How to Dry Shoes in the Dryer & Fabric Concerns
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Are your shoes looking a bit scuffed or dirty? Before going out and buying a new pair, you might wash them, but then you're left with wet shoes. Knowing exactly how to dry shoes in the dryer can save you so much annoyance.
Or are you coming in from a rainy day with soggy shoes, and looking for a quick way to dry them out? Throwing them in the dryer after a fresh wash or stormy weather is your best bet to make sure your kicks are completely dry!
But, the dryer can be hard on your favorite shoes, even causing them to deteriorate quicker or shrink. Check out these tips to ensure your shoes survive the dryer and come out looking and feeling like new.
How to Dry Wet Shoes Quickly
When you first get home and take off your soaking-wet shoes, a few quick steps can save them from permanent damage. Of course you'll wash them first, or at least a solid rinsing, so your laundry room doesn't smell like a sewer like your wet socks will!
1) Do a quick pat dry with paper towels or rags, wiping off all the excess water and mud stuck to your shoes. This is a great time to clean your shoes too.
2) Remove the insoles and the laces (if applicable) and dry these separately. Insoles are often a fabric or similar material that does better in the dryer, much like laces.
3) If you are air drying your shoes before you throw them in the dryer, stuff them with pieces of newspaper to help retain their shape. If your shoes are particularly soaked, you might have to replace the newspaper a few times.
4) Place your shoes in a well-ventilated area to ensure a quicker drying time. Make sure the shoes are as open as possible, with the tongue out.
It only takes a short time in a puddle to ruin your shoes, and these simple steps can save them. Now lets talk about putting shoes in the dryer and the considerations you need to take concerning the fabric they're made out of first.
Shoe Material Matters
Before you throw your wet shoes in the dryer, make sure you read the care label. You can usually find the label inside the tongue, along the inner sole of a high heel, or on the side of the arch.
Knowing the type of fabric your shoes are made out of is important. Some materials dry well in the dryer, while others can shrink or even melt in the heat.
Most types of fabric shoes are safe to put in the dryer, but there are some things to keep in mind. Before asking how to dry shoes in the dryer, ask if your shoe fabric is even dryer-compatible.
Anything made from polyester does great in the dryer and rarely shrinks, even on higher heat settings. Shoes made out of polyester will be fine in the dryer if you follow the care instructions and use a lower heat setting.
Shoes made from cotton can shrink, particularly the first few times it’s washed and dried. To prevent any unwanted shrinkage, try stuffing your cotton-made shoes with other cloth items like washcloths or socks. This step helps shoes retain the original, desired shape.
Nylon shoes don’t hold up well to heat and can melt inside your dryer. It’s best to use the lowest dryer setting and keep a close eye on it to be safe. This will also help keep the nylon from shrinking in the dryer, which is more rare but can happen.
Leather & Suede Shoes
Never put leather and suede in the dryer under any circumstances. Any heat setting can severely damage your expensive leather loafers or swanky suede boots. The dryer causes leather to warp, crease, and fade… everything you don’t want to happen to your favorite pair of shoes. Things will get worse if you try to renew the dried out leather with mineral oil, too. Just avoid this disaster altogether.
Other Shoe Materials
Can you put shoes in the dryer? Only after checking all of the materials they're made from. Shoes are made from a wide variety of materials these days, other than typical fabrics and leathers. Check out these tips for materials like plastic and more.
- Rubber, plastic, and foam tend to be disastrous in the dryer. Save your cute rain boots, fun jelly shoes, and foam-lined sneakers by stuffing them with newspaper to air dry.
- Pleather is manufactured plastic. So, no matter how real they look, you should air-dry pleather boots and vegan booties to prevent them from melting.
- Remember when you took the liner out of your shoes? Try leaving it out to air dry, especially if you have gel insoles. The heat from the dryer can melt the comfortable gel right out of your insoles, causing the arch to droop and the shape to be lost.
Take care to follow the care directions, and if it recommends not drying them, don’t risk it. When in doubt about the shoe’s material and how it will fare in the dryer, like with a thrifted or vintage pair without a care label, it’s safest to skip the dryer altogether.
How to Dry Shoes In a Dryer in 4 Steps
If you have dryer-safe shoes, follow these tips to ensure they dry evenly and end up looking as good as new. Freshly dry shoes feel as good as new, too, so let's walk through the procedure.
1) Prep Your Shoes
Drain any excess water and remove any caked-on mud, pebbles, or stuck-on mess (like gum) before drying them. If you stuffed your shoes with newspaper, take it out now.
Replace the newspaper with rolled-up socks or other dryer-safe fabric that will help the shoes retain their shape. This is especially important for sneakers in the dryer or you'll find the shoe laces get all discombobulated.
Make sure you have cleaned out the lint trap. Not only is lint a fire hazard in your laundry room, but it can even increase the drying time of any items inside.
You can dry your shoes with old towels, wool dryer balls, dryer sheets, and most dryer sheet alternatives. For an extra scent boost for particularly smelly shoes, use a few drops of essential oil like lemon or lavender on your wool dryer balls before you place them inside.
2) Take Preventative Measures
Preventing your shoes from banging around the tub of your dryer is crucial. It not only helps your shoes last longer but also prevents any unwanted dents in your dryer. It's a critical aspect of how to dry shoes in the dryer properly. The weight imbalance can lead to a squeaky dryer that could be dangerous as time progresses.
If your dryer has an internal drying rack and a stationary setting, drying your shoes is a perfect opportunity to try it out. Set up the rack, select the stationary setting, and place your shoes inside. All the drying without the tumbling!
3) DIY Tips & Tricks
If your dryer doesn’t have an internal rack or stationary setting, you have options. Try out a mesh dryer bag that is specially designed for shoes. It fits around your dryer door, and you can slide a pair of wet sneakers right inside, making it easy to dry your shoes without the soles hitting the sides of the dryer as it spins.
You can also tie your shoelaces together and tuck them in the dryer door, closing it firmly. This hack works best with a front-loading dryer. It helps keep your dryer and washing machine from moving around with the uneven load.
A mesh bag is another alternative that protects your shoes and keeps them attached to the dryer door. There are even options on the market that attach to your dryer with a magnet or suction cup, keeping your shoes in place while they dry.
Try loading your dryer with your shoes and other freshly laundered items, like towels or other casual clothing, to cushion your shoes during the drying cycle. As long as you cleaned your shoes well beforehand, there should be no problem with your items, and everything will come out fresh and dry.
4) Watch & Dry
The key to drying your shoes is to keep the heat low, so select the air-dry or delicate setting on your dryer, whichever is the lowest. During the dry cycle, stay close by and periodically check on your shoes to make sure they are drying properly without incurring any damage.
When the cycle finishes or when the shoes are dry, remove your shoes from the dryer. They should be dry and warm, but not hot to the touch. Make sure your insoles and laces are dry before returning them to your shoes. When you’re done, you should have a completely dry, ready-to-wear pair of shoes that look as good as the day you bought them!
And That's How to Dry Shoes in the Dryer!
As tempting as it may seem to just throw your wet shoes in the dryer, the heat may just ruin your favorite pair, depending on the material. Thankfully taking care of your shoes in wet weather or after a thorough cleaning is easy with just a few simple steps.
The most important part of how to dry shoes in the dryer is to follow the care label. Then, using some DIY tips and tricks and keeping an eye on the dryer cycle, you'll have a perfectly fine time drying your favorite pair of shoes.