moisture, you should try to avoid wearing your suede safety shoes in damp or humid environments whenever possible.
If you do need to wear them in these conditions, make sure to dry them thoroughly afterward and allow them to air out completely before storing them away.
In addition, you may consider getting an alternative safety shoe for replacement if you are likely to be working in this damp, moist environment too often so that you will be able to give one of your safety shoes time to rest and be able to air dry the moisture on it.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can keep your suede safety work shoes free from molds and in top condition.
Remember to always take precautions when handling molds and to test any cleaning solutions on a small area before applying them to your shoes.
With regular maintenance and proper cleansing, you can ensure that your safety footwear stays mold-free and continues to provide the protection you need on the job, making them the best work safety shoes as a part of your protective gear.