BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

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Tiddles
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BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Tiddles »

Just dug out my medieval boots in preparation for Glastonbury.
They are covered inside and out in mould/mildew and I need to clean them ASAP.
The last time I wore them was Detling.

What is the best way of removing and killing the mould without damaging the leather?
I have heard stories of people putting boots in the freezer, dose that work?

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steven pole
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by steven pole »

You could try dipping them in diluted bleach to kill the mould.

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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Sophia »

Clean with a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda which is an anti-fungal then use saddle soap. Stuff with newspaper and put to dry somewhere warm but not in the airing cupboard, right next to a radiator or in full sunlight. Then treat with hide food and finally polish.

For future reference, never put your footwear away damp. When you come back from and event clean any mud off, stuff with newspaper and put to dry, then polish.

At the end of the season you need to make sure all your leather items are clean and dry, treat with hide food and store somewhere dry but not too hot. This should minimise any further problems.
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Tiddles
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGENCY HELP!!!!

Post by Tiddles »

Sophia wrote:Clean with a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda which is an anti-fungal then use saddle soap. Stuff with newspaper and put to dry somewhere warm but not in the airing cupboard, right next to a radiator or in full sunlight. Then treat with hide food and finally polish.

For future reference, never put your footwear away damp. When you come back from and event clean any mud off, stuff with newspaper and put to dry, then polish.

At the end of the season you need to make sure all your leather items are clean and dry, treat with hide food and store somewhere dry but not too hot. This should minimise any further problems.
Hi Sophia.

Bicarbonate solution and newspaper worked a treat :D
I could not get any saddle soap in the time frame but gave them a good polish with brown boot polish.
This has made them water resistant so will stiff them and give them a good polish ready for the next show. I think that will be June.

Thanks.

Tiddles.

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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Chris T »

UV light is just about the best harmless (for the item) mouldkiller: even when cleaned mould tends to lurk about, so make use of any sun you happen to get to give your boots a blast....

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nick19thind
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by nick19thind »

If you can't get saddle soap you could use olive oil. Too much boot polish will dry out the leather and cause cracks
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Colin Middleton
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Colin Middleton »

I tend to store my shoes on the windowsil in the spare bedroom. It seems to be retarding the development of the mould (though not reversing it).

Like Sophia said, dry them thoroughly in a warm place (like a room in the house, NOT on the radiator, or they'll go solid) and feed the leather. Do NOT put them on plastic to dry or the mould will be back before you can blink!

Good luck

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Chris T
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Chris T »

Glass filters out UV.....direct sunlight is better.

It will kill the mould, but will not remove mould staining....but then that is probably an historically appropriate stain :-)

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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Kairra »

Can I just ask: When you say "Feed the leather", what do you mean exactly?
“When you pass by the meadows of Paradise indulge freely in it.”
They said: “O Messenger of Allah, what are the meadows of Paradise?”
He replied: “The circles of knowledge.”
Excerpt from the Qu'ran.

I'm not religious, but if it makes sense...

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Alice the Huswyf
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Feeding = conditioning the leather to preserve the shoe and extend it's usable life.

To prevent ruining proper leather shoes (ie veggie-tanned re-enactment type footwear) there are certain simple rules to follow about drying and conditioning (feeding) any leather - but especially vegetable tanned leathers.

Never dry by heat - ie feet up in front of the campfire, or shoes drying on a radiator. This dries the leather and quickly leads to cracking.

It is very, very rarely that you would ever need to treat the inside of a shoe: you are working on the soles and outers only. (As Tod says, what goes inside the shoe will end up on your feet once they warm up and sweat).

If the leather is soaked, stuff with newspaper-type paper to retain the shape and allow to air dry at it's own speed. Paper stuffing also wicks moisture away from the inside, so speeds the proces. The same method can be used to remould shoes which have been crush-packed and left to dry crushed - briefly dunk them in clean water until thouroughly wet through , towel dry the excess away, stuff and air dry.

Leather, being organic, will dry up and lose its' pliability after being soaked /dried /soaked. When dry it also wicks in water like a sponge. Feeding the leather restores some of the oils, retains flexibility, reconditions it and adds water repellancy. There are various methods you can use:

Hide balsam (expensive, but worth it). Does go a long way.

Home made balsam (olive oil and beeswax mixed over heat and left to set to a lipstick consistency works well) - the oil softens the leather, the wax gives and extra layer of water repellancy and keeps the shoes soft. Work it into the lather with your hands - body temperature warms the beeswax so that is penetrates deeper into the leather (also is an excellent hand treatment). Can also be used in camp, in public.

Dubbins or specialist treatments like neatsfoot oil can be used BUT neatsfoot oil is expensive and while ideal for flat leathers, but will rot the stitching if your shoes are stitched with linen thread, so best avoided unless you know what you are up to.

If in doubt use olive oil - cheap, you always have it in the kitchen and it is a safe and effective conditioner for leather and wood. Oil hardens wood and leather until worn or re-applied. This is useful to know as it can alarm if you take treated shoes out of storage and they are unexpectedly stiffer than you recall - this will diminish once they are on your foot and motion works the leather.

Put your shoes on a tray, use a pastry brush and apply liberally, leaving it to sink in overnight or for 24 hours. Retreat any patches that go dull quickly - these thirsty patches are the dryest. Repeat until they do not absorb faster than surrounding leather. Apply oil liberally to the soles, and several times (using balsam method you may not need to repeat as often to get ideal results). The soles get wet and dry the most and so need the most feeding.

Your leather will be full when it stops looking oily and instead looks rich and dull. Rub down with a soft piece of non-fluffy cloth to remove excess residue and store in a cloth bag.

NEVER STORE LEATHER IN PLASTIC. You will get mildew even on clean and apparently dry shoes if stored long term in plastic as your feet do sweat.

Always treat your soles after a damp weekend. One layer after each event is better than emergency slathering in extremis.
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Tod »

steven pole wrote:You could try dipping them in diluted bleach to kill the mould.
I'm not sure that is a good idea, the bleach will soak into the leather and the first time it gets wet it'll be all over your feet and hose.

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Alice the Huswyf
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Re: BOOT CLEANING EMERGANCY HELP!!!!

Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Tod is right - DO NOT BLEACH POROUS ITEMS UNLESS YOU CAN RINSE IT ALL OUT AGAIN - if it goes in one way, it will come out again! I once bleached the unglazed base of a water jug which had serious mildew. Did a great job. On a long journey I napped in kit with my coloured linen headdress touching one spot on the jug after I dropped off. The jug was dry, I was dry - but the vapour had still bleached-out a pink mark spot on the navy linen by the time I woke up.
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