Can You Put Boots In The Dryer? [Plus Alternatives]

You wore the perfect outfit: designer jeans, a perfectly fitted shirt, and your brand-new leather boots. Unfortunately, a storm hit out of the blue, and you and your boots got caught out in it.

Now the boots are soaked. How will you get them dry?

Drying your boots is an art form that primarily relies on the art of patience. Depending on the kind of boots you were wearing, you can speed up the drying process.

You may be thinking that you can toss them in your dryer to speed up the drying process, but if you want them to last longer and maintain their fitness, read on for some slower but safer methods. 

Some boots could be dried in the dryer on the lowest heat. If you choose to put your work boots or steel-toed boots in the dryer, use a drying rack or laces hanging in the door and run the dryer on the lowest heat setting.

Leather boots (like cowboy boots) should not go in the dryer. Overall, a fan or a boot dryer is probably the best bet for actually speeding up the drying process.

Boot Drying Methods

Start With A Towel

Regardless of the method for drying the boots you end up using, you should begin the drying process with a towel. Dry off the outside with your towel, then press it on the insides to soak up as much water as you possibly can.

You may need several towels depending on the kind of boots and lining that you have. The more moisture you can squeeze out of the boots, the faster they will dry.

Invest In A Boot Dryer

If you live somewhere that you will need to dry boots on a regular basis, you should consider buying a boot dryer.

These handy appliances range from $50 to $100 and are available at many online outlets. Essentially, you plug in the dryer, turn your boots upside down over the blowers, and let it get to work.

It will keep warm, but not hot, air circulating through the boots so they can dry quickly. If you don’t have a boot dryer or don’t need one often enough to warrant buying one, you have other options.

Boot Dryer

Rice

Rice comes to the rescue when you drop your phone into the sink, and it can also rescue your boots. Because rice absorbs water, it speeds up the drying process, drawing water out of the material of your boots.

Find a large bin and put in a layer of rice. Add your boots and pour some rice into them as well.

Let them sit overnight as the rice absorbs the moisture. Dump out the rice and clean up your boots. Let them dry if they are still a bit damp.

Newspaper

Newspaper works very much like rice. It will soak up the water that is in the boot material. For this method, consider getting newsprint that has not been printed on.

You can buy end rolls of newsprint at the local newspaper office. If you use a newspaper that is printed, the ink may smear onto your boots. 

Make loose wads of newspaper and stuff them into the boots. You can also wrap them up in newsprint. For this method, you will need to change out the paper when it becomes wet.

Check on the newsprint every few hours and switch out the wet newsprint for dry. Keep at it until your boots are fully dry.

Fan

A key to quickly drying your boots is airflow. Try pointing a fan into your boots to decrease drying time.

If you have a heavy-duty fan, you can hang the boots on the fan itself. Take a wire clothes hangar and squeeze the big triangle part flat.

Then bend it into two hooks. Twist the hangar part away from the new hooks you just made.

You can slip your boots onto the hooks and the hanger part onto the front of a fan. That will help direct the airflow into the boots.

Hair Dryer

If you have applied some of the other techniques to reduce the overall moisture in the boots, you could use a hairdryer to improve air circulation. Set it on the lowest heat and move it around frequently so that you don’t overheat or damage the leather. Be sure to dry the insides and liners. 

Sun

If you have plenty of time, set the boots outside in the sun to dry. Sunlight helps kill the bacteria that create foul odors in shoes. If your boots lace up, take out the laces and open them as wide as possible to increase the air circulation and let the sun into the shoes.

Dryer

Most shoe manufacturers do not recommend putting your boots in the dryer. High heat and bouncing around can damage the boots, melt the glue that holds them together, cause them to become misshapen, or they can damage your dryer. However, if you are determined to try the dryer, use these tips to improve the likelihood of success.

Some dryers have a sturdy drying rack that sticks into the middle of the dryer for flat drying sweaters. If you have one, place your boots on that rack and dry them at the lowest possible temperature. Another option is to run long shoelaces through the boots and tie the laces together at the top.

Hold the laces outside the dryer door and the boots against the inside of the dryer door. Close the door to keep the laces in place. Again, run the dryer on the lowest setting to avoid the heat damaging the boots.

 

Best Methods For Drying Different Types Of Boots

Leather Boots Or Cowboy Boots

Leather should not go through the dryer. The heat can cause it to shrink and crack. If you have completely soaked your cowboy boots or other solid leather boots, your best bet is to keep wearing them until they are dry.

Even without heat, the leather will shrink. If you keep the boots on, they will dry to fit your feet.

It may be uncomfortable, but it is the best bet for saving the boots. After they are dry, treat them with leather conditioner or mink oil. 

Hiking Boots Or Work Boots

These boots are often leather or suede on the outside and have a soft lining on the inside. They are not as likely to shrink as cowboy boots.

You do need to ensure that they are fully dry before you wear them again to avoid blisters. Start with a towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Then choose the rice, newspaper, or boot dryer methods to finish the drying job. 

If the boots are smooth leather, apply a leather conditioner or mink oil when they are dry. If they are suede, you can get a suede conditioner and a suede brush to restore the finish.

Hiking Boots Hanged and Clipped

Snow Boots

Snow boots are likely to be nylon or another water-resistant fabric on the outside and plush or sherpa fleece on the inside. The internal components of these types of boots are held together with glue.

While the material on the uppers may seem dryer friendly, the glue and rubberized portions may melt in a dryer. A towel and boot dryer are the best methods for drying snow boots for next-day wear.

Uggs 

These are much like snow boots in treatment. They are held together with glue that can be damaged in a hot dryer.

Your best bet for drying Uggs is soaking up as much moisture as possible with towels, then using a boot dryer for air circulation. If yours are suede, apply suede conditioner and brush with a suede brush after drying.

Advice For All Boots

Whenever you are drying wet boots, a few steps can help with any style. First, take out the insoles if they are removable and dry them separately.

Sprinkle in some baking soda to reduce smells that develop in dark, moist areas. Remember that the sun’s UV light can kill bacteria and improve the chances that your boots dry properly and don’t stink afterward.

Related Questions

  • How do I care for leather boots?
  • How do I dry boots while camping?
  • Can I use my oven to dry boots and shoes?
  • How do you winterize boots?

Other Interesting Guides 

Final Verdict

Boots and shoes are not really made to go in the dryer. High heat can damage the glued components and cause the leather to shrink and become misshapen. If you are determined to try the dryer, use a drying rack or the “shoelaces in the door” method and dry on the lowest heat settings.

Your best bet is a boot dryer or patience. Towels, rice, newsprint, or a fan can speed up the drying process. Leather boots, like cowboy boots, need to dry slowly.

You should wear them until they are dry to ensure they continue to fit.  You may be interested in our guide on how to break in steel boots

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