Frequently Faced Problems
Leather like other organic material viz. wood, paper etc. is highly hygroscopic and tends to absorb moisture from the surrounding air during processing or in storage. The excess moisture absorbed by the leather results in increased microbial activity. Mould, mildew and fungi germination when relative humidity is above 40%.
Microbial growth severly affects leather and can result in reduced sheen, quality and overall structural strength.
The micro-organism growth is injurious to materials like leather because it not only results in decomposition but also weakens it mechanically and also spoils the `sheen' of the leather product.
General Recommendation :
Storage Under Controlled Conditions
Finished leather products regain moisture while in storage, prior to packaging. This results in the high rate of product spoilage due to mould/ fungus/ mildew growth fuelled by moisture absorbed by the leather. In order to prevent this spoilage, it is necessary to store the leather in humidity controlled warehouses where conditions are maintained at less than 40% RH at ambient temperature. This prevents leather from regaining moisture and thus, prevents growth of mould/ fungus/ mildew.
Control Moisture While Packaging
The only way to prevent fungus growth is to ensure that the leather does not regain any moisture during packaging. The best, most simple and economical method to ensure that leather does not absorb moisture from the surrounding air while being packed, is to control the humidity at less than 40% RH in the packing area.