Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer? [2023 Life Hacks Advice]

Published by Hala Zaqqout on January 12, 2022 | Last updated on May 14, 2023

Have you ever wanted to clean your shoes that got wet from wearing day in and day out? They’re pretty muddy and smelly now and need some type of cleaning.

Yet, wet shoes are more likely to cause blisters, and they create the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to grow, it will become necessary to wash and dry your shoes.

Unfortunately, those of us who don’t want to wait a whole day for them to dry still struggle with one major issue: Can you put shoes in the dryer?

For that, CleanersAdvisor has made an effort to answer your question and collected everything you need to know about this issue before you go ahead and put your shoes in the dryer!

Keep on reading to know whether you can put your shoes in the dryer or not, without making damage to your shoes or dryer, and if there’re other alternatives that don’t require heat that may damage your shoes.

What Causes Shoes to Smell?

Before answering your question: Can you put shoes in the dryer? It’s helpful to understand what causes the bad smell of your shoes.

First, there’s frequent wear. When your feet can’t breathe, bacteria proliferate, breeding on your feet, spreading to your socks, then shoes absorb sweat from your feet.

If they’re not allowed to dry out properly, you’ll start to notice an unpleasant odor.

Try wearing a different pair every time to allow your shoes to properly air out.

Another reason for the unpleasant odor is not wearing socks (which absorb sweat), fungus such as athlete’s foot, or inadequate ventilation.

Certain materials, such as leather, prevent your feet from breathing, trapping sweat, and causing odors.

Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer?

 It depends! – The first thing you should know is that not all types of shoes can withstand the heat and tumble. Some may shrink and others can melt.

“There’s a good chance that the heat and constant tumbling will damage the foam along with causing misshaping,” he says.

It is safe to put shoes in the dryer, but never put suede or leather shoes.

The extreme temperature and tumbling motion of the dryer have the capacity to melt the gum holding certain parts of the shoe together. It also can cause shoes to warp and it is recommended that you air dry them instead.

In saying this, if your shoes consist of durable materials, an occasional trip in the dryer might be okay. But it’s always recommended that you dry your shoes at the lowest possible temperature or air-dry them.

It also depends on your dryer. Some dryers come with racks that can either sit inside your dryer or at the vent which have a cool air option. But if your shoe label says machine approved, then go ahead and think no more.

So you’ll want to take some precautions to make sure you don’t damage them.

Is Putting Shoes in the Dryer Damage the machine?

Yes, but with the right technique and settings, most shoes are able to go into the dryer.

Since most tumble dryers are not designed for shoes, it’s possible to damage your shoes or the machine and cause balance issues and other forms of internal mechanical damage.

Ideally, this is caused by the tumbling action as shoes move uncontrollably inside the drum.

How Often Should I Put Shoes in the Dryer?

It’s fine to use the dryer on occasion especially when you are in rush but don’t forget the basics of normal drying.  

However, if you use it frequently to dry your shoes, the fabric will shrink, warp, or even fall apart.

You can always alternate between using the dryer and air drying them. This will help cut down on the damage done to your shoes over time.

What Types of Shoes I Can Put in the Dryer?

  • Canvas
  • Cotton
  • Polyester/ Nylon

What Types of Shoes I Can’t Put in the Dryer?

  • Suede
  • Leather
  • Foam/ Gel
  • Sequins
  • Sparkle
  • Delicates

How to Dry Your Shoes Properly in the Dryer?

Below is a step-by-step guide that will help you dry your shoes properly without causing any damage for the shoes or machine.

1. Check the Label

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. Check the Construction of Your Shoes

Always check the material of your shoes: To see which materials are a no-go, refer to our list above.

3. Wash Your Shoes First

Use warm water and a very mild detergent to wash your dirty shoe either with a garden hose, hand wash, or using the washing machine.

4. Remove the Lint

Make sure to remove the lint from the lint filter of your dryer. This is done to improve air circulation and allow for better drying.

5. Stuff Rags and Small-Sized Towels Inside Each Shoe

This is done to absorb some of the moisture and prevent your shoes from stretching or shrinking and in turn, help them maintain their shape during and after the whole process of drying.

5. Tie A Knot with Both Shoelaces

Tie the shoelaces and try to tighten them so that the shoes are close to each other.

6. Hang the Shoes  

Place your shoelaces up around the top of your dryer door and shut the door firmly, preventing the shoes from tumbling around and avoiding thumping noise.

7. Set the Dryer

The best setting to use is air-dry (no heat). But if it doesn’t have this option, set the dryer’s temperature to low heat so that the rubber is not overheated and your shoes are not damaged.

Then wait for 30-60 minutes until they’re completely dry, given that the time varies depending on the type of your dryer.

please watch this video for a visual on how to dry your shoes properly in the dryer!

Dryer Settings

Some modern dryers will come with the convenience of “air-dry” settings. These settings are ideal for drying shoes or other non-tumble items.

However, while these settings will help you, they’re not required to dry your shoes in the dryer.

If your machine doesn’t have an air-dry setting or anything similar, use a delicate, cold, or low setting.

But if there’s not an “air dry” option, no worries! Just set the dryer on the lowest heat setting possible. This is to ensure that your shoe material and colors will be safe.  

How to Dry Shoes Without Using the Dryer?

1. Air Dry

As long as it’s not rainy or humid outside, your footwear will benefit from the fresh air, wind, and sunlight that it’ll experience outdoors.

2. Newspaper

Newspaper, which is made from recycled materials and wood pulp, soaks up water and is easy to maneuver into the corners of your shoes.

This is an effective way to dry your shoes because it does not stress out your shoes. But this technique takes a while to work.

3. Fan

This method is straightforward. Drying your shoes with a fan will keep them from fading in the sun or warping their shape.

4. Rice

You’ll need a few packets of rice and a container with a lid that is large enough to hold your shoes.

Just fill a big container with a lid full of rice and simply put the shoes in and secure the lid. You also can make rice socks to dry your shoes as shown in this video.

5. Keep them in the Sun

If the day is sunny, the moisture will evaporate and the pathogens will die within a short time. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t leave them for long in the sun heat because the rays can discolor shoes over time.

Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer FAQ

To Wrap Up

The good news? Most shoes can be put in the dryer.

The bad news? If you’re not careful, you could cause permanent damage to your shoes or dryer.

So follow the steps we aforementioned above to make sure your shoes come out looking fresh.

Share your drying tips of shoes and tricks in the comments below and let me know how you get on below in the comments!  


  • Park, S. H., Shin, D. H., Choi, J. S., & Kim, K. H. (2006). Effective sterilization method of the bacteria-inducing offensive odor of shoes. Korean journal of dermatology, 44(5), 554-560.‏
  • Ramsey, M. L. (1996). Foot odor: How to clear the air. The Physician and sportsmedicine, 24(8), 91-92.‏
  • Hao, X. M., Yang, Y., Chen, X., Huang, J., & Hao, X. (2013). Study on Moisture Comfort of Different Fiber Materials in Sport Shoes. In Advanced Materials Research (Vol. 821, pp. 313-316). Trans Tech Publications Ltd.‏