Can I Put My Shoes In The Dryer? How To Do It In 8 Steps

Can I Put My Shoes in the Dryer?

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We’ve all been there – you’re in a hurry, and your favorite pair of shoes gets soaked in the rain or accidentally drenched. The thought of wearing wet shoes for the rest of the day is far from appealing. In such situations, you may wonder, “Can I put my shoes in the dryer?” It’s a common question, and the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. 

Putting your shoes in the dryer can be a convenient solution, but it also comes with risks. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of drying your shoes in the dryer to help you make an informed decision and to keep your footwear in top shape.

Why You Might Consider Putting Shoes in the Dryer

Before delving into the process and precautions, let’s understand why you might contemplate using the dryer to dry your shoes in the first place. Here are some compelling reasons:

  • Quick Drying: The dryer is known for its ability to expedite the drying process. When you’re in a hurry, especially on a busy morning, the thought of having dry shoes within a short span is tempting.
  • Convenience: It’s far more convenient than waiting for your shoes to air dry, especially in humid or rainy weather when air drying may take considerable time.
  • Odor Reduction: The heat in the dryer can help kill odor-causing bacteria, leaving your shoes smelling fresh.

While these benefits might make you consider using the dryer, it’s crucial to understand the potential risks and how to mitigate them.

When Is It Safe to Put Shoes in the Dryer?

Now that you know why you might want to put your shoes in the dryer, let’s discuss when it’s safe to do so. 

Not all shoes can withstand the heat and motion of a dryer, so it’s essential to assess your footwear before making a decision.

What Shoes Can You Put in the Dryer Safely?

What Shoes Can You Put in the Dryer Safely?
  1. Canvas Sneakers: Canvas shoes are generally safe to put in the dryer. They are durable and can handle the heat without significant damage.
  2. Running Shoes: Many modern running shoes have synthetic uppers and rubber soles that can tolerate dryer heat. However, always check the manufacturer’s guidelines first.
  3. Flip-Flops and Sandals: Most flip-flops and sandals are dryer-safe, thanks to their rubber or plastic composition.
  4. Rubber Rain Boots: Rubber boots can endure the heat of the dryer. Ensure they are clean and free from debris before drying.
  5. Gym Shoes: Gym shoes, especially those with synthetic materials, can be safely dried in the machine.

What Shoes Should You Never Put in the Dryer?

Shoes You Should Never Put in the Dryer
  1. Leather Shoes: Leather is sensitive to heat and can crack or warp in the dryer. Avoid putting leather shoes in the machine.
  2. Suede or Nubuck Shoes: The dryer’s heat and tumbling action can permanently damage these delicate materials.
  3. High Heels: High-heeled shoes often have delicate components and should never be subjected to the dryer.
  4. Shoes with Glue: If your shoes have parts held together by glue, the heat from the dryer can weaken the adhesive, causing them to fall apart.
  5. Old or Fragile Shoes: Shoes that are already worn out, have loose soles, or are in poor condition should not be put in the dryer as it can further damage them.
  6. Specialty Shoes: Any shoes designed for specific activities, such as golf shoes, cycling shoes, or dance shoes, should not be dried in the machine unless the manufacturer explicitly states it’s safe.

How to Safely Put Shoes in the Dryer?

Can I Put My Shoes in the Dryer? Yes! If you’ve determined that your shoes are safe to put in the dryer, follow these steps to ensure they come out dry and undamaged:

Step 1: Clean Your Shoes

Cleaning your shoes is the initial and crucial step before putting them in the dryer. It’s essential to ensure your shoes are free from dirt, mud, or debris. Pink Miracle is my favorite shoe cleaner and it works on leather, suede, whites, and Nubuck shoes. Pink Miracle has 4.4 out of 5 rating based on 34,876 ratings

These shoes are several months old and of course we all know whites hard to keep clean. Over at my sister’s house the other day and her yard is huge so I offered to help her mow. Unfortunately I was wearing my white shoes and they were grass stains on them when I finished. Came home and use this product and immediately they were improved. The grass stains are all the gone! 100% recommend.

Check out these before and after pictures below:

Before Cleaning The Shoes:

Dirty Shoes Before Cleaning

After Cleaning The Shoes:

After Cleaning The Shoes

That’s a great result! In any case, I’m going to get back on topic now…

Using a damp cloth or sponge, thoroughly clean the exterior of your shoes, removing any loose dirt that might potentially harm the dryer. 

