Can You Put Shoes in Dryer? Here’s Why You May Want to Avoid It

Have you ever been soaked to the skin in a downpour? When arriving home, complete with soggy shoes, did the thought cross your mind, what is the quickest way to dry them?

Our question for today is: can you put shoes in dryer?

In our quest to speed up the laundry, the dryer is a lifesaver. Surely it could do the same for shoes? Before you go ahead and give your kicks a spin, it’s imperative to consider a few things. For instance, could the machine damage your footwear or vice versa? We’ll answer this query today.

  • Check the label.
  • Inspect the materials.
  • Use only low heat.
  • Don’t overdry.
  • Try an alternative method.


What Would Happen If You Put Your Shoes in the Dryer?

Putting shoes in dryer might be the first thing we think of when we want a quick solution. However, you should be careful—not all types of footwear can withstand the heat and tumbling. Some may shrink and others can melt.

In saying this, if your shoes consist of durable materials, an occasional trip in the dryer might be okay. But, it should always be on a low heat.

Before you go ahead and use the dryer, consult the footwear care label to find out what materials it consists of. If it doesn’t possess such information, check online by searching on the model name and manufacturer.

If your footwear is made of any of the following materials, you should think twice before using the dryer:

  • Pure nylon—although it’s durable, sheer nylon can’t withstand the high temperature inside a dryer.
  • Polyester— this fabric can melt or warp when exposed to heat.
  • Rayon is a human-manufactured fabric made from natural resources, including agricultural products and wood. These are then regenerated as a cellulose fiber. Although it doesn’t melt quickly, it may discolor or burn under high heat conditions.
  • For shoes with nylon stickers, sequins or other embellishments, it’s best to avoid using the dryer. There’s a big chance that they’ll fall off, loosen or suffer damage.
  • Animal-based materials, such as leather, suede, sheepskin or fur, aren’t suitable for the dryer. These can suffer unsightly damage and shrink. If you want to know how to clean such shoes, we have another article here.


Can You Put Sneakers in the Dryer?

If your sneakers have some form of foam padding (like running or training shoes), the tumbling action could damage the integrity of the shoe.

As they’re bumping around the dryer, it affects the foam in the sole and cushioning. This may alter the overall feel and performance of the footwear.

Apart from the tumbling, the heat can do serious damage to certain materials. If your shoes contain any of the elements mentioned earlier, you could risk considerable destruction.


Tennis Shoes in Dryer?

They’re often considered our everyday choice of footwear, which is why tennis shoes frequently require cleaning. However, the same rules apply—many shoes of varying materials fall under the category “tennis shoe.” Because of this, you must consult the care label on your shoes.

If it’s a green light for the dryer, remember to set it on a low or no heat. Also, avoid daily drying—keep it to a minimum, for example, during emergencies.


How to Dry Shoes in Dryer

If you’re determined to try your luck with the dryer, we have some tips for you. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to dry shoes in the dryer:

  1. Check the label: We can’t stress this step enough—always check the tag in your shoe for cleaning instructions. If you find a square with an “X,” it means that the manufacturer doesn’t recommend using the dryer.
  2. Think about what your shoe is made of: To see which materials are a no-go, refer to our list above.
  3. Tie the shoes together by the laces: Once you’re ready for the dryer, tie the shoelaces. Try to tighten so that the shoes are close to each other.
  4. Hang the shoes: When you place them in the machine, drape the laces over the door and close it. The door holds the laces in place, preventing the shoes from tumbling around. You can use this trick with front and top-loading machines.
  5. Use the air-dry setting: The best setting to use is air-dry (no heat). However, if your machine doesn’t have this option, program it to the lowest temperature available. Remember, the lower the heat, the lower the chance of damage to your shoes.
  6. Dry for 20 minutes: Leave the machine to work for approximately 20 minutes—then stop and check the shoes. Open the door carefully and catch them before they fall. Feel the inside of the shoe—if it’s still moist or wet, dry them for an additional five minutes.

Please watch this video for a visual on how to place the shoes in the dryer.


Pro Tips

  • If your machine has a drying rack, you can use that instead of hanging your shoes from the door. After you’ve slid the rack in place, place your wet shoes on top and then close the door. Let the machine work and check after 20 minutes.
  • Before placing your shoes in the dryer, take out any removable insoles. These are particularly susceptible to warping, so it’s best not to expose them to the dryer.
  • Avoid placing dirty footwear in the dryer. If your shoes are wet and muddy after an outing, clean them first. Most can easily be cleaned in the washer. A gentle spin cycle will remove any excess water.
  • Remove the lint filter from the machine. When it’s in place, less air circulates.
  • Place small hand towels inside the shoes before popping them in the dryer. The fabric will help to absorb excess water. This isn’t a necessity but can help if your shoes are soaking, and it will preserve the shape.
  • If you don’t have a drying rack and you can’t suspend the shoes from the door, place one or two large towels in the machine. These provide cushioning, which minimizes noise and may speed up the drying process.
  • Don’t overdry your shoes. Limit time spent in the dryer to a maximum of 20 minutes.


Will Putting Shoes in the Dryer Damage the Dryer?

Put Shoes in Dryer

Dryers are relatively durable, but, just like your shoes, they can suffer damage when you place heavy items in them. The best way to avoid harm is to follow the tips above, especially about suspending the shoes from the door.

You should always avoid putting loose shoes in the dryer. When you put free shoes inside the machine, the repeated tumbles and banging can cause damage to the interior. It can also ruin your kicks.

You can, however, cushion them with towels or even clothes. A good tip is to place them in a laundry bag along with a few towels. This will act as padding, minimizing the damage.

Although, to eliminate any risk of ruining your shoes and machine is to simply avoid using it.


Alternative Ways to Dry Shoes

If you’ve got the time or prefer not to risk it with the dryer, there are plenty of other ways to dry your shoes. It’s all about creativity. If you have wet boots, a special boot dryer could resolve the issue, which we expand on in our best boot dryers review here.

Otherwise, here are a few ideas:

Newspaper Wrap

All you need is a newspaper. This is what you’ll do:

  1. Take out the insoles: These are usually thick and will slow down the drying time, so make sure to remove them. If you are unable to, skip this step.
  2. Scrunch up a few pages: take one or two scrunched pages and place inside each shoe.
  3. Wrap it up: Grab three or four stacked pages and wrap the entire shoe.
  4. Replace the newspaper: following one to two hours, change the paper for fresh and dry pages. Repeat until all moisture is absorbed.

Here’s a video showing another way to dry your shoes with newspaper.


Dry Rice

This method is straightforward. You’ll need a few packets of rice and a container with a lid that is large enough to hold your shoes. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Fill the box with approximately an inch of rice.
  2. Place the shoes on top. Arrange them so that each shoe is in contact with the rice. You don’t have to immerse them in the grains, but you can sprinkle some inside.
  3. Cover the container with the lid and let it sit for three to four hours.
  4. Once the time is up, check if they’re still wet. If so, place them back into the container and check again in another hour.


Avoid the Dryer

Can you put shoes in dryer? Yes and no—it depends significantly on the type of shoe and material used. Some fabrics and fibers can’t handle the extreme heat of a dryer, not to mention the rough tumbling.

Before you decide, make sure you check the care label on your shoes. Some materials are better suited to the dryer than others. To avoid the rigorous banging, suspend your shoes by the laces over the machine’s door. Plus, always use an air-dry or low heat setting.

Do you have any tips for drying shoes? We’d love to see some creative ideas in the section below.



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