How To Dry Shoes After Washing Without Damaging Them?

How To Dry Shoes After Washing

After washing, your shoes need to be dried completely before the next use. How to dry shoes after washing without damaging them? Can you dry shoes without a dryer?

Let’s learn some effective DIY methods to get your shoes dried using home appliances or simple products around your home.

How To Dry Shoes After Washing By Machine Or Hand – Step By Step

You can think that your shoes can be effectively dried in the washing machine or clothes dryer. However, their durability can be significantly degraded or damaged if you don’t follow their care guideline.

Below are some simple methods that you can use to keep your shoes moisture-free after cleaning. Each method includes detailed steps, important notices, and extra information to let you choose the best one for your shoes.

Shoe Or Boot Dryer – The Best Way To Dry Shoes After Washing

A cheap, convenient, and fast way to dry shoes overnight is by using a shoe or boot dryer.

There are 3 types of shoe/boot dryers – shoe dryer box, electronic shoe dryer stand, and portable shoe dryer.

Shoe dryer box

  • Shoe dryer box

This dryer uses warm air to dry shoes from the inside while using ozone to deodorize and disinfect boots and shoes. Besides shoes, you can use this machine for drying gloves or socks.

  • Electronic shoe dryer stands

Electronic shoe dryer stands contain 2-4 wands on a plastic base to hang your shoes on. Each wand circulates cold or hot air into the shoes’ inside to dry them faster.

  • Portable shoe dryer

You can bring this dryer with you, everyone, because of its portable size.

This dryer composes of 2 small inserts that can fit into all shoes and boots. Some dryer models can even deodorize and sanitize shoes at the same time.

To dry your shoes with a shoe/boot dryer:

  1. Remove all shoelaces and insoles.
  2. Place the shoes on the dryer with their upside down.
  3. Turn on the dryer to start drying your shoes

When drying your shoes after washing with a shoe dryer, remember to follow the instruction of the dryer, since every dryer can be different.

Washing Machine

If you don’t have a shoe/boot dryer, you can utilize your washing machine to dry your shoes after washing them.

To dry shoes with a washing machine:

  1. Remove the insoles and laces, and wash them separately in warm soapy water.
  2. Protect your shoes from damage by putting them in a mesh bag/pillowcase.
  3. Turn on your washing machine, and set it on a gentle washing cycle in cold water.
  4. After finishing the cycle, remove your shoes quickly, and let them air dry.

Check more: How To Make Big Shoes Fit?

Clothes Dryer

Want to dry your shoes in 5 minutes but don’t have a shoe dryer? Then, use a clothes dryer. However, this method isn’t recommended for most types of footwear.

How to know if your shoes are safely dried in the dryer?

dry shoes by Clothes Dryer

First, check the care instruction on the shoe’s tongue or heel.

If there is a circle symbol inside a square, the shoes are safely dried in the dryer. If there is only a dot inside a square, the shoes can be dried in the clothes dryer in a low-heat setting only.

But if there is a square with an “X” inside, or there is no drying label, the shoes can’t be dried in the dryer or are not ‘dryer-safe’.

Second, remember that not all shoe materials are OK to put into the clothes dryer.

For example, canvas (like Converse shoes), cotton, nylon, or polyester shoes with no hard decoration details or soles, or heels, are safely used in the dryer (for nylon, you should use the low-heat setting only).

Conversely, animal-derived shoes (leather, suede shoes, fur, sheepskin, pony), shoes with foam, shoes with lace, those with glued-on decorations (rhinestones, glitter, gemstones, appliques, sequin), Gore-Tex shoes, and clogs shouldn’t be dried in the dryer.

Third, premium running shoes can’t be dried in the clothes dryer.

The high heat in the machine can melt the foams, gels, and adhesives of the shoes.

To dry your shoes in a clothes dryer:

  1. Keep the laces on the shoes.
  2. Place the shoes in the dryer with no extra laundry.
  3. Close the machine’s door.
  4. Turn on the dryer, and set the drying cycle to ‘air fluff’, in a low-heat setting (if possible), and for a maximum of one hour.
  5. After finishing the drying cycle, open the machine’s door and check if the shoes are completely dry or not. If not, choose another way to continue drying them.

Check more: Can You Put Hey Dudes In The Dryer?

Old Newspaper

Old newspapers, old printed papers, or any soft paper, are among the safest methods to dehumidify your shoes without damaging them.

This method has been applied to all kinds of shoes for centuries. Apart from drying shoes, newspapers can be used to remove annoying odors and bacteria from them.

dry shoes with newspapers

However, only choose this method if you have a lot of time since it can take up to 12 hours depending on how wet your shoes are.

Before tucking newspapers into your wet shoes, make sure that your shoes are completely free of dirt and mud. You should choose newspapers with as much white space as possible to avoid ink fading to your shoes, especially light-colored and white shoes.

For instance, you should remove pages in dark colors, lots of letters, pages with images, or pages with large titles.

To dry your shoes with newspapers:

  1. Remove the insoles and hang them separately from the shoes.
  2. Ball some newspapers and stuff them into your shoes. Make sure to push the newspaper into the forefront of the shoes.
  3. Wrap the shoes with several sheets of newspaper or something water-absorbent and soft to absorb excessive water outside them. You can get everything together with some rubber bands.
  4. Keep the shoes in a dry, well-ventilated area but away from sunlight. While direct sunlight can dry your shoes quickly, it can fade their color and break their materials faster with wear and tear.
  5. Newspapers can get soaked after a while. Change newspapers every 1-2 hours until your shoes are dry.
  6. If you notice tiny ink marks on your shoes, use a cotton pad with isopropyl alcohol to remove them (but don’t use it on the shoes’ soles).

