As I walked into the bathroom yesterday afternoon I found my wife’s blow dryer firmly stuck in one of my son’s shoes with the heat on full blast. Fortunately, I had walked in precisely because I was not sure what the sound coming from the bathroom was, and I stopped the experiment just as the shoe was becoming too hot to touch. I know you can dry shoes with a blow dryer (or hair dryer) using cold air, not hot!
A few minutes later my son explained that he had played in puddles, he is five but very inventive, and he wanted his shoes to be dry so he could go out again. His method was a little dodgy, but it got me wondering:
Can you dry shoes with a blow dryer without destroying them?
Although a little controversial, the simple answer is that you can dry shoes with a blow dryer, but you need to take a few precautions. First of all the hair dryer needs to be on a cold heat, and secondly, it needs to be at least 10 inches away from the shoes.
There are so many ifs and buts that I think it would be better to go into a little more detail and take a few photos of the small rig my son and I have set up in the bathroom.
Where Should You Blow Dry Your Shoes?
The critical thing to consider is that shoes tend to smell bad, mainly when wet, so you should try drying them in a garage or outhouse.
However, if you do not have that choice, a bathroom is better than a hallway because people enter bathrooms half expecting an invisible wall of foulness.
Of course, bathrooms also tend to get very humid if more than one person is taking a shower there, which would defeat the purpose of drying the shoes there. In that case, you may need to go with the hallway solution, which is unfortunate but has to be done.
Shoe dryers reviewed
How Do You Dry Your Shoes with a Blow Dryer?
First of all you should consider the fact that even the flimsiest shoe is built to keep out at least some moisture, which means that, once water has gotten in the shoe, that exterior layer will try to keep the moisture in. Therefore, you need to maximize the area that can be exposed from the inside of the shoe.
- Start by removing the shoelaces, bending the tongue of the shoe out of the way, and, if possible, removing the inner sole.
2. Next, lift the shoes so they are standing on their heels; thus, the water will drip out of the bottom of the shoe, which is also the least accessible.
3. Position the blow dryer 10 to 15 inches away from the shoes and set it to blow cold air on the lowest setting.
(A couple of caveats here. First, even with a blow dryer, the shoes will take several hours to dry, so you will be using a lot of electricity. Second, hot air will further increase those electricity bills, it won’t reduce the drying time by much, and it will fray the fabric of the shoe, so stay on cold, or, if your blow dryer has that setting, put it on very low speed, and lukewarm temperature.)
4. Finally, check on the progress of your shoes every hour or so. For one, you don’t want to run the blow dryer for more than you have to. Secondly, you should check for shoe areas that are not drying. For example, you may need to tilt them forward if you notice that the heel is completely dry but the toe area is still soaked.
Although all shoes can survive the wet-dry process, and this blow dryer method is just accelerating a natural process, a few precautions depend on the type of shoes you are drying.
Dry shoes with a blow dryer explained (video)
Can you dry leather shoes with a blow dryer?
Following the steps described, you can dry leather shoes with a blow dryer. However, you should be aware that the tongue will crease if you lift is as high up and out of the way as I did with my son’s shoes. You do want it out of the way, but you should leave the shoe laces on and use the last 2 shoelace holes, put toothpicks or barbeque spits through them and lift the tongue over the toothpicks.
Once you have dried out your leather shoes, use leather conditioner or shoe cream to nourish the leather. Add just a little bit more shoe polish than you would regularly and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes to absorb. You should come in with a brush to remove the excess cream after that.
Related: How to Fix Cracked Leather Shoes
Can you dry suede shoes with a blow dryer?
Suede shoes are the one type of shoe you do not want to get wet. You can dry them with a blow drier afterwards, if you have gotten them wet, but no type of drying, including good old-fashioned air drying, will make them look new.
The only good news is that drying your shoes with a blow drier will not further damage them. Just to be safe though, keep the blow dryer on cold and keep it 15 inches away from the shoe. Also, make sure to protect the tongue through the same process as the one described on the leather shoe chapter above.
Once dry, use a suede shoes protection spray to hydrate the leather. Ideally, use a suede shoes brush to clean the leather and straighten the hairs on the shoe. If you do not have a suede shoe brush, and you have not read this here, but you might be able to use a bathroom hand brush, provided it is extra clean.
Related: How to Clean Suede Shoes
Can you dry canvas shoes with a blow dryer?
Canvas shoes are the best shoes to blow dry. Of course, not even canvas shoes can withstand massive amounts of heat so, ideally, you should keep the blow dryer on cold. On the other hand, if you are in a rush, as long as you keep the blow dryer at least 10 inches away, you could put it on heat. The challenge then is to ensure you check on the process every 20 minutes.
It is not that the shoes will dry that fast, but that the blow dryer will overheat and start heating everything around it. So if you have used books to keep the blow dryer in a good position, or if you have used newspapers to soak up the water, those might get too hot and ignite.
So, although the shoes should be fine even if you use a blow dryer on hot, everything around them will be in danger, so use this method at your discretion.
Frequently asked questions (faq)
Can I use a blow dryer to dry my shoes without destroying them?
Yes, it is possible to use a blow dryer to dry your shoes. However, it is essential to be careful and use the blow dryer on a low or medium heat setting to avoid damaging the shoes or causing them to become too hot to wear. Important to note is to remove the insoles before dying your shoes
How long does it take to dry shoes with a blow dryer?
Depending on the circumstances, it may take several minutes to several hours to dry shoes with a blow dryer. The time it takes to dry shoes with a blow dryer depends on the type of shoes, how wet the shoes are, the material they are made of, and the room’s humidity level.
Can I use a hair dryer to dry my shoes?
Yes, a hair dryer can dry shoes similarly to a blow dryer. However, it is essential to use a low or medium heat setting and to keep the hair dryer moving to avoid overheating and damaging the shoes. Remove the insoles, and put some old newspaper inside the shoes to speed up the process.
Is it safe to dry shoes with a blow dryer?
Drying shoes with a blow dryer can be safe if you use it on a low or medium heat setting and keep it moving to avoid overheating and damaging the shoes. It is also essential to keep a safe distance between the blow dryer and the shoes to avoid any risk of damage.
Can I use a blow dryer to dry shoes that are wet inside?
Yes, you can use a blow dryer to dry shoes that are wet inside. It’s best to remove any insoles or other removable parts and dry them separately. Use a low or medium heat setting and keep the blow dryer moving to avoid overheating and damaging the shoes. Adding paper inside the shoes and repeating the process may be necessary to dry the shoes thoroughly.
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