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Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer? A Comprehensive Guide

Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer


When it comes to doing laundry, most of us are familiar with the routine of tossing clothes and linens into the washing machine, followed by a trip to the dryer. But what about shoes? Can you put them in the dryer, or is that a recipe for disaster? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of drying shoes in the machine and provide some tips to ensure you don’t end up with misshapen or damaged footwear.

Pros of Putting Shoes in the Dryer:

  • Time Efficiency:

Drying shoes in the dryer can be a quick and convenient way to expedite the drying process. This is especially beneficial if you need your favorite pair of sneakers ready for an event or activity.

  • Odor Elimination:

The high heat in the dryer not only dries the shoes but also helps eliminate unpleasant odors. It can be an effective method for refreshing your shoes, especially if they’ve been subjected to sweat or moisture.

  • Mold and Mildew Prevention:

Quick and thorough drying can prevent the growth of mold and mildew in your shoes, especially if they’ve been exposed to damp conditions.

Cons of Putting Shoes in the Dryer:

Potential Damage:

The most significant drawback of putting shoes in the dryer is the potential for damage. The heat and tumbling action can affect the shoe’s structure, causing misshaping or even more severe damage.

Noise and Wear:

The tumbling action of the dryer can create a significant amount of noise, and this, coupled with the friction, can cause accelerated wear and tear on the shoes.


Certain materials, like leather or synthetic fabrics, may not react well to the high heat of the dryer, leading to shrinkage. This can result in an uncomfortable fit and even ruin the shoes.

Color Fading:

Vibrant or delicate colors on your shoes may fade when exposed to the heat of the dryer. This can diminish the aesthetic appeal of your footwear, affecting their overall appearance.

Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer

Tips for Safely Drying Shoes in the Dryer:

  • Remove Insoles and Laces:

Before placing your shoes in the dryer, remove the insoles and laces. This not only helps the shoes dry more evenly but also prevents potential damage to these components.

  • Use a Mesh Bag:

Place the shoes in a mesh laundry bag to protect them from direct contact with the dryer’s drum. This can help reduce the risk of scuffing or other damage.

  • Choose a Low Heat Setting:

Opt for a low heat setting on your dryer to minimize the risk of damage to the shoes. High heat can cause materials to break down, resulting in misshapen or shrunken shoes.

  • Add Towels:

Toss a couple of dry towels into the dryer with the shoes. This not only helps absorb excess moisture but also provides a buffer that can protect your shoes during the drying process.

  • Check Manufacturer Guidelines:

Always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific shoes. Some shoes may come with specific recommendations or warnings regarding machine drying.

  • Alternate Drying Methods:

If you’re hesitant about using the dryer, consider alternative methods such as air-drying or using a shoe rack. Air-drying, especially in a well-ventilated area, is a gentler option that reduces the risk of damage.

Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer

Personal Suggestions: Mastering the Art of Shoe Drying

  • Know Your Shoes:

Before embarking on the shoe-drying adventure, familiarize yourself with the materials and construction of your footwear. Different shoes may require specific care, so understanding their composition is key.

  • Air-Drying First:

Whenever possible, opt for air-drying as the initial method. Allow your shoes to breathe naturally, reducing the reliance on mechanical dryers and minimizing the risk of heat-related damage.

  • Invest in Shoe Trees:

Consider using shoe trees to help maintain the shape of your shoes during the drying process. These handy devices absorb excess moisture and provide structural support, preventing undesirable changes to your footwear.

  • Temperature Sensitivity:

Pay close attention to temperature settings on your dryer. Lower heat settings are generally safer for a variety of shoe materials, helping to prevent shrinkage, color fading, and other forms of damage.

  • Remove Accessories:

Before subjecting your shoes to the dryer, take the time to remove any detachable accessories, such as insoles, laces, or embellishments. This not only aids in a more even drying process but also safeguards these components from potential harm.

  • Test with Caution:

If you’re unsure about how a particular pair of shoes will react to the dryer, conduct a small-scale test first. Choose a low heat setting, monitor the process closely, and assess the results before drying your favorite pair.

  • Mesh Laundry Bags:

Employing mesh laundry bags provides an additional layer of protection for your shoes, preventing direct contact with the dryer’s drum and minimizing the risk of scuffing or abrasions.

  • Regular Maintenance:

Incorporate regular maintenance into your shoe care routine. Clean your shoes regularly, address moisture promptly, and inspect for any signs of wear or damage. These practices contribute to the longevity of your footwear.

  • Manufacturer Guidelines:

Always adhere to the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. These guidelines are tailored to the specific materials and design of your shoes, offering valuable insights into the best practices for cleaning and drying.

  • Embrace Alternatives:

Explore alternative drying methods, such as using a shoe rack or positioning your shoes near a fan. This approach allows for gentler drying and can be particularly beneficial for delicate or high-end footwear.

