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Flood Restoration Helpful Guide on Saving Leather Items Like Shoes and Bags

Flood waters not only contain mud but also bacteria from overwhelmed sewage lines so careful cleaning is a must. Learn how to clean and restore flood damaged leather shoes and handbags.

It will be several days or even weeks before the water recede so the clean-up can begin.

If your bag has water damage, put it away from sun and heat and let the leather dry out naturally.  Use saddle soap to clean it and then restore the color by using the steps above. Be sure to use a conditioning treatment to add moisture back to the leather. Lately, I've seen bags listed with mold and mildew.Leather clothes, shoes and handbags can mildew and mold when the moisture levels is too high.

Learn How to Clean Up

What You Need
  • Clean water
  • Soft, white cloth
  • Tissue paper
  • Saddle Soap
  • Shoe Polish
Here's How:
  1. Remove mud from leather while the mud is still wet. Do this as soon as possible by using a hose with running water. Try not to scrape away the mud with anything sharp or rough textured.
  2. Use a soft cloth to remove final bits of mud from stitching and intricate areas.
  3. Use soft paper, like tissue paper to stuff shoes back into the proper shape. Newsprint can be used but there can be some transfer of ink. Do not use shoe trees because they may overstretch the leather.
  4. Dry shoes at room temperature. Do not use a heater or place in the sun to dry more quickly. This will harm the leather. A circulating fan can help speed the drying process by increasing air flow.
  5. As the shoes dry, clean with saddle soap. Saddle soap can be purchased at shoe stores and grocery stores.
  6. When shoes are completely dry, polish with a good shoe polish or cream. Do not wear the shoes until they are thoroughly dry or they may become misshapen and even tear.
  7. Leather can be treated with a special compound to make them waterproof. Test on an inside area as the compound may change the color slightly.

How to Remove Molds and Mildew

What You Need
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Soft White Cloth
  • Saddle Soap
  • Tissue Paper
  • Shoe Polish
Here's How:
  1. Take the mildewed items outside to clean to prevent spreading the mildew spores.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 cup of denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to one cup water. Soak a soft white cloth in the solution and wipe away the mildew.
  3. Allow the leather to air dry away from the sun or direct heat. If the item is leather shoes or a handbag, polish with a good quality leather polish or cream.
  1. If the leather is heavily mildewed, it may need to be cleaned with a solution of saddle soap and water. Use a soft cloth and work the soap in well. Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water. Allow to air dry.
  2. If the mildewed leather is on shoes, after they are cleaned stuff them with soft paper - like tissue paper - before allowing to dry. This will help them hold their shape.

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Graeme Stephens has been running the largest owned Carpet Cleaning Auckland, a leading Carpet Cleaning, Flood Restoration and Pest Control Company covering all Auckland post codes. Contact us today to ask about the services we can offer you.

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