If you desperately need to dry your shoes, you may be tempted to throw them into the tumble dryer to dry them quickly. But this may not be the best idea!
Unfortunately, the heat inside a tumble is usually too intense for most fabrics, especially materials that are animal-based (leather and fur for example), and can warp them.
Heat not only shrinks shoes, but can also melt the glue holding the shoes together. This could ruin the shoes and may make them unwearable.
In addition to this, the constant tossing and thrashing motion of the tumble dryer can impact the shape and design of shoes.
For example, if you’ve got sequins on your shoes, they could be ripped off during the drying cycle.
Plus, the noise that comes out of the appliance when a pair of shoes is being smashed around is horrific!
Drying shoes in a tumble dryer may seem like a good way to dry them quickly. However, your shoes won’t be very happy with you if you subject them to this drying experience.
Tumble drying shoes is very likely to harm or shrink them, and will cause a racket as your shoes spin around in the drum.
There are better and more gentle ways of drying shoes. And although these non-tumble-dryer alternatives won’t dry your shoes as fast, the less intense drying experience will help to protect your shoes, so you’ll be wearing them for longer.
Of course, if you’re completely set on drying your shoes in a tumble dryer and there’s no turning back, try and make the best of the situation by being kind to your shoes and dryer. See below for more advice on this.
Drying Shoes in a Tumble Dryer
We don’t recommend drying shoes in a tumble dryer, but if you’re dead-set on it, here are a few tips:
- Check the label – Check the label on your shoes to see if they’re ‘dryer safe’. If they aren’t tumble dryer friendly, don’t put them in the dryer.
- Shoes you should never put in the tumble dryer – Avoid putting drying animal-based material shoes in a dryer (leather and suede). Don’t dry delicate shoes in a tumble dryer either (ones with sequins or tassels).
- Reduce noise – To dry your shoes quietly in the dryer you’ll need to tie the laces on your shoes together. Then you’ll need to hold the shoes up in the tumble dryer’s doorway, and close the door with the knot you’ve just tied hanging on the outside of the door. (Shoes should be sitting flush on the door and shouldn’t bang about as much when the drum spins).
- Use the lowest heat setting – All shoes must be dried on the lowest heat setting possible in a dryer. This will hopefully not shrink or damage the material too much.
- Check after a few minutes – To dry your shoes in a dryer, you should run an initial low heat, 15- to 20-minute drying cycle to start off with. After this you’ll need to check your shoes. If your shoes are wet, you’ll need to run several 5-minute low heat drying cycles to dry your shoes out. Remember to check your shoes throughout this process because damage may occur as you expose your shoes to excess heat.
- Use a laundry bag – If you can’t hang your shoes up, pop them in a laundry bag and put them into the tumble dryer. Add several towels to the dryer to absorb the clunking and noise.
- Only tumble dry occasionally – Ultimately, you should not dry your shoes in a tumble dryer very often. This type of drying is unsuitable for most shoes, and overexposure to the dryer will eventually damage your shoes. Similarly, you could cause wear and tear damage to your tumble dryer too by drying shoes in it.
Other Ways to Dry Shoes
Here are some other ways to dry shoes:
- Hang them up – Create some hooks out of an old hanger and hang your shoes over a fan to dry them.
- Use newspaper – Stick a load of newspaper into your shoes and leave them to rest in a well-ventilated room for a few hours. Just remember to remove and replace the wet newspaper every two hours. Shoes can also be wrapped in newspaper. The outer wrapping will absorb the water on the outside of the shoes. Just be careful that the print doesn’t come off.
- Use towels – Stuff some small towels into your shoes to help them keep their shape and to absorb the moisture. Then pop the shoes in a well-ventilated area to dry.
- Dry them in the sun – Allow natural sunlight to dry your shoes. Remember to fill your shoes with newspaper/small towels so they hold their shape as they dry.
Will Shoes Damage the Tumble Dryer?
Putting shoes in a dryer without considering any of the good practices listed above may harm the tumble dryer itself. This is especially true if you regularly dry loose shoes in the machine.
The continuous banging noise will be unpleasant enough to hear, but this banging sound could also be a sign that the inside of the drum is being damaged ever so slightly by your shoes.
Of course, the damage in question here is likely to be substantially less than the damage your shoes could suffer if tumble dried.
Nonetheless, continuously exposing your tumble dryer to such trauma could eventually give rise to more serious structural issues inside the appliance.
This, in turn, could hinder how the machine works, and it may not dry your laundry effectively in the long term.
Potential damage to the dryer is another reason to think twice before tumble drying shoes!
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!