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Old April 7, 2012, 03:10 PM   #1
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Holster Discoloration

I have a horsehide holster that I took a look at today when I took a picture of it for another thread. Looking at it, I'm wondering if this darker area is just wear from rubbing on clothes when being worn, or if it is mold growing on the holster? I'm a lefty, and this is the side of the holster that gets sweat on it if it is hot outside. This area has no smell and the black discoloration will not wipe off with a rag.

Any ideas? If it is normal discoloration from wear, then fine, but if it is mold, how would I take it off without damaging the holster?

Is this normal for IWB horsehide holsters?

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Old April 9, 2012, 03:04 PM   #2
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Well, if that's not dirt then it certainly looks like mold.

I work with horsehide quite a bit when making holsters... That is NOT normal.

A few suggestions to clean that puppy up -

- vinegar
- Lysol
- lemon juice

Before you try any of those, please note that I have never had to remove mold from a holster... So I honestly have no idea what results you might get. I've just read that these solutions can get rid of mold.

If it is mold... It's worth a shot. That mold can spread to other leather items. Not much to lose. Let us know what you decide!
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Old April 9, 2012, 04:44 PM   #3
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Not sure, but does anyone know if you can kill mold by freezing it? Would freezing the holster damage the leather? Again, just a thought...
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Old April 10, 2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

It is definitely not dirt, as this holster is either carried IWB, or left in a safe that has about 10 desiccant pacts with no indication of humidity. The only moisture this holster receives is on hot days when sweat may get to it when being carried.

The more I look at it, the more I'm thinking that this is mold. I'm not too sure I want this holster rubbing on me for the time being.

If I choose to clean it with either the vinegar, lysol, or lemon juice, what is the method behind cleaning the holster with these chemicals? Would any damage the leather if left on for too long? Should I soak the whole holster, or just dab a bit on the effected areas?

I'll also look into freezing it or leaving it in the sun for a while.

Here are some more pictures:

And some of the other, non-discolored side:

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Old April 10, 2012, 06:57 PM   #5
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Try bringing it to a shoemaker.Those guys have been around leather for years and might tell you what it is. If the leather is rubbing against your body and you're sweating, then it is going to at the very least discolor it. It may be nothing, but I wouldn't be too quick to apply anything to it, cause you could ruin it. That's a well made holster by Galco and maybe giving them a call would be wise.
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Old April 11, 2012, 05:43 PM   #6
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I used to use Galco Royal Guards a long time back. I used to use two of them a year, usually rotating one out for a new one each year. In the summer, they were both constantly wet through from sweat and never would dry out. There was usually discoloration, but I never remember seeing mold on them. Not saying it wasnt there though.

If this is an issue for you, Id highly suggest you check out a good kydex holster. It will eliminate 99.9% of any kind of moisture issues you have with leather, and the holsters are usually about half what a good leather costs.

This was the last Royal Guard I had. Its about a month old in the pic. The duct tape on the back was there to try and slow the sweat from getting through. It was a lost cause......

This is the Blade Tech that replaced it. Its got over 10 years of daily use on it. I still have it today, and its still just as useable as the day I bought it about 20 years ago.....

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Old April 11, 2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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Mold is a living organism that develops spores and spreads. It thrives in dark damp places.

Bleach will kill it quickly but must be handled carefully. You do not want to soak leather. Dilute a small amount (tablespoon) in a cup of water. Take an old face cloth and barely moisten it with the bleach water. Wipe down the holster and place in sun. Repeat as needed.
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Old April 14, 2012, 05:14 PM   #8
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I've used vinegar on gym clothes and gym bags that were starting to get funky ... it yielded good results. With a holster, you definitely don't want to soak it ... wipe it down as suggested ... and letting it dry thoroughly between treatments will be a good idea.

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Old April 17, 2012, 10:26 PM   #9
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We have had good results with this

If you try the vinegar cut it with water. Maybe try 50/50 to start. No results increase vinegar.

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Old April 17, 2012, 11:18 PM   #10
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That looks like black mold in some spots.
Kill it before it gets any worse. The worst of all molds.
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Old April 18, 2012, 05:55 AM   #11
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I've used my Royal Guard since the late '90's without issue.
But I don't generate much sweat...
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Old April 18, 2012, 09:19 AM   #12
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Perhaps try some saddle soap?
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