Can You Dry Shoes in the Dryer?

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Our shoes are some of the dirtiest items that we own. We wear them in places where there are lots of germs. It’s a major convenience when we can wash and dry them at home. But can you put shoes in the dryer?

Yes! You can definitely dry shoes in the dryer. In fact, it’s a great way to speed up the drying process, especially if you’re in a hurry. Just make sure to use low heat and remove them as soon as they’re dry to avoid damaging the material.

Let’s dive in a bit deeper to make sure you know how to dry your shoes without damaging them or the drying machine, as well as other options when it comes to drying shoes.

Photo of a pair of shoes placed in the dryer

Is It Safe to Put Shoes in a Dryer?

Generally speaking, yes, it is safe to put shoes in a dryer. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to avoid damaging your shoes or the dryer itself:

1. Read the Labels

For starters, always take a look at the care label on your shoes before putting them in the dryer. This will give you specific instructions on whether or not it’s safe to put them in the dryer and what settings to use.

If the care label says “dry clean only,” then it’s not safe to put them in the dryer. The same goes for shoes with a large number of metal embellishments or those made of delicate materials like satin or silk.

2. Use Low Heat

If the care label or manufacturer says it’s safe to put your shoes in the dryer, make sure to use low heat. High heat can damage the material of your shoes and cause them to shrink.

Choose between a low, medium, or fluff setting.

Some shoes, like those made of rubber or plastic, can only be dried on the fluff setting for air drying. This is because they can melt on high heat.

3. Don’t Overdry Them

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never over-dry your shoes. This can also damage the material and cause them to shrink.

So make sure to remove them from the dryer as soon as they’re done and don’t let them sit in there for too long.

4. Try To Dry Them Outside First

Pair of blue denim colored shoes hanging on the line to dry

If you can, try to dry your shoes outside first before putting them in the dryer. This will help them last longer and keep them from getting too damaged.

5. Avoid Putting Certain Types of Shoes in the Dryer

There are certain shoes that will be damaged when put into the dryer. For example, suede and leather are not meant to go in the dryer.

They will over dry and eventually crack, which will destroy your shoes.

If you have lots of accessories on your shoes such as gemstones, glitter, rhinestones, or sequins, it’s best to avoid the dryer as well. The heat can cause these things to fall off or melt.

The same goes for shoes with a lot of metal embellishments. The heat can cause the metal to warp and damage your shoes.

You should also be careful when it comes to gel sole shoes, such as those used for running. The heat can cause the gel to melt and ruin your shoes.

How Do You Dry Wet Shoes in the Dryer?

Now that you know how to avoid damage while drying your shoes in the dryer, let’s take a look at how to actually do it.

1. Clean Any Mud or Dirt Off First

Brushing the under side part of the shoes using brush over a sink

If your shoes are covered in mud or dirt, it’s important to clean them off first. Otherwise, the mud will just get all over your dryer and could end up ruining other clothes.

You should also keep an eye out for small stones or other hard debris that could harm your drying machine.

To clean them off, you can use a brush or a damp cloth. Make sure to remove any removable parts such as inserts before cleaning.

2. Do a Deeper Cleaning

Now that mud and dirt are removed from your shoe, it’s a good time to disinfect them. This is especially important if you’ve been wearing them in public places where you could have picked up germs.

To disinfect your shoes, you can use a gentle cleaner or diluted vinegar solution. Just make sure to rinse them off thoroughly afterward so they don’t end up smelling like vinegar.

You can also put your shoes in the washing machine on a gentle cycle if they’re made of materials that can handle it. Just make sure to use a mild detergent and no fabric softener.

If you’re not sure whether or not your shoes can go in the washing machine, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and hand wash them instead.

3. Put Fabrics Inside Your Shoes

Once your shoes are clean and dry, it’s time to put them in the dryer. But before you do, you’ll want to stuff them with fabrics.

This will help absorb any moisture inside your shoes and speed up the drying process. You can use things like old towels, shirts, socks, or even paper towels.

It also helps to prevent shrinking so that your shoes will keep their shape.

4. Empty the Lint Trap

A clean lint trap of a dryer

Before you put your shoes in the dryer, make sure to empty the lint trap. Otherwise, all that lint will just end up stuck to your shoes.

Not only will this help get your shoe cleaner, but it will also shorten the drying time as well.

5. Tie the Shoelaces Together

If your shoes have laces, it’s a good idea to tie the shoe strings together before putting them in the dryer. This will prevent them from getting tangled and ruining your shoes.

It also helps to put them in a mesh laundry bag if you have one. This will protect them from damage and keep them from getting lost in the dryer.

If you don’t have a mesh bag or laces on your shoes, you can just tie the shoes together with a rubber band or piece of string.

6. Try to Use Low Heat or Air Dry Setting

You might be tempted to put your shoes on the highest heat setting to get them dry as quickly as possible. But this is a bad idea because it can damage your shoes.

Instead, try to use the lowest heat setting that will still get the job done. This will help prevent any shrinkage or damage to your shoes.

An air dry cycle will do the least damage to your shoes, but will take more time overall.

You should also put your shoes in the dryer for a shorter amount of time. If they’re still wet after one cycle, you can always put them back in for another cycle.

Try to check your wet shoes every 20 minutes at the latest to make sure you don’t over-dry them.

Will Putting Shoes in the Dryer Damage the Dryer?

If you follow the tips above, you shouldn’t have any problems drying your shoes in the dryer. But if you’re still worried about damaging your machine, there are a few things you can do to prevent that.

