Saddle getting moldy in summer a lot - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Saddle getting moldy in summer a lot

My mother owns a dressage saddle (pretty new, about 2.5 years old) that she uses weekly. It's made of smooth glossy finish leather (don't know the right term) pretty good quality, leather is pretty hard and thick.

She usually stores it in the common equipment room of the stables and in summer it gets a massive mold infestation. All hems, grooves, edges, the bottom part of the saddle sprout white fluffy mold as soon as summer sets in.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that several dozens of saddles plus sweaty saddle pads and blankets get kept in the same small room with no ventilation, so humidity is extremely high and in summer, when it's hot as well, the mold just thrives.

In summer we usually try to get rid of that stuff in different ways. We usually wash it with damp cloth (we have tried clean water, soapy water, water with intimate wash lotion, yea, keep laughing, we hoped that if that stuff fights fungus down there it might do that on the saddle as well) sundry it as well as we can including sundrying upside down hoping that it will kill the mold. We tried oiling with ordinary saddle oil and also using leather furniture cleaner (but the cleaner just does not give tha suppleness that oil does)

Mold keeps coming back as soon as the saddle returns to the storage room.

I have a wild idea of mixing a little tea tree oil in saddle oil to kill the fungus. Would that work?

Or any other ideas?
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 06:15 AM
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Mold grows because there is moisture. If you oil the leather, it will not only soften and make the leather more flexible, it will push any moisture in the leather out. No moisture, no mold.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 06:21 AM
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How much mold is in your tack room?

First wipe off any visible mold. Wash it with saddle soap, leave it to dry. Spray a light covering of Lysol on it then put it in the sun. Then oil. Works for me, just make sure you are VERY thorough!
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 06:46 AM
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Maybe air out your sweaty saddle blankets and everything outside to dry before they go into the tack room? One of my dressage saddles did that too, and it was just that saddle, the other 4 were fine, both leather and synthetic... then I realised I had put one of my recently used saddle blankets over top of that particular saddle - Duh, what was I thinking?
Can you open the door and let the whole room air out now and again if possible? I can't because of tom cats everywhere, but if you can then great :)

Is it just that saddle getting moldy or are there others too? Maybe invest in a saddle cover for it, like a zip up waterproof one or something, making sure the saddle is dry before it goes in. Otherwise I'm not sure, but that's not a fun game and I know that from first hand experience!
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop View Post
How much mold is in your tack room?

First wipe off any visible mold. Wash it with saddle soap, leave it to dry. Spray a light covering of Lysol on it then put it in the sun. Then oil. Works for me, just make sure you are VERY thorough!
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Could you name a good brand of saddle soap I could get online? I live in a tiny little country with pretty much one saddlery shop and they don't carry such a thing...

The tack room is horrible, the whole walls are literally covered in that stuff, and there is literally no way of airing it out and people keep bringing their blankets in there without drying them. We live in a flat, so storing the saddle at home is also not practical. I guess only thorough care can save that saddle.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop View Post
How much mold is in your tack room?

First wipe off any visible mold. Wash it with saddle soap, leave it to dry. Spray a light covering of Lysol on it then put it in the sun. Then oil. Works for me, just make sure you are VERY thorough!
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The advice I gave was from someone that has dealt with saddles and leather. He also said that the worse thing you can do is wash with soap and water. You want to remove the water from the leather. Washing it puts more into it and is harder to get it all out. He said to keep wiping oil onto it until it stops absorbing it. Then wipe any excess off. When it soaks the oil in, the oil is pushing any moisture out.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 11:26 AM
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Put a dehumidifier in the room.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 10:47 PM
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I've had good luck with about a quart of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. If there is a working socket in the tack room, plug in a fan and leave a door or window open a little. The fan will keep the air moving and mould likes stagnant air.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-14-2013, 03:57 AM
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If it were a one off, washing then oiling would be my course of action.

However, this seems like a long term problem. Oiling more will probably help, but if it were my saddle I'd stop storing it in there during the hotter months. Even protected, prolonged exposure to a hot, wet environment isn't going to be good long-term for any leather product. As your mother only uses it weekly, it wouldn't be much hassle to bring it in with her.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-14-2013, 04:11 AM
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This is one of the many reasons why I collect those little packets with silicon balls in them. I put them in my clothes drawers, in my cupboard and among my tack. I also leave my saddle pad to dry out before putting it back in the tack room. Easiest way is to tie a short line from two hooks on a wall and hang the pad over the string (with the inner side out), preferably in a nice breezy spot. I had some issues with mould on my lovely old leather saddle (in autumn here when it's warm and wet) til I did this.

Also OP, once I moved my horse and lost the tackroom I had to have my saddle in my tiny single-room flat. It sat in the corner on a saddle stand and really didn't take up much space but if you own the flat you might be able to get a saddle rack and bolt it into the wall somewhere up high where it'll be out of the way.

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