Can You Put Steel Toe Boots in the Dryer? 6 Best Alternatives

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by  Jon Wadsworth | Last Updated: 
can you put steel toe boots in the dryer

We’ve all been there. Out on a job and the elements of nature greet us with their presence. 

Whether you were stuck in the rain, stepped in a puddle, or dealing with burst pipes, your boots are soaked and need a quick drying solution. 

If your steel-toe boots got a drenching, you’ve got several options when it comes to drying them, but there are ways of drying your steel-toe boots that aren’t advisable. 

To make your life easier and avoid the pitfalls that I’ve sady fallen into in the past, I’ve put together the best ways to dry your steel-toe boots. Using my advice should keep your boots dry, and your dryer in perfect working order. 

What Happens if You Put Steel Toe Boots in the Dryer?

Putting your steel-toe boots in the dryer is a monumentally bad idea, and it’s likely to ruin your boots and probably your dryer too. 

You’re basically putting two heavy, steel-toed bricks into your dryer for an hour and letting them beat the living daylights out of the drum.

Steel caps on the end of your boots protect your toes from harm, but imagine those same steel toes inside your expensive dryer, madly spinning and kicking the inside of the machine. And that’s before we even look at how damaged your boots will be when they come out.

Rapid Moisture Loss Destroys Boots

Drying leather using artificial heat can have severe repercussions on the condition of the leather. Don’t forget that leather is naturally porous skin; putting your steel-toe leather boots into the dryer will cause the material to lose all moisture, not just the water you’re trying to dry off.

The leather will quickly become so dry that it cracks and even warps out of shape. Once your boots are in this condition, it’s difficult to turn back the clock. 

The leather fibers in your steel toe boot will become brittle and, once cooled, make your boots crack when flexed.

The natural oils in your steel-toe boots can’t cope with being soaked and need to be replenished by you. Mink oil is a great way to keep your boots hydrated and supple, but regardless of how much you use, being put in the dryer will suck every last drop of moisture from your boots.

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Rapid Drying Can Destroy The Steel Toe

Putting your steel-toe boots in the dryer can also seriously impact the steel toe itself; I’ve seen boots come out of the dryer looking like Persian slippers. 

As the leather is heated, the glue or stitching that holds everything together can become loose, causing the steel toe section to curl up. If this happens, you’re left with two choices; new boots or a hefty repair bill.

Drying boots in a dryer is like cooking a meal at the highest temperature your oven will reach; you’ll get a quicker result, but the food will be burnt to a crisp. Drying your steel-toe boots takes time, and rushing it so that you can wear them the next day could prove fatal to your boots.

Steel Toe Boots Can Ruin Your Dryer 

Last but certainly not least is the damage you can do to your dryer. Steel-toe boots can weigh (on average) 3.5-4.5 pounds, and an average dryer will spin for 30-45 minutes, sometimes at 3200 revolutions per minute. 

Putting your heavy, metal-tipped work boots into your fancy dryer can have your boots literally battering your dryer for the entire spin cycle. 

If you’re lucky, it will sound like someone banging a drum for 45 minutes, but there’s a real chance your steel-toe boots could knock the drum out of alignment or break it altogether.

6 Best Ways to Dry Your Steel Toe Boots 

I think we’ve firmly established that steel-toe boots and your dryer don’t mix, so I’ve put together six much better ways to dry your steel-toe boots. I’ve used all of these methods before, and all will successfully and, more importantly, safely dry your steel-toe boots.

The best way to dry your boots is to give them time; good things come to those who wait, and all six of my chosen methods will allow your boots to dry without any issues. Cracked leather and curled-up toe caps will be a thing of the past.

1. Buy a Boot Dryer

If you’re wearing your steel-toe boots regularly and often find yourself working in wet conditions, then a boot dryer should be high on your Christmas list. 

A boot dryer is a hassle-free and efficient way to dry your steeltoe boots overnight so that you’re good to go every day, regardless of the weather.

 Unless you’ve got multiple pairs of work boots, a 2-shoe dryer should be more than ample for your needs.

I use the Peet Original, a 2-shoe boots dryer and warmer that has your boots toasty and dry for every day on the job. It’s small enough to be discreet and silent, so you can put it pretty much anywhere and just leave it to go about its business.

Regardless of which dryer you buy, the plus to a boot dryer is that it will gently dry your boots while making sure they remain in the right shape. The PEET Original can dry your leather, rubber, vinyl, and neoprene boots with no fuss. 

PEET Original Electric Shoe and Boot Dryer

The Original PEET Dryer is ideal for drying shoes, boots and athletic and hunting footwear, as well as your outdoor gear.

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2. Using Newspaper to Dry Boots 

A tried and tested method that’s been around since the invention of the printing press is to use old newspapers to soak up the excess moisture in your boots. 

It’s as simple as balling up old newspapers and stuffing them into your wet boots, using individual sheets of paper, and repeating the process until your boot is packed to the brim. You can also complete the process by wrapping the boots in sheets of newspaper too.

