How to Dry Shoes in the Dryer (in 5 Steps)

Fred's Appliance
June 3, 2024
Dryer Repair

There’s no point in waiting hours or even days for your wet shoes to dry out when you can just pop them in the dryer and have them done in minutes. That said, there is a knack to using the dryer because if you do it the wrong way, you can damage both your sneakers and the machine.

This article will teach you how to dry shoes in the dryer the correct way through a simple five-step method. You’ll have your sneakers dry and ready to wear again in no time!

Step 1: Make sure your shoes are suitable for the dryer

The dryer works great on many types of shoes, but not all. So before throwing any old pair in, it pays to check first.

Shoes made from animal fabrics, such as suede or leather, should never be put in the dryer because these materials can end up drying out too much and cracking. Likewise, shoes with glued-on embellishments such as sequins are not usually suitable as these decorations can come off if the glue gets too hot.

The following types of shoes are usually fine in the dryer:

  • Canvas
  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Nylon

However, you can check the label on the tongue to be sure as it often states whether you can machine dry them or not. Look for a circle inside a square icon; this means they can be machine-dried. If you see a square with an X across it, it means you shouldn’t tumble dry them.

If your shoes aren’t suitable for the dryer, opt for air drying instead. Simply hang them on the clothesline or place them on a drying rack and wait for a day or so.

Step 2: Tie shoelaces together and close them in the door

You don’t want to just throw your shoes in the dryer and let them tumble around. The result would be a loud, annoying banging noise. You could also damage your shoes and potentially the machine by doing so.

Instead, tie both shoes together by their laces. You want the knot to be toward the end of your shoelaces as this will allow you to hang your shoes. You also want the knot to be quite chunky so you can trap your laces in the dryer door without them falling through.

Next, open the dryer door and hold up your shoes by the laces so they are dangling in the middle of the doorway. Then, close the dryer door, trapping the shoes inside the machine while the knot stays outside. The goal is to hang and trap them in a way that leaves your shoes suspended, dangling in the middle of the doorway inside the dryer.

This trick essentially allows you to dry your shoes without them falling into the drum and being tumbled around as the machine runs.

Note: Some dryers have a drying rack you can insert into the drum for items that shouldn’t be tumbled, such as shoes. Hanging your shoes in the door will not be necessary if your dryer model has one of these.

Step 3: Select the mildest setting

The best setting to select is the ‘Air Dry’ setting. If your dryer has this, that’s the one to use. However, if your dryer doesn’t have this setting, simply set it to the lowest temperature setting available, such as ‘Low’ or ‘Delicate.’

Selecting a cycle on your dryer with little or no heat helps ensure your shoes aren’t damaged and don’t shrink while drying. 

Step 4: Check after 20 minutes

After running your dryer for 20 minutes on the mildest setting, open the door and remove your shoes to see if they’re dry. Feel the inside of the shoes as well as the outside to be sure.

If they’re not fully dry, hang them back in the door and run the cycle for another five minutes before checking them again. This is a better approach than just leaving your shoes inside for the entire cycle as it conserves energy and reduces unnecessary wear on your shoes.

Step 5: Remove your shoes from the dryer

Once your shoes are fully dry, remove them from the dryer, untie the shoelaces, and do some quick reshaping if necessary. Your shoes are now ready to wear!


Here are some frequently asked questions about drying shoes in the dryer.

How often should you dry shoes in the dryer?

While the method above helps to reduce damage to your shoes, it doesn’t mean you should put them in the dryer all the time. Like with your clothes, using the dryer too frequently will result in some wear and tear on your sneakers, especially if you use a high-heat setting.

Both the material and adhesive can be damaged by frequent dryer cycles. Therefore, minimizing how often you put them in the dryer not only conserves energy but also prolongs the lifespan of your shoes.

What if I can’t hang my shoes in the door?

If you’re unable to hang your shoes by their laces in the door—maybe because your shoes don’t have laces or because this trick won’t work with your dryer model—but you still want to use the dryer, there are some other things you can do to help reduce potential damage. 

You can place your shoes in a laundry bag or a pillowcase and add a few towels or other items to the load. This will help contain and cushion your shoes, reducing the amount of banging against the dryer drum.

Is using the dryer better than air drying?

It really depends on your goals as to which is better. If you want your shoes dried quickly so you can start wearing them again as soon as possible, the dryer is undoubtedly the best option.

However, if you don’t need to wear your shoes for a day or two and want to preserve them for as long as possible, allowing them to air dry is definitely the gentler option.

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