If your tack room is damp, or your tack is moist, and exposed to mould and mildew spores, your tack can be seriously damaged if you don’t clean it off as soon as possible. In this article I will discuss how to clean mould and mildew off leather tack.
Begin by taking all the tack apart. Fill a bucket or tray with warm water, and add some liquid detergent. Use a cloth to wipe off as much of the mould as you can. WARNING! If the tack is partially constructed of suede (for example a saddle with suede knee rolls) be very careful not to get soapy water on to the suede, as it will ruin it.
Towel off excess moisture from the tack, and leave it to dry off for a while.
Heat some neatsfoot oil (a type of tack cleaner) until it is lukewarm. When it is warm, its constituency will be thinner, and it can be absorbed better. Wipe it all over the leather parts of your tack, but take care to avoid contact with suede.
Leave it to soak in for about an hour, then remove the excess oil. You can now use saddle soap (choose one that does not rot).
Before you attempt to clean suede, it must be completely dry. Use sandpaper, or a suede brush to rub out as much of the mould as you can.
Once you have cleaned your tack, put it back together again, and ensure you clean, and dry your tack room before re-introducing the tack, to avoid recurrence of the mould.