Once your boots are fully wrapped, leave them overnight for the paper to soak up any excess moisture slowly, but don’t be tempted to speed up the process by putting them on a radiator. 

You’ll be back in the dreaded situation of your boots becoming cracked and could damage the leather.

3. Drying the Old-Fashioned Way – Sunshine

The least effort you can expend to dry your steel-toe boots, the better. And there’s no easier or more natural way to dry your boots than putting them in direct sunlight. 

If I’m in no rush to have my boots dry and the weather is suitable, I find using a shoe tree and putting my boots near a window is a great way to dry my work boots naturally. 

A boot tree keeps your boot in the right shape, as well as helping to remove any odors.

The Stratton Boss Cedar Boot Tree is an excellent way to keep your boots in the right condition, and thanks to the natural cedar wood, your boots will smell great too.

Stratton Boss Cedar Boot Tree

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Place your boot tree inside your wet boots and place them in direct sunlight, and you’ve got the most eco-friendly boot dryer around.

4. Use a Desk Fan

It doesn’t have to be warm air that drys your steel-toe boots; wind power will do the job just as well. A desk fan set up directly in front of your wet boots will do a great job of drying them over a period of time. 

If your desk fan is heavy enough, you can thread some wire through the grille at the front and hang your boots from that, but if your boots are too heavy, simply place them on top of a box and sit them directly in front of the fan.

The benefit of this method is it’s easy to do and won’t overheat the boots, especially leather boots. 

The cold air blowing over your steel-toe boots won’t warp the leather, though if you have a boot tree, then putting your boots on there is another simple way to keep your boots in top shape.

5. Rice Rice Baby

If you’ve ever dropped your cell phone in the sink, you’ve probably googled how to dry it off safely. And one of the top methods for saving your phone is to use rice to absorb the water, which works just as well with your boots.

There are drawbacks to this method; you need rice for a start, and if you regularly have to dry your boots, the rice method can be a bit of a chore.

 I wouldn’t usually use rice to dry soaking boots, but if you’ve tried another method and almost got your boots dry, this tip is the perfect final fix.

If you’ve had your boots wrapped in newspaper or in front of a fan overnight and found that the toe box is still slightly damp, pouring a cup or two of rice into the boots will soak up the remaining moisture for you. 

It’s an old trick, but like most old tricks, it still works a charm, though only use this method to finish off a drying session. You’ll soon get bored of buying bags of rice to fill your boots. 

6. Wrapping Your Boots in Towels

If a newspaper isn’t available, but you have an abundance of towels, then wrapping your wet boots in towels is another simple yet effective way to dry off your steel-toe boots. 

Small towels work best, as you can stuff them into your boots to soak up the moisture, but a few larger towels to wrap around your boots will also help the process along.

 This is a cheap way to dry your steel-toe boots safely; if you’ve no towels to hand, then old clothes or sheets will do the job too.

Can You Put Steel Toe Boots in the Washer Machine? 

In the same way that putting your steel-toe boots in a dryer can create severe problems for your dryer, putting your boots in the washing machine is also a bad idea. 

Not only will you potentially break your washing machine, but your boots aren’t designed to be completely submerged in water. If you put detergent into your machine, there’s a chance that the detergent will damage the leather.

Drying your boots after taking them out of the washing machine is also a mammoth task. If you thought drying your steel-toe boots after wearing them in the rain was tough, try drying boots that just spent an hour in the washing machine.


Putting your steel-toe boots, any boots, in a dryer or washing machine is a bad idea. You’re risking both the boots and the machine. Even worse is the fact that a dryer causes serious deterioration of your boots, so stay clear of this method entirely.

For myself, my Peet Original is the safest and easiest way to dry my steel-toe boots, and once you’ve used it once or twice, you get a feel for how long it takes to get your boots dry. If the sun is shining, get your boots in direct sunlight for a natural drying session.

PEET Original Electric Shoe and Boot Dryer

The Original PEET Dryer is ideal for drying shoes, boots and athletic and hunting footwear, as well as your outdoor gear.

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How do I dry shoes quickly?

If you’re in a rush, using a shoe or boot dryer is the safest way to dry shoes quickly without damaging them. It’s a cost-effective and proven machine that doesn’t damage your boots, and will dry them much quicker than more traditional methods.

How long do boots take to dry?

Drying times can depend on the footwear, how wet they are, and the overall temperature where you are, but using some of the methods I’ve described, a rule of thumb can be applied. A boot dryer can potentially have your boots dry in 30 minutes, a desk fan can take a few hours, and newspapers and towels will take at least eight hours.

Can you put boots in the oven to dry?

If you put your boots in the oven to dry them quickly, you’re liable to destroy them. Not only will the leather dry and crack, but the glue used to bond certain parts of the boots will lose cohesion and fall apart. A rubber sole will also probably melt at a high temperature, so avoid ovens as much as dryers and washing machines.

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