Have you ever gone hiking on a rainy day only to end up with soggy leather boots? It’s a familiar feeling; I have had some of the worst experiences as an outdoor enthusiast. Like everyone else, I dislike the sound of wet leather boots squelching against the floor.
What’s more annoying is that excess moisture can cause the leather to wrinkle and discolor, keeping it brittle and weakening the stitches. Impressively, there are several ways to dry and clean leather boots without ruining these exquisite fashion pieces.
I have come up with a few simple steps on how to dry wet leather boots to help folks restore their special footwear to its former glory. So, read on to learn how to dry wet leather shoes without damaging them.
5 Effective Methods for Drying Wet Leather Boots
Protecting your leather shoes from moisture is no easy feat. You could put in all your best efforts only to find yourself caught up in bad weather or discover your pet has tipped a glass of water over your favorite leather boot.
Don’t freight; it will take more than a few splashes to ruin those boots you pair with leather pants. However, you would have to treat this as a serious concern and employ effective methods to keep your footwear in pristine condition.
Be sure to follow these techniques on “how to dry” wet hiking boots and similar foot wears.
01. Drying Towels
You can mop up excess water from your leather footwear with a drying cloth. This method comes in handy for your wet leather boots following a puddle splash – all you need is a couple of absorbent rags or towels.
Here’s how to dry leather boots with a towel.
- Start by dabbing off the excess liquid from the boots; I’ll advise you not to scrub to prevent your boot from peeling. Also, get rid of any residual stains or dirt on the surface of the boots. Depending on how soaked the boots are, you may need to repeat the procedure several times.
- Next, remove the insoles from the leather boots and loosen the straps and laces. Unlike leather, these items could absorb excess moisture and delay drying.
- Now, stuff the leather boots with a towel or any suitable absorbent sheet. Ensure that the fabric gets to the edges of the boot and covers the insides appropriately.
- If the towel is big enough, cover the outside of the boot with the remaining fabric. If it isn’t, use another towel to cover the boot.
- Replace the towels every hour until the boots are completely dry.
I often keep a set of clean, dry towels aside for this purpose. This way, I can avoid damaging/staining the footwear with dirt and other harsh substances.
02. Air Drying
If you are thinking of an easy way out on how to dry wet cowboy boots without stressing much, you should consider this method. This technique depends mainly on natural ventilation and other atmospheric conditions to gradually draw moisture out of your footwear. Hence, it could take up to a day or even more to completely dry wet leather boots.
To speed up the process, it is best to dry out as much moisture as possible using a towel before leaving the leather boots to air dry. You should also open up the leather footwear by unzipping it or untying the laces if it has any.
Air drying your leather boots indoors might take more time. But adequate artificial ventilation will get the job done. While drying your leather boots close to direct heating from fireplaces and radiators might sound like a good idea to save more time. Trust me, it isn’t.
In addition to reducing the quality of the leather, excessive heat could also damage other components of the leather boots. Also, avoid air drying your leather footwear in cold or damp rooms. These rooms will only result in the accumulation of more moisture and cause your shoes to develop foul odors.
03. Uncooked Grains
Ever heard of using uncooked grains to dry your wet mobile phones? I was surprised when I heard this technique worked for wet boots too. So, I gave it a try, and the results were mind-blowing. If you are looking for how to dry the inside of your boots fast, follow these steps:
- Remove the boots’ laces and set them aside.
- Stuff the boots with socks filled with raw grains like rice, wheat, oats, or barley.
- Dry the boots for 24 hours or until the grains absorb the most moisture.
- Remove the grains from the boots and air-dry them in a cozy, dry place.
- Once the boots are completely dry, replace the laces and wear your boots normally.
04. Boot Dryer
Unlike other sources of direct heat, a boot dryer sucks in air from its vent. It then uses a low-energy heating element inside its tubes to deliver warm air to the insides of your boots.
Drying your wet leather boots with a decent boot dryer gets the job done in less than two hours. The only downside is that most boot dryers can handle up to one pair at a time. They are also difficult to carry about. However, boot dryers are the ideal solution if you are looking for ways to dry wet leather work boots overnight.
So, here’s how to dry boots in a dryer.
- First, mop up excess water from soggy leather boots and ensure they are clean.
- Next, place them upside down on the available drying ports. Make sure that the tube gets in as far as the toe tips. This way, the warm air gets into the leather boot’s corners.
- Now, turn on the boot dryer. Adjust the temperature settings to medium or high, depending on how soon you want the job done. Since most boot dryers never exceed 105 degrees Fahrenheit, you can leave your boots overnight without risking any potential damage to your favorite footwear.
As a bonus, boot dryers help eliminate any harmful parasites that could cause infection and foot odor.
05. Cat Litter
Since cat litter can absorb and retain moisture, you can use it for drying your leather boots. Its grainy nature makes it easy for you to stuff it into every nook and cranny of your boots, and it is an excellent choice for drying the insides of leather footwear.
Kindly follow these easy steps to dry the wet leather footwear using cat litter.
- Dry off as much moisture as you can with suitable fabric.
- Next, remove the boot laces and inserts.