This step not only maintains the hygiene of your shoes but also safeguards your dryer from potential damage caused by loose particles.

You can check here my blog on How To Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine for an easy step-by-step guide. Having said, you are not going to want to put all types of shoes in the washer.

Here is some further reading on shoe cleaning that you might enjoy:

Step 2: Remove Insoles and Laces

After cleaning your shoes, proceed to remove the shoes insoles and laces. This simple yet effective step serves two purposes. 

  1. Firstly, it promotes even drying of your shoes by allowing air to circulate freely within them.
  2. Secondly, it prevents the shoelaces from tangling up inside the dryer, which can cause damage to both the laces and the machine itself.

Step 3: Use a Mesh Bag or Pillowcase

To further protect your shoes and your dryer drum, consider placing your shoes inside a mesh laundry bag that is dryer safe or a pillowcase. 

This containment serves as a buffer, preventing your shoes from constantly banging against the interior of the dryer during the drying process, thereby reducing the risk of damage.

Step 4: Add Towels or Dryer Balls

For an even gentler drying process, throw a couple of dry towels or dryer balls into the dryer with your shoes. 

These additional items help absorb moisture and reduce noise within the dryer during the drying cycle. They also aid in even heat distribution, ensuring your shoes dry more uniformly.

Step 5: Choose the Right Settings

When selecting the dryer settings, choosing the lowest heat setting is vital. High heat can be detrimental to the materials in your shoes, potentially causing them to warp, shrink, or become damaged. 

Opting for a longer, cooler cycle is a safer choice that ensures your shoes are dried gently.

Step 6: Check Progress Periodically

Throughout the drying cycle, periodically check on the progress of your shoes. This practice enables you to assess whether they are drying evenly and whether any issues, such as overheating or unusual noises, require immediate attention. 

Monitoring your shoe’s status helps prevent potential problems from escalating.

Step 7: Allow for Air Circulation

If your shoes have multiple layers or are exceptionally thick, consider pausing the drying cycle occasionally to allow for some air circulation. 

This step ensures that all parts of your shoes receive adequate heat and airflow, promoting thorough drying and preventing moisture retention.

Step 8: Remove and Cool Down

Once your shoes are completely dry, carefully remove them from the dryer. It’s essential to allow them to cool down before wearing them. 

Hot shoes can be uncomfortable and may even lose shape if used immediately after drying. By allowing them to cool, you ensure both comfort and the longevity of your shoes.

Other Ways to Dry Your Shoes Quickly

Here are several methods you can use to dry your shoes effectively:

Way #1: Stuff with Newspaper

Drying your shoes quickly is essential, especially after they get wet from rain or other sources. Stuffing your shoes with newspaper is a classic and effective method to speed up drying. 

Here’s how to do it:

Gather your materials:

  • Newspapers
  • Wet shoes

Remove excess moisture:

If your shoes are extremely wet, gently shake them to remove loose water.

Use a dry cloth or paper towel to blot as much moisture as possible from both the inside and outside of the shoes.

Prepare the newspapers:

Crumple up several sheets of newspaper into loose balls or wads. Make sure they are clean and dry.

You can also use paper towels or tissue paper if you don’t have newspapers available.

Stuff the shoes:

Open up the shoe as wide as possible to allow for better airflow.

Stuff the newspaper balls into the shoes, filling them completely. Make sure to reach all the way to the toe and the heel areas.

Change the newspaper periodically:

Leave the newspaper in the shoes for a few hours to absorb moisture.

Check the newspaper periodically to see if it’s damp, and replace it with fresh, dry newspaper as needed.

Depending on how wet your shoes are, this process may take several hours to a day or more.

Allow for proper airflow:

Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area while they dry. Avoid direct sunlight or extreme heat sources, as they can damage the shoes or cause them to lose their shape.

After some time, remove the newspaper and check the shoes for dryness. They should feel significantly drier than before.

If they are not completely dry, repeat the process with fresh newspaper until they are.

Remember that this method works well for many types of shoes, but be cautious with delicate or high-end materials, as excessive moisture and heat can damage them. Always allow your shoes to dry naturally to preserve their shape and quality.

Way #2: Place in the Front of a Fan

Another quick way to dry your shoes is by positioning them in front of a fan. This method relies on air circulation to expedite the drying process. 

