Before we had kids, while “tramping” the soggy trails of New Zealand, I learned that even the most waterproof hiking boots can get wet inside. For instance, if (a) the “trail” is a 3 ft deep creek you follow for 3 or 4 km, your boots will get wet. Or, if (b) you decide you have to walk under a waterfall, your boots are gonna get wet. Or if (c) you leave your boots outside to air out and it starts to rain, bingo, they’re wet.
Sometimes you’re going to want to wear those boots the next day. How to dry those boots? Stuff them with newspaper. When it gets wet, replace it. Best not to wad the paper too tightly.
Sound hokey? Stop laughing. It works!
You’re probably wondering what made me think of that today. Well…Guess what: If you dress your kid in their snowsuit and a pair of Bogs boots, and you’re careful to tuck the boots inside the leg of the snowsuit so no snow will get in, there is suddenly a very direct pipe from the “pee valve” to the toes!
Accidents don’t often happen at our house, but they’re interesting when they do.
As many a thrifty-mom will know, kid’s Bogs have a great resale value on Kijiji/Craig’s list etc. And this was what I was thinking as I grabbed a few e-cloths and shoved them into the boots. I don’t know how long it took for them to dry but when I reached in an hour later, the e-cloths were damp and the boots were dry and there was no smell. I sprinkled a bit of baking soda in afterwards just to be on the safe side.
General Tips Before Drying:
- Remove Your Boots Properly: Unlace them completely and gently remove them to maintain their shape and structure.
- Take Out Insoles and Laces: Remove any removable insoles and laces from your boots. These parts can be cleaned and dried separately, which speeds up the overall drying process.
- Clean Your Boots: Before you start drying, it’s a good idea to clean off any dirt or grime. Use a soft brush to gently scrub off any dirt on the outside of your boots. If the interior is also dirty, use a damp cloth.
- Rinse If Necessary: If your boots are soaked with saltwater or covered in mud, rinse with fresh water. Salt and mud can damage the material if left to dry on the boot.
- Pat Them Dry: Use an absorbent towel to pat your boots dry. This won’t completely dry your boots but will remove the excess water, making the drying process faster and more efficient.
- Open Up The Boots: Open the boots up as much as possible to allow for better air circulation. This will also make it easier for any remaining moisture to escape.
Methods for Drying Boots:
- The most straightforward method is simply letting your boots dry naturally in the air.
- Place your boots in a well-ventilated area, but keep them out of direct sunlight and away from direct heat sources as these can cause the material to crack.
- Remember, this method might take longer than others, especially for boots with thick materials.
Using Newspaper or Towels:
- Stuff your boots with newspaper or absorbent towels.
- These will draw out the moisture from the inside of the boots.
- Replace the newspaper or towels when they become wet.
Using a Boot Dryer:
- If you often need to dry boots quickly, investing in a boot dryer might be worth it.
- These devices blow warm air into your boots, drying them in hours.
- Follow the instructions provided with the boot dryer for best results.
Using a Fan or Heater:
- Positioning your boots near a fan or heater can speed up drying.
- Be cautious not to place the boots too close to a heat source as this can damage the material.
Using Rice or Cat Litter:
- Fill a pair of socks with uncooked rice or cat litter and place them inside your boots.
- Both rice and cat litter are excellent at absorbing moisture.
- Just remember to empty and clean the boots before wearing them!
Tips to Speed Up the Drying Process:
- Maximize Air Circulation: Open up your boots as much as possible by fully loosening the laces and pulling the tongue forward. This allows air to circulate freely, speeding up the drying process.
- Use an Absorbent Material: Stuff your boots with absorbent materials such as newspaper, towels, or sponges. These help to draw moisture out of the boot. Replace the material when it becomes damp.
- Apply Gentle Heat: Position your boots near a heat source such as a radiator or a heater. Remember, don’t place them too close as excessive heat can damage the boots. You’re aiming for a warm, gentle heat to speed up evaporation.
- Rotate Your Boots: Every hour or so, rotate your boots. This helps ensure all areas of your boots get exposed to the air, speeding up the drying time.
- Use a Fan: Place a fan near your boots. The increased air circulation can significantly reduce the drying time.
- Consider a Boot Dryer: If you often have wet boots, consider investing in a boot dryer. These devices are designed to dry boots