The Right Way to Drying Shoes in the Dryer

Can you dry shoes in the dryer or will this cause damage to both the shoes and dryer?


There are lots of guides on drying shoes, and they all recommend you dry them in the dryer.

However, this is a recipe for disaster without the right know-how.

I am going to explain why shoes can be dried in the dryer, some dos and don’t, and how to do it the right way.

Can You Dry Shoes in the Dryer?

Yes this is 100% possible. But keep in mind that there is a right way and wrong way.

The wrong way can warp, discolor and even soften adhesives and make the shoe fall apart.

The wrong way is throwing the shoes in willy-nilly without worrying about temperature, time in the dryer and letting them bang around.

However, the right way is to hang them over the door and bring the temperature WAY down.

I will explain the entire process in a step-by-step manner below so you avoid the mistake of damaging your shoes for good.

The Simple Step-By-Step Process to Machine Drying Shoes

So as mentioned above, it is definitely possible to dry shoes in the dryer but it has to be done with caution.

Here’s how to do it the right way:

1. First and foremost, check the shoe label to see if they can actually be machine dried. If the label has come off or unable to be seen, you can usually dry cotton, canvas and polyester shoes

Note: Remove the insoles and air dry them instead (to eliminate warping)

2. Tie the laces together, hang them over the door and close it. This can be done with a front and top-loader dryer

3. Use a drying rack if possible. Some dryers come with racks specifically designed to hold shoes

4. Use no heat to dry your shoes (air dry). Of course only some dryers have no heat settings, but if yours does not, use the lowest setting instead

Note: Warm or hot settings will cause the shoe to shrink as it dries

5. Turn it on for 10 minutes

6. Check the insides of the shoe after 10 minutes. If they are still wet, dry them for another 5 minutes.

Note: Repeat in 5 minute increments until fully dry

Avoid Machine Drying Expensive Shoes

Yes it is possible to dry expensive shoes in the dryer, however, it may permanently damage your $200+ shoes in a matter of 10 minutes.

Even if you follow this guide, there is still some risk to accidentally setting the wrong temperature, not checking if the material is good to go in the dryer or forgetting to set the timer.

Plus the shoes shrink slightly after every dry, which I’ll talk about in a second.

So if you’re going to machine dry your shoes, I only recommend it for cheap ones.

That way you’re not completely upset if you accidentally make a mistake and ruin your shoes.

An alternative to drying more expensive shoes is to hang them outside, somewhere away from the sun to eliminate sun damage.

Don’t Machine Dry Shoes All the Time

Machine drying shoes should only be done every once in a while.

A good rule of thumb is once every 2 months.

Over time the shoes actually shrink a fraction every time they are dried.

This is lowering the quality and performance of the shoe, which is going to decrease the overall lifespan.

I recommend alternating between air drying and machine drying to slow down the damage the dryer causes.

Unless you avoid the dryer altogether you can increase longevity.

Avoid Leather, Animal-Based Fabrics and Suede

Animal-based fabrics, leather and suede are all too delicate to be put in a machine to dry.

These materials aren’t designed to be 100% dry.

The dryer will dry them out too much and cause the material to crack

When Closing the Door on Laces Isn’t Possible

In some instances, tying the laces together and hanging over the door isn’t possible.

Do you just throw them in the dryer and let them bang around?

Absolutely not, this will only damage the shoes.

Instead put the shoes in a dryer bag with about 5 towels.

This will stop the shoes damaging the inside of the dryer and outside of the shoes!

Have You Washed the Shoes Properly First?

Of course before putting your shoes in the dryer you need to make sure you’ve washed them PROPERLY.

Washing is just as important as drying, if not more.

There are multiple different ways, but my recommendations are hand washing and machine washing.

Hand washing is for expensive shoes and machine washing is for cheap shoes you don’t mind getting risking damaged.

Here’s my ultimate shoe washing guide

Wrapping Up

This concludes my guide on machine drying shoes.

I want you to keep in mind that no matter what you do, even if you follow my step-by-step guide, there will always be risks involved.

There is no foolproof guide (yet) but there are ways to prevent accidental damages as much as possible, and that’s what I have provided you with in this article.

I hope you learnt a thing or two and that you have a great day.

Please add your own tips and techniques in the comments below. We would love to hear them!

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