Electric Fan

dry shoes with Electric Fan

An electric fan with an old wire clothes hanger is the fastest way to dry shoes. It takes up to 2 hours to get your shoes dried.

Since it doesn’t regulate heat in the shoes, this method is safe for almost all kinds of shoes, from leather shoes to gel-soled shoes, or shoes made from solid materials.

However, you should regularly change the shoes’ position to let the cold air ventilate to their hidden areas.

To dry your shoes with an electric fan:

  1. Clean your shoes first by removing dirt and build-ups on them. Then, remove their insoles and laces.
  2. Choose a big, sturdy, and elevated fan to do this work effectively. A table fan or a desk fan is the best choice.
  3. Place a cotton towel under the fan to absorb excessive water drops as the shoes get dry.
  4. Get two pieces of an old wire hanger, the length of which is 15 cm (6 inches). Bend the hangers to form an S-shaped hook.
  5. Hook one end of the hanger on the fan, and let the two shoes on their remaining one.
  6. Run the fan for 1-2 hours until the shoes are completely dry.

Rice Box With Uncooked Rice

When being uncooked, rice can be a great alternative to desiccant and can eliminate a huge amount of moisture on your shoes.

Yet, this method might take more time than using a fan or a shoe dryer. So be patient!

To dry your shoes with rice:

  1. Prepare 1-2 inches of dry rice in a sealable plastic rice box.
  2. Snuggle your wet shoes upside down into the rice.
  3. Close the lid and leave them to dry for 3-4 hours or more.


Place your damp shoes in front of the vents of your refrigerator (located below the door). As the fridge can blow warm/hot air, it can dry your shoes just like using fans.

To dry your shoes using a refrigerator:

  1. Remove the laces and insoles.
  2. Let your shoes in front of the vent, with their opening toward the vent.
  3. Allow the shoes to dry overnight.

Shoe Inserts

Shoe inserts (or dehumidifier bags) can dry your shoes in 5 hours and they are easy and safe to use.

Plus, it can be dried again and reused many times, which saves you a lot of time and budget for this job.

Drying your shoes with shoe inserts is similar to the newspaper method.

Air-dry Your Shoes

Let your shoes air-dry is the safest yet most time-consuming method. As your shoes aren’t exposed to heat or force, they can’t be damaged.

For the best drying performance, you should leave your clean shoes in a well-ventilated indoor environment. Drying your shoes outside in direct sunlight can cause discoloration or excessive tear and wear to your shoes.

To speed up this process, you can place the shoes near a fan or the vent of your fridge.

Extra Tips To Make Your Shoes Completely Dry

Understand Shoe Materials

Before cleaning and drying your shoes, you should clearly understand their materials to pick up an effective drying method and avoid damaging your shoes.

There are 5 typical material groups for shoemaking, including synthetics, textiles, suede, leather, rubber, and foam.

  • Natural materials like suede or leather are soft to your shoes yet quite delicate to drying methods.
  • Synthetic materials are less durable than natural ones yet easier to clean and care for.
  • Rubber and foam are often used to make shoe soles, and they are sensitive to high heat.

Clean Shoes Thoroughly Before Drying

Shoes must be cleaned thoroughly before drying.

Remove the insoles and the laces from your shoes, and let them be cleaned in a mesh garment bag to protect them from tear and wear.

Set the washing machine to a delicate cycle (or light wash, depending on your machine’s model) with cold water. After your shoes are free of dirt, get them off the washing machine and dry them with your preferred method.

Never wash your sneakers in the dishwasher, as the hot temperature in the dishwasher can damage some parts of the shoes.

Other Tips

  • Don’t wear shoes in the snow or inclement weather.
  • When facing harsh weather elements, wear waterproof shoes.
  • Choose shoes that are breathable.
  • Use extra tools to prevent moisture inside your shoes (moisture-absorbing insoles, cooling socks, baby powder, etc.).
  • Make an extra waterproof layer for your shoes.


1. Can I Use A Drying Rack To Air Dry My Shoes?

You can use a drying rack to air-dry cotton or canvas shoes only.

Set the dryer to a low-heat setting to protect your shoes from melting or cracking.

If you don’t have a drying rack, you can hang the shoes somewhere else suitable.

2. Can You Use A Hair Dryer To Dry Your Shoes?

You can’t dry your shoes with a hair dryer. The high heat can melt the rubber, glue, and other small details of your shoes if exposed to for more than a few minutes.

Furthermore, leaving your shoes too close to a hair dryer can lead to a fire hazard.

3. Can I Dehumidify My Shoes Under Direct Sunlight?

You should not dry your shoes under direct sunlight. While the sunlight can remove the smell and bacteria, it can cause discolorations and crispness to your shoes.

To protect the shoes, dry them indoors in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area.

4. How Long Do Shoes Take To Dry After Washing?

It takes approximately 12 hours to dry your shoes completely. The exact drying time can vary depending on the drying method and how wet your shoes are.

Final Words

Knowing how to dry shoes fast after washing them helps you take good care of them while protecting them from damage.

A shoe/boot dryer is the best machine to dry shoes and is a must-have machine for sneaker addicts.

If you don’t have the budget for this machine, you can use dehumidifier bags, rice bags, etc.

If you aren’t in a hurry, you can let your shoes air-dry indoors or use newspapers to absorb excessive moisture and odors from your shoes.

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