Can You Put Boots In The Dryer?

For workmen, farmhands and anyone who likes to spend time in the great outdoors, having wet boots can be a real problem. Wet boots become heavy, weighing down your legs over time, and they can also cause blisters and sores to form on your feet.

As moisture encourages the growth of bacteria, wet boots will also be more smelly than dry boots, and this can be unpleasant for the wearer. 

But how can you get your boots dry in time for your next day of wear? Natural drying times (especially of thick soled, leather boots) can take a great many hours, although this drying time is always lessened with warmth.

Many people ask: can you put your boots in the dryer to speed up the drying process? In short, the answer is yes, however there are a few things you should bear in mind before you start. 

In this article, we will cover the tips and tricks of how best to put your boots in the dryer without damaging them or the machine.

We will also go through some alternative drying methods for those of you without access to a dryer or whose boots are unsuitable for that method.

Drying Your Boots In A Dryer

Putting your walking or work boots in a dryer is a really speedy and effective way of getting them dry so that you can wear them comfortably the next day.

However, not all boots are suitable for drying in such an extreme way as they may be subject to shrinkage or even melting.

Boots with canvas uppers and rubber exteriors will usually have a label  on the inside that will state if they are not dryer safe. So the first rule is:

Always Read The Label First

Once you have read the label and established that your boots are dryer safe, you should then consider their condition. Mud, oil, cement and other dirt can all stain your boots if they are dried into the fabric or leather.

What is more, substances like sand, cement and rubble could damage the interior of your dryer if they get lodged inside it. For this reason you should:

Always Clean Your Boots Before Putting Them In The Dryer

Use a rag or cloth to dab away any stains and excess liquids from the upper, and a brush to loosen any dirt and mud in the outsole. This doesn’t need to be a lengthy job, but it will make all the difference to the final result.

The laces on boots can become tangled inside a dryer due to the intense air flow that causes them to flap about. For this reason you should:

Always Remove The Laces Before Putting Your Boots In The Dryer

Drying the outside of your boots is less important for your health and comfort, than drying the inside, however it is more difficult to reach the inside area in order to dry it out.

The best way is to fold the tongue down and out as far as it will go to expose the interior chamber, then:

Always Position Your Boots So That The Pipe Of The Dryer Is Directly Pointing Into The Boot

After just a few hours (or less depending on what heat setting you put your dryer on) your boots will be lovely and dry.

Drying Your Boots Using A Hair Dryer

Of course, the process of tumbling your boots can be noisy and also pretty rough on the boot leather. For a solution that is effective yet more controlled you could try drying your boots with a hair dryer.

The benefit of using a hair dryer is that the nose of the dryer will fit perfectly inside your boot and get straight to the place that you most want to dry out.

The downside is that you will have to be on hand to hold the dryer and to make sure that it doesn’t overheat. Hair drying is a great alternative if you do not have access to a tumble dryer but want quick, speedy results.

Drying Your Boots Using A Radiator

If you don’t have a hair dryer, or don’t want to apply such concentrated heat to your boot, you could try drying them on a radiator overnight.

By pulling the tongue down and out of the boot as far as it will go, you will open up the interior chamber so that you can then place the boot onto the radiator upside down.

The hot air will reach the inner area of your boot more effectively – just make sure that the radiators don’t switch off halfway through the night or you could wake up to boots that are still semi-soggy.

Drying Your Boots Using Newspaper

If you are camping or staying off the beaten track, then you may not have access to any electricity or radiators. In this scenario you could try using newspaper to dry your boots.

Newspaper is pretty absorbent and will fit inside the toe box of your boot if you scrunch it into tight balls.

You can use these balls to pack out the whole interior of your boot, and change the damp balls for dry ones at regular intervals to ensure that more moisture is drawn out of the fabric.

This process is slow and less effective than those previously mentioned, but it is eco friendly and a great camping trick.

Drying Your Boots Using Rice

Didn’t bring a newspaper on your trip? Don’t worry. You can use rice to dry out your boots in a very old fashioned technique.

Rice loves to absorb water (just think about how it expands in the pan) so if you fill your boot with rice, and better still, sink your boots into a bucket of rice, the grains will draw moisture away from the fabric and take it on themselves.

Again, this process is slow but effective and so is best performed overnight. Plus, you should be sure to scrape all the rice grains out of your boots in the morning if you don’t want an uncomfortable day!

Drying Your Boots Using A Towel

You can use an old towel to wipe and dab excess moisture from the exterior of your boots, and then stuff the towel down inside the interior of the boot to mop up any moisture that may be in there as well.

Of course, this method is far less effective than other methods, but it is a handy fix if your boots are extremely wet and you need to deal with the immediate dampness.

Drying Your Boots In The Sun

And finally, sometimes there is nothing better than good old, natural sunlight. If you are in a sunny climate, and you have the time to spare, letting your boots dry out in the sun is eco-friendly, hands free and very effective.

Be sure to open your boots up as much as possible and even take the inner soles out to dry them separately if you can as this will speed up the process.