Those of us who live in humid and/or wet climates know that it can really wreak havoc on our expensive tack. I live in the Northwest of the United States, so I know wet. I just recently went to look for a piece of tack only to discover – MOLD and MILDEW.
Luckily, I didn’t just wipe it off and go about my business. That would be a terrible mistake. Why? Because mold and mildew spread when it’s airborne. So if you just brush it off in your tack room, you are not only breathing it in, but you are spreading it to all your other tack! Instead, follow the below steps to safely clean your tack. You will need a sponge, some rags, gloves and the following products: (you can use any saddle soap of your choosing)
#1 – Kill the Spores
Lay it out in the sun to kill the mold and mildew spores. For some of us, that may mean waiting a few days. I got lucky and it’s in the 70s this week. No sunshine in sight? Use a red heat lamp that you can get at your local farm store. You want to leave it in the sun/light for at least a few hours. Due to the moisture in our air, I left mine out all day.
#2 – Clean with Vinegar
Using the white vinegar and gloves so you don’t get the mold on yourself, clean off the mold using the vinegar on a rag or brush. Do outside, in a well ventilated area. A mask is another good precaution, so you don’t breathe it in. If the mold is really thick on in cracks, a toothbrush works well.
Be sure to use a toothbrush or very small brush to get in between harder. Unbuckle all buckles to thoroughly clean.
#3 – Clean Again
Vinegar is drying so now it’s time to clean again using your leather glycerin soap. Just like you normally would.
#4 – Condition and Protect
Follow your cleaning with Leather Therapy Restorer and Conditioner. This product is made to help prevent mold and mildew from forming! It really is a must for anyone living in a climate where mold is common. Every time you clean your tack, you should follow up with this product for continued protection. And here it is – mold free, cleaned, conditioned and ready for use!
Preventing Future Mold
There are other ways, aside from the conditioner that you can help prevent mold. Here are a few tips:
- A dehumidifier in your tack room will help remove excess moisture.
- Insulating your tack room can also help prevent excess moisture.
- Install a permanent heat lamp over your tack area (be sure its fire safe!!)
- I personally find that the tack that molds is the tack that doesn’t seem to be getting used. Store little used tack in your house can help prevent it from getting moldy.
Have other tips that work for you? Share in the comments to help your fellow riders keep mold and mildew at bay.