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Can You Put Leather in the Dryer? (Quick Answers)

Leather goods like other materials need cleaning when they get dirty or get wet with water. To avoid the hard work, some may prefer putting leather items inside a washing machine and dryer. However, leather and heat do not mesh well together.

So will it be a good idea to put leather in a dryer? Let’s find it out.

Can you put leather in the dryer?

You cannot put leather in the dryer. The high heat of the dryer strips the natural oil of leather resulting in crack or distortion. Moreover, leather goods may shrink or warp because of exposure to dryer heat.  Also, creases or indents may form because of the bouncing motion inside the dryer. 

A list of leather items is mentioned here. We will get insights into whether they get damaged inside a dryer or not.

Leather shoes/boots/sneakers: 

Do not put leather shoes inside a dryer. It will crack the material and can remove the glue. Again, the shoe might get distorted as leathers relax and stretch in heat. Indents and wrinkles may also form. Hence the recommendation is to air dry. 

Leather pants/leggings: 

You should not put leather pants or leggings in a dryer. However, some people put their leather pants in a dryer to shrink back. It may work! But can also cause substantial damage. Instead, use warm water to shrink the leather pants. 

Leather gloves:

Do not put leather gloves in a dryer. The heat from the dryer will dry and crack the material. It is better to air dry. Also, to shrink a leather glove, use warm water. 

Leather jackets/coats:

Leather jackets or coats will shrink if put in a dryer. They may lose the sheen and crack as heat strips the natural oils of leather. Nevertheless, when using a dryer, set the temperature to low.  

Leather bag: 

Putting a leather bag in a dryer is not a wise idea. The heat strips the oils making leather dry, cracked, and dull. However, when using a dryer, set low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Again, Use a towel inside to lessen the damage. 

Leather trainers: 

Leather tends to relax and stretch when exposed to heat. It may warp the trainers. Also, bouncing inside the dryer can cause creases, wrinkles, and indents. So choose air-drying instead.  

Faux leather:

Putting faux leather in a dryer should never be an option. The heat can cause notable damage. Instead, choose to air dry. You can also use steam to smooth out the wrinkles and the conditioner to give a sheen. 

What happens when you put leather in the dryer?

Putting leather items in a dryer can cause considerable damages. Some major problems that may occur are –

Strip natural oils:

Leather material contains natural oils. These oils keep the leather material smooth and shiny. The excessive heat from a dryer can remove these oils and cause the material to dry. Hence, cracks will form in the material. 

Cause distortion: 

When leather gets exposed to heat, the material tends to stretch and relax. Hence, the usual shape and size of the leather item may get distorted or warped. Also, you cannot bring back the shape once it is deformed. 

Cause shrinking: 

A leather item will shrink from the excessive heat of a dryer. Some consider putting leather items in the dryer to shrink down. However, it may cause notable damage. Instead, use warm water to shrink leather apparel or items. 

Wrinkles/ creases: 

When you put a leather item inside a dryer, it not only get exposed to heat but also bounces inside the washing machine. The bouncing motion causes the leather to get creases or wrinkles or indents. 

How to dry leather?

Drying leather naturally is not that difficult. We have prepared a step-by-step process on how you can dry leather with ease. Again, when you notice a leather item is wet, act as fast as possible to avoid stain marks.  

Pat dry: 

The first step is to pat dry the leather to remove excess moisture. You may use a dry cloth, sponge, or microfiber towel.

Put stuffing inside:

Put stuff such as newspaper or other similar materials if there is a hollow inside the leather item. In this way, it will be easy to work with, and the leather item can retain its original shape. 

Also, the stuffing will absorb a lot of moisture and speed up the drying process. 

Use conditioner:

While the leather is still damped, apply a thick coat of quality leather conditioner to replenish the natural oils.

Air dry:

Put the leather item to air dry. It may take time, but air drying would not create any damage to the material. 

Avoid artificial heat: 

A dryer or hair-dryer or radiator can speed up the process. Nevertheless, the heat from these methods will remove the natural oils of leather causing it to crack.

Removing stain:

You may use a high-quality leather cleaner if you notice any stain. Before that, test the cleaner in a small section. Now with the cleaners gently wipe the stain. Also, clean the excessive residue and let it dry. 

How do I keep my leather jacket from cracking?

Leather jackets may crack if it is put in a dryer or neglected. The heat from the dryer can remove the natural oils, making them dry, dull, and cracked. 

If you want to avoid cracks, you should not put the jacket inside a dryer. Also, avoid using other heating appliances such as a hair-dryer or radiator. Instead, let the jacket air dry. Again, use a high-quality leather conditioner to replenish the natural oils.

Can you restore dried-out/cracked leather?

Excessive heat or direct sunlight causes cracks on leather. Even though the damage is permanent, but one can hide them following some easy processes.

Using a good quality conditioner, you can rehydrate the light leather cracks. Another way is to use a leather dye. This method is also for hiding cracks or scratches that are light. 

However, for deep cracks, you need a leather filler. All the processes are easy to follow and give outstanding results. 

How do you fix dry damaged leather?

It is possible to fix damaged leather. We have jotted down the process step-by-step.

For light cracks/ scratches:  

Use a cleaner: 

For this, you need soap or a cleanser of good quality.

Patch test: 

You must do a patch test on small areas before you use the cleanser. It is to confirm whether the cleaner will damage or discolor the leather. 


Using a soft brush or cloth and water, clean the top surface and surroundings of the cracks. Do not rub harshly. After cleansing, the leather will be in a flexible state. 

Use leather conditioner:

Now use a quality conditioner. It will help refill the natural oils and strengthen the fibers around the cracks. 

Smooth out:

Using a finger or a soft sponge, smooth out the conditioner. Wipe out the excess. The leather needs time to absorb the conditioner. 

Air dry:

Finally, put the leather to air dry. Do not use any heating appliances such as a dryer, radiator, or hair-dryer.  

Repeat if needed:

You can repeat the process if you need another coat. Remember not to overdo it as over-oiling can damage the structure, make it look waxy and slippery. 

For deep cracks: 


First, you need to clean the leather item with a quality leather cleaner. Use a soft brush, sponge, or fabric. 

Patch test: 

Do not forget to do a patch test before you use the cleanser on the leather. 

Air dry: 

Put the leather to air dry. Dry the leather thoroughly as the presence of moisture may prevent the filler to set into the cracks. 

Smooth out:

Using a super fine 600-grit sandpaper, smooth out the cracks. Be gentle. Wipe off the remaining dust. 

Apply leather filler: 

Using a palette knife apply the leather filler evenly all over the cracks. Use fillers until the cracks no more appear. Remove the excess paste. 

Let it dry:

You need to dry the filler for at least six hours. Avoid any heating appliances or direct sunlight.  

Second coat:

As the filler dries, it may shrink. So if you think you need to put another layer, you may do that as well. 

How do you shrink a leather jacket?

Leather jackets may expand when worn regularly or after several uses. So if you want to shrink it back to normal, you may use warm water. Using warm water to shrink leather jackets is a great and harmless idea. 

Another way is using a dryer. If you set the temperature to low, then it may not cause any substantial damages. 

Final Thoughts

In general, leather items are not suitable for dryers. The material may dry out, crack, lose sheen, shrink, or even become distorted. Air drying is considered the best method for leather goods. However, if one wishes to put leather into a dryer, make sure the temperature is low.