- Now, fill a pair of clean socks with cat litter. The thinner the fabric, the better – actually, ladies’ stockings ensure the most contact with the footwear.
- Tie up the socks with a suitable string or band. The socks should not be too tight but supple and flexible.
- Now, stuff the socks into the leather boots. Ensure that it gets to the tip of the boot and is in contact with all parts of the inside.
- Next, get a suitable bucket and add a 1-inch bed of cat litter to the bottom.
- Now, put the stuffed boots into the bucket, and seal it up.
Drying your boots with cat litter could take just an hour or two. But extremely soaked boots may require a whole night. It is optional to seal your stuffed boots in a container. Just stuffing your boots with cat litter will do the job.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: How long does it take for wet leather boots to dry?
Wet leather boots usually require between a few hours and a few weeks to completely dry. The time a wet leather boot would need to dry depends on the thickness of the leather, how much water it has soaked up, and the drying method you use.
However, there are several techniques that you can use to reduce the amount of time leather boots take to dry.
Q: Does water ruin leather boots?
Water does more harm than good to leather boots. Hence, it would help if you took adequate measures to prevent your leather boots from coming into frequent contact with moisture. Constant moisture helps create the perfect conditions for your leather boots to grow moldy and reduces their durability. Hence, it is also essential that you dry leather boots correctly.
Q: How do you dry leather shoes overnight?
If you need to wear the same pair of leather shoes the next day, you better learn how to dry boots overnight. You could attach them to a non-heated fan with a long stand. Use a wire to hook the shoes to the fan’s exterior. Also, place a dry towel beneath the shoes to absorb water droplets. It would be best to leave the fan running all through the night.
Alternatively, you could turn to a boot dryer. I recommend you ensure that the boot dryer’s pipe gets in as far as the toe edge before turning the dryer on. A boot dryer will get the job done within two hours. So you don’t need to leave the dryer running overnight.
Q: How do you dry leather boots inside?
Drying the insides of leather boots proves to be an uphill task. However, this is how to dry the inside of boots fast without damaging them:
First, open up the boots as much as you can. Take off the laces and insoles if it has any. Also, pull the flap out. This way, you improve air circulation within the insides of the leather boots. Next, gather some old newspaper into a loose ball and place them inside the wet footwear.
This paper will help soak up the residual moisture inside the footwear; be sure to replace the newspaper every 1-2 hours until the shoe is dry. Alternatively, you could stuff the shoe with a dry towel.
Q: How can I dry my leather shoes fast?
The first step on “how to dry leather boots fast” is mopping as much moisture as possible from leather shoes using a towel. Then, here are a few tips to further facilitate this drying process:
Laying shoes flat on the ground reduces the rate at which water drains from the soles. Hence, you can quicken the drying process by putting your footwear 30 degrees against your wall while the sole rests on the floor.
You could also hang leather footwear toe-down. Also, placing wet leather shoes near a refrigerator ventilator will help your footwear dry faster. Kindly note that applying direct heat to your leather boots dries them faster but is more likely to cause permanent damage to the footwear.
Q: Does water permanently damage leather?
Excessive moisture on leather is likely to cause several damages, especially when left untreated. You should know that when leather gets wet, the material soaks up excess moisture. Thus, the moisture will penetrate their surface and start draining the oils that make leather flexible and durable.
These oils will evaporate with water molecules without adequate care as the leather dries. This unfortunate situation will cause the leather piece to be brittle and cause it to crack. You can use leather conditioners to treat your boots and reduce the damage caused by moisture. But it is best to protect your footwear from coming in contact with moisture.
Q: How do you treat water-damaged leather shoes?
Begin by drying the wet shoe with appropriate techniques, and apply a generous amount of leather conditioner afterward to restore its suppleness. For dried moisture stains, start by cleaning off the spots and stains on the material. Then, use a warm, damp, soft cloth to work out each stain on the shoe gradually.
Once you have faded out the spots on the leather shoes, air dry the footwear. Finally, generously apply a suitable leather conditioner to the shoe. Treating your footwear with a conditioner and protectant will soften leather boots and prevent moisture from penetrating the material.
Q: Can you dry boots with a hair dryer?
The hot air from a hair dryer can help you dry your boots quickly, but I wouldn’t recommend this. Exposing your footwear to a hair dryer for lengthy periods can cause severe damage. The heat from your blow dryer could weaken the glue holding the components of your footwear together. It could also leave your shoes with permanent burn marks or even start a fire.
Q: How long does it take for boots to air dry?
On average, boots take about 2 to 3 days to air dry completely. However, the amount of time boots require to air dry depends on many factors. These factors include the thickness of the footwear, the amount of moisture, temperature, and relative humidity.
Stepping in your leather boots gives you all the swag and comfort you wish until you are caught in the rain, or your boots get dunked into a pool. One moment your feet are warm and fuzzy; the next, they feel cold and damp.
Are you scared of your favorite leather boot losing its shine and getting ruined due to moisture exposure? Don’t worry; I have compiled some practical techniques that should help with how to dry wet leather boots. Whether caught in the rain or stumbled into a puddle, you can safely dry your boots now.