Remember, the journey of shoe drying is as unique as the shoes themselves. By incorporating these personalized suggestions into your routine, you’ll navigate the process with confidence, ensuring your footwear remains in top-notch condition for countless adventures to come.


In the unpredictable world of shoe drying, where each pair has its own tale to tell, one must tread the shoestring trail with a blend of caution and care. As we’ve explored the intricacies of this process, it’s evident that the convenience of a dryer comes with its own set of risks and rewards.

Understanding your shoes is the first step towards ensuring their longevity. Take note of materials, construction, and specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Whether leather, canvas, or high-tech athletic shoes, each type demands a unique approach.

While the allure of a rapid drying cycle is undeniable, embracing the art of patience through air-drying, especially in the initial stages, can be a wise choice. This method allows shoes to breathe naturally, reducing the reliance on mechanical forces and preserving their original form.

Temperature sensitivity is a crucial factor. Low heat settings act as a safeguard against shrinkage, color fading, and structural damage. Always err on the side of caution, and if in doubt, conduct a trial run before subjecting your favorite pair to the full drying regimen.

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Accessories matter, too. Removing insoles, laces, and any embellishments ensures a more even drying process, preventing potential harm to these integral components. Mesh laundry bags can add an extra layer of protection, minimizing the risk of scuffing during the tumultuous tumble.

Embrace a proactive stance toward shoe maintenance. Regular cleaning, prompt moisture management, and routine inspections are key to preserving the lifespan of your footwear. Think of it as an investment in comfort and style.

As we conclude this shoe-drying expedition, it’s essential to remember that alternatives exist. Shoe racks, fans, and other gentler methods can be viable options, especially for delicate or cherished pairs that require a more tender touch.

In the grand narrative of shoe care, your personal journey unfolds—one shoe at a time. By incorporating these suggestions and navigating with a keen eye, you’ll stride confidently through the chapters, ensuring that each pair is ready for the next adventure, unscathed and ever-ready to hit the ground running.

Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer

Frequently Asked Questions About Drying Shoes: Your Comprehensive Guide

Can I put all types of shoes in the dryer?

The suitability of shoes for the dryer depends on their materials. While athletic shoes and sneakers may fare well, delicate or high-end materials like leather may not react favorably to the heat. Always check manufacturer guidelines.

How can I prevent my shoes from getting damaged in the dryer?

Remove insoles, laces, and any detachable accessories before drying. Using a mesh laundry bag and opting for a low heat setting can also minimize the risk of damage.

What’s the best method for drying shoes if I don’t want to use the dryer?

Air-drying is a gentle alternative. Remove excess moisture with a towel, stuff shoes with newspaper to absorb remaining dampness, and let them dry naturally in a well-ventilated area.

Will putting shoes in the dryer cause them to shrink?

Yes, certain materials, such as leather or synthetic fabrics, may shrink when exposed to high heat. Choosing a low heat setting helps mitigate this risk.

How long does it take to dry shoes in the dryer?

Drying time varies based on the type of shoes, materials, and the heat setting used. On average, it may take 30 minutes to an hour, but check periodically to avoid over-drying.

Can I speed up the drying process by using higher heat settings?

While higher heat settings may expedite drying, they also increase the risk of damage, including shrinkage and color fading. It’s generally recommended to use a low heat setting.

Are there any materials that should never go in the dryer?

Delicate materials such as silk, satin, or certain types of leather are best kept away from the dryer. Always check care labels or manufacturer instructions for specific guidelines.

Can I dry my wet shoes by placing them directly on a heater or radiator?

Direct heat sources like heaters or radiators can be harsh on shoes, causing them to lose shape or crack. Air-drying in a well-ventilated area is a more advisable alternative.

Do shoe trees really help in the drying process?

Yes, shoe trees can assist in maintaining the shape of your shoes and absorbing excess moisture. They’re particularly beneficial for leather shoes but are a good practice for any type of footwear.

How can I eliminate odors from my shoes during the drying process?

The high heat in the dryer can help eliminate odors. Additionally, you can sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes before drying or place odor-absorbing insoles.

Remember, these answers provide general guidance, but it’s essential to consider the specific characteristics of your shoes and follow any manufacturer recommendations for optimal care.

Ahmad Xidd

Ahmad Xidd

Hey, I'm Ahmad Xidd, the brain behind whatbehind.com. I'm a shoe lover with over 100 pairs in my wardrobe. I tarted whatbehind.com in october 2023 with a vision to help people understand all kinds of shoes better. Me and my team of fellow shoe fans give you honest reviews and detailed guides, all based on our own experiences. We keep it real and practical. If you have any questions about shoes, just drop a comment. I'm here to help you out!

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