You have been caught up in torrential rainfall outside and your steel toe boots for work are soaking wet. You are wondering: Can you put steel toe boots in the dryer?
Seriously, putting steel cap leather boots in the washing machine and dryer combo is a death trap. No, not for you, but for the boots and the dryer.
Many people ask this question regarding different types of footwear. And on this blog, we’ve tried to answer them. The most recent one that we did was on whether you can put converse shoes in the dryer.
For the safety of the shoes and the dryer itself, we suggest you be sure you really can dry shoes that way. Since you have different types of shoes at home, buying a dryer for boots would be most appropriate.
3 Reasons you should never put steel toe boots in the dryer
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With good care, steel toe boots can stay intact for a long time. Part of the care and maintenance for boots includes how to clean, dry, polish and store them.
If you neglect giving them the recommended care, they can fall apart sooner than anticipated. If you dry them wrongly, they will start falling apart before you get the full value for your money.
On that note, here is why you should never dry your steel toe boots in the dryer to dry them fast:
1. Direct heat is not good for leather boots
Direct heat is not good for leather. Leather has its own natural oil that keeps it moisturized. However, when the shoes are exposed to direct heat, it is not only the water that evaporates. It is the oil as well.
With time, this removes all the oil and leaves the leather too dry. As you walk, the leather will start cracking along the lines where your foot folds. Also, leather contracts and expands and if it is too dry, it will start cracking.
Another reason why direct heat is not good for your shoes is that it can compromise the quality of the glue used to join the sole and the upper. This can lead to the soles starting to fall off sooner than later.
Direct heat does not come from dryers only. It can also be from the fireplace, blow dryers and campfires.
If you must dry your shoes using heat from the fire, keep them a distance away. They will dry from the circulating warm air rather than from the direct heat.
Some people also ask whether they can dry their boots in the dryer if they set very low heat. The answer is still no.
Even the low heat setting is still direct heat and it’s going to damage the leather.
2. They will cause damage to your dryer
Imagine having your boots tossing around in the dryer for more than 30 minutes. The steel part is going to destroy the dryer.
Steel toe boots are also heavy. Since there is no setting that will keep the dryer drum stationary, the shoes will move around, and they are heavy. Therefore, they will hit against the drum and they can cause serious damage.
The toe part of the boot is made of steel, and when it hits at anything continuously, it causes severe damage.
While you could set the dryer on low heat to preserve the leather, the steel will still ram your drum. You could save your shoes but you will damage the dryer.
3. Do not dry canvas steel toe boots in dryer
The rule not to dry steel toe boots in the dryer not only applies to the leather boots, but it also applies to converse sneakers and canvas steel toe boots.
Generally, if the different parts of the shoes are joined by gum or glue, they do not do well in dry and direct heat. The heat affects the gum and the shoes can start falling apart soon.
Also, the heat can start to affect the integrity of the fibers of the canvas material. This can shorten the lifespan of your shoes.
Another reason for not putting the steel toe canvas boots in the dryer is because the steel toe will keep knocking against the drum.
Can you machine wash steel toe boots?
The same way that you cannot put steel toe boots in a dryer, you also cannot put them in a washing machine.
Steel toe leather boots are heavy, sometimes, weighing up to 4.5 pounds. We established that when we wrote the article on: how much do steel toe boots weigh?
Now, imagine having this weight hitting against the washing machine continuously for many minutes. It is going to wreck the washer.
For the safety of the washing machine, do not put your steel-toed boots in the washing machine.
Cleaning steel toe boots is simple. You can follow our procedure for how to clean leather boots. It is more or less the same for steel-toed shoes.
If you have steel toe canvas boots, follow the same procedure you would follow to clean regular canvas or converse shoes.
How to dry steel toe boots fast
Now that you know you cannot put steel cap boots in the dryer, you might wonder how to dry the boots fast enough.
If you need to wear the boots the following day to work, there are ways to dry the boots overnight. Just try one, or some of the methods below:
1. Use raw rice
Using raw rice is one of the most effective methods for drying your boots overnight. The only problem is that you will waste a lot of rice.
First, wipe off the excess water from the boots using clean towels. You can also use newspapers to absorb the extra water. The aim is to leave the boots just damp rather than wet.
Secondly, you can remove the shoelaces and the insoles. You will dry the latter separately. However, if they are not the removable types such as Protalus or Superfeet, you can leave them intact.
Thirdly, fill a pair of socks with raw rice and then stuff them inside the boots. The rice is very good for drawing moisture from objects.
Fourthly, find a bucket and pour rice into it. You can then place the shoes on the rice and leave them overnight.
You need a bucket that’s big enough to hold the boots and the rice fully because you will need to cover it. You can use a plastic box if you don’t have a bucket.
By morning, the rice will have drawn all the moisture from the shoes, leaving them dry and comfortable to wear.
Throw the rice away. Don’t eat it because it can contain serious germs.
2. Use newspapers
This is a slow process, but it also works. Besides, it has the benefit of enabling the boots to maintain their shape.
Blot the extra moisture with clean towels or with newspapers. When the boots are damp, roll up newspapers and stuff them inside the boots. You will have to keep changing the newspapers as soon as they soak up.
If you do not have newspapers, you can use paper towels. They are equally effective. Stuff them inside the boots and then use more to wrap the exterior of the boots.
Place the boots in an inverted position so that any extra moisture can flow downwards towards the cuffs, by gravity.
3. Use a boot dryer if you have one
Using a boot dryer is definitely the best method for drying leather boots fast. This is a special type of dryer that you can buy on Amazon or other online marketplaces.
It is better than direct heat because it produces circulating and moving warm air. Your boots dry from the moving warm air rather than the direct heat.
To dry your boots this way, remove the shoelaces and the insoles. Then place them on the dryer in an inverted position and leave them overnight or for several hours.
4. Using a fan
Using the moving air from a fan to dry the leather or canvas steel toe boots is fast and it does not cause damage.
The moving air will be cool and dry. We know this because cold air holds less moisture than warm air. Therefore, moisture will move from a place of low high concentration to a place of low concentration.
Because the air coming from the fan is cool, it can take a bit long to dry the leather boots. You might have to leave the fan running overnight. Another option is to leave the boots behind the refrigerator fan overnight.
5. Used old towels
One quality of towels is that they absorb water quickly. Therefore, stuffing the boots with old towels will dry them, not fast, but over several hours.
Stuff the boots and then wrap them on the exterior with these towels. If you don’t have old towels, you can use rags.
Final thoughts: Can I put steel toe boots in the dryer
It is not good to put shoes in the dryer, unless they are cloth shoes with the softest of soles. To dry wet steel toe boots, try the methods we have discussed here.
If you have a fireplace running, you can place the wet boots at a good distance from the direct fire. That way, the moving warm air is going to dry the boots, not the direct heat.
If there is sunshine, place the boots in the shade rather than in direct sunshine. If it is too hot, the sun can suck the natural oil out of the leather and cause it to start cracking soon in future.