A friend of ours asked us, several months ago, how to get rid of mold in leathers and her hemp bondage rope. The dampness in the air up in the mountains where she lives on Maui wreaked havoc on her leather toys and left the dreaded stench of the “death mold” in her rope. She had a layer of green mold growing on her leather boots and…okay, it was gross. She hadn’t been playing with some of the toys and kept all her items in a cabinet that had no air and plenty of moisture in it. Here are some storage tips we gave her that apply to anyone living in areas where the weather and air are damp, cold, rainy or moist:
– Store your leather toys, clothes and shoes in cool, dry places; never in hot and damp areas.
– Cabinets, closets or wooden boxes are fine for storage, just make sure to open the doors/lids each day and air out the items. Plastic is ok but not recommended as it will dry out your leather. If you must store in plastic, choose plastic boxes and modify the lids with either holes or openings to let some air breathe into the leather.
– Consider placing a UV light in the same space as the items or replacing a standard light bulb with a UV bulb. The UV light will kill the bacteria and germs that lead to mold.
– Wrap clothing and shoes in non-acid tissue paper or soft cotton cloth.
– Hang whips, floggers, canes, etc so that they fall straight. Place a couple pieces of tissue paper between the falls or wrap whips in so the leather does not stick to each other.
– If your leather becomes wet, let it dry at room temperature; never dry it in front of a direct heat source as this damages the leather.
– Despite what you may have heard, direct sunlight over *long* periods of time will damage your leather.
All leather items can last for a lifetime if they are regularly maintained and treated well. Leather is skin and just as you would clean your own, you need to clean and nourish your leather to help retain its durability and texture.
After cleaning her toys, clothes and shoes extensively with some all natural leather care products called Bee Natural she was able to restore them to beauty. Her rope on the other hand was not salvageable. Once mold, bacteria and fungus enter natural fiber rope and even some synthetics, you may be able to get rid of the smell for a little while through washing but it will come back soon enough. Your rope is pretty much destroyed at this point and not safe to use on skin. Here are some tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you:
– Make sure your rope is completely dry before coiling back up and placing in storage. Let air dry to make sure. Oil only when rope is completely dry.
– Store your rope in a bag or case that provides protection but also allows some air to breathe into it. (Canvas, Cotton, etc)
– Inside the bag or case you store your ropes in, add a small bag of a drying agent such as Damp Rid or gel silica. Almost any moisture absorber whether it is a solid, gel or crystals will work. A little goes a long – be sure to read the directions and store it in a container, bag or pouch that lets the drying agent breathe into your storage space while still protecting your rope from coming into contact with it.
– If used properly, moisture absorbers should not change the smell or feel of your rope. Make sure to use an absorber that does not have any fragrances in it.
– A cheap but effective alternative to a drying agent is take a scoop of kitty litter, place in a sock, tie of the end securely and toss in your bag. Replace every couple months.
– UV lamps and bulbs will help kill bacteria and germs on your rope so laying a length under the light between 30min. to an hour can help prevent mold.
Want more great tips on caring for and cleaning leather – this page is chock full of great tips and products.