Your clothes dryer is made up of two main parts: the drum and the heating element. The drum is where your clothes go and it’s made of metal.

The heating element is what actually dries your clothes and it’s usually located near the bottom of the dryer.

The good news is that shoes are not likely to damage either of these parts. The metal in the drum is very strong and it can handle the weight of shoes without any problems.

And as long as you don’t put your shoes on the highest heat setting, the heating element shouldn’t be in any danger either.

The only part of your dryer that could potentially be damaged by shoes is the drum if there is a lot of sediment on your shoes when you place them in the dryer.

You may notice that the sediment creates small dents in the dryer door or drum area of your machine.

Clean your shoes before placing them in the dryer to prevent this from happening. You should also clean your dryer regularly to remove any built-up sediment.

How Can I Dry My Shoes Fast?

Here are some other ways that you can dry your shoes quickly:

1. Place them in front of a fan

This will help circulate the air and dry your shoes faster.

2. Use a hair dryer

Set the hair dryer on the cool setting and hold it about six inches away from your shoes. Move the hair dryer around so that all parts of the shoe are evenly exposed to the air.

3. Place them in direct sunlight

This is only a good option if it’s not too hot outside. The heat from the sun will help dry your shoes quickly. Make sure not to leave your shoes too long. You don’t want the sun to fade any colors.

4. Use a shoe dryer

There are special dryers made specifically for drying shoes. These can be a bit pricey, but they’re very effective.

They work by circulating air around your shoes and can dry them in as little as 30 minutes. However, they are more expensive than other options.

Air drying is the best option for drying shoes, but if you’re in a hurry, these other methods will do the job.

How To Remove Odors From Wet Shoes

One unpleasant side effect of wet fabric shoes is that an odor may develop when your shoe materials are exposed to warm air.

After a few hours of time sitting in moisture, you may sniff your shoes to find a new smell has developed.

When this happens, don’t despair. There are a few things you can do to remove the odor:

1. Sprinkle Baking Soda Inside the Shoes

Baking soda is a natural odor absorber (it’s also great for cleaning colored shoes). Just sprinkle some inside your wet shoes and let them sit for a few hours.

Then, dump the baking soda out and let your shoes air out for a bit before wearing them.

2. Place Your Shoes in the Freezer

This might sound strange, but it actually works. Wet shoes can develop mold and mildew if they’re not dried properly.

Placing them in the freezer will kill any mold or mildew spores that might be present.

Just make sure you let your shoes thaw out completely before wearing them, or you’ll end up with cold, wet feet. So give yourself enough time for this process.

3. Make a Vinegar Solution

Vinegar is another natural odor absorber. Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a bowl and place your shoes in the solution.

Let them soak for a few hours, then remove them and let them air dry. You can also put the mixture in a spray bottle and use it for maintenance to prevent odors.

4. Use a Shoe Cleaner or Deodorizer

There are many commercial products available that are designed to remove odors from shoes. You can find these at most shoe stores or online.

Some products focus on reducing odors, while others can help to remove stains or dirt.

Some are designed with certain materials so that you can rest assured that your shoes (such as suede shoes) won’t be damaged in the deodorizing process.

Read the labels to find a product that’s right for your needs.

5. Use a Spray Disinfectant

If you’re worried about the possibility of bacteria or fungus, you can use a spray disinfectant on your shoes. Just be sure to follow the directions on the label.

Some great options include Odoban, Lysol, or Clorox. Make sure to ventilate the area well when using these products.

How To Dry Leather Shoes

Leather shoes can take a bit longer to dry than other types of shoes. You’ll need to be patient and allow them to air dry slowly.

Here are some tips for drying leather shoes:

1. Wipe Them Down With a Dry Cloth

cleaning a leather shoe with a clean cloth while he other hand is inside the shoe to hold steady

Remove as much water as possible by wiping your shoes with a dry cloth. Be sure to use a soft cloth so that you don’t damage the leather.

2. Stuff Them With Newspaper

To help your shoes retain their shape, stuff them with newspaper. This will also help to absorb any remaining moisture.

It will also help to preserve your shoes’ natural shape so that you have a great fit.

3. Place Them in Front of a Fan

A fan will help circulate the air and speed up the drying process. Just be sure the fan is not blowing directly on your shoes, as this can cause them to crack.

Keep your suede or leather shoes at least one foot away from the fan blades.

4. Place Them in Front of a Heater

If it’s cold outside, you can place your shoes in front of a heater. Just be sure the heater is not too close to your shoes, as this can also cause them to crack.

The Bottom Line

Shoes get wet all the time. Whether you have suede shoes, canvas shoes, tennis shoes, or any other variety, it’s important to get them as dry as soon as possible.

Drying your shoes quickly helps to reduce the chances of developing an odor in the fabric. It also helps to prevent mold and mildew from growing.

The dryer is one of the quickest and safest ways to get most shoe types completely dry. Make sure to keep an eye out for the care instructions so that you don’t damage your shoes.

So there you have it! A few different ways that you can dry your shoes, depending on what type of shoe you have. Be sure to try a few of these methods the next time your shoes get wet!

And if you have any other great tips, be sure to share them in the comments below!

Photo of a hand holding a pair of white shoes in front of a dryer whit text overlay that reads Can You Dry Shoes in the Dryer

About Emma

Hey there! I'm Emma. When I'm not wrangling kids I like to walk aimlessly around hardware stores and watch HGTV for hours on end.