Set up a fan so that it blows directly into your shoes, allowing the airflow to evaporate moisture. Be sure to adjust the fan’s speed and position to ensure even drying. This method is particularly convenient if you don’t want to use heat or if you need to dry your shoes in a well-ventilated area.

Way #3: Stored Inside the Box with Rice

If you have an empty shoe box and some uncooked rice on hand, you can use this method to dry your shoes. 

Fill the bottom of the shoe box with a layer of uncooked rice, and then place your wet shoes inside. The rice acts as a desiccant, absorbing moisture from the shoes. Close the lid of the box and let it sit for several hours or overnight. 

Check your shoes periodically and replace the rice if it becomes saturated. This technique is particularly useful for smaller items like sneakers or sandals.

Way #4: Use a Shoe or Boot Dryer

Investing in a specialized shoe or boot dryer can conveniently and efficiently dry your footwear quickly.

These devices are designed to provide gentle heat and airflow to expedite the drying process without causing damage to your shoes. 

This particular shoe dryer is currently listed as Amazon’s top choice:

Shoe Dryer
The Dr. Prepare Dryer For Shoes

Versatility is a key feature of the Dr. Prepare shoe dryer.

It’s compatible with a wide range of footwear, from boots and sneakers to flats, oxfords, and even kids’ shoes.

But its usefulness extends beyond just shoes—it’s equally effective for drying gloves, hats, socks, helmets, and berets.

With its quick-drying capabilities, thanks to a constant heat range of 104-122°F, this boot dryer with a heat blower can rapidly rejuvenate your footwear in just a few minutes.

Moreover, it incorporates an intelligent timer function, allowing you to tailor the drying time to suit different types of shoes and reduce energy consumption.

Designed for convenience, its 90° folding feature ensures easy portability and storage, making it a perfect companion for hiking and backpacking trips.

By promoting foot health and shoe maintenance, it also contributes to the longevity of your cherished gear, making it a valuable addition to your footwear care arsenal.

Check pricing and this shoe dryer’s reviews on Amazon.

Simply insert the dryer into your wet shoes and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some dryers even have settings for different types of materials, ensuring a safe and effective drying process. 

This method is particularly handy if you frequently need to dry wet shoes or if you live in a rainy climate.

Drying Shoes Frequently Ask Questions:

Can I Dry Shoes in the Oven?

It is generally not recommended to dry shoes in the oven. The high heat in an oven can damage the shoes, melt adhesives, or even cause them to catch fire. It’s safer to use alternative methods for drying your shoes.

Can I Take Shoes to the Dry Cleaner?

You can take certain types of shoes, such as dress shoes or delicate materials like suede or leather, to a professional dry cleaner. They have the expertise and equipment to clean and, if necessary, dry your shoes properly without damaging them.

Can I Dry Shoes in a Dryer with a Drying Rack?

Yes, you can dry shoes in a dryer with a drying rack. This method is suitable for machine-washable shoes and is not too delicate. Be sure to remove any loose dirt and secure the shoes on the rack to prevent them from tumbling around inside the dryer. Use a low heat setting to avoid damaging the shoes.

Can You Dry Shoes with a Hairdryer?

Yes, you can use a hairdryer to dry your shoes. This method is particularly useful for quickly drying specific spots or small areas of the shoes.

Use a low to medium heat setting, and keep the hairdryer moving to prevent overheating or melting any components of the shoes. Make sure to maintain a safe distance from the shoes to avoid damage or injury.

Personally, I’d get a shoe dryer instead. That are not that expensive and will work a lot better.

Can I Put My Shoes in the Dryer? My Final Thoughts

I’ve been in situations where I needed to dry my shoes quickly, and I must admit, using the dryer was never my first choice. However, it has worked out fine for me on occasion. If you’re short on time and your shoes can handle it, tossing them in the dryer can be a lifesaver.

But if you prefer a gentler approach, there are other options that have worked well for me too. Stuffing your shoes with newspaper, setting them in front of a fan, or even placing them in a box with some rice can do the trick.

For those who find themselves frequently needing to dry their shoes in a hurry, investing in a shoe or boot dryer is a smart move. It’s a more reliable and controlled method that ensures your shoes come out dry and undamaged.

Regardless of which method you choose, make sure to let your shoes cool down completely before wearing them again. This not only prevents discomfort but also helps extend the life of your footwear.

When deciding how to dry your shoes, consider their type, how soaked they are, and how urgently you need them. By following these tips, you can safely and effectively dry your shoes without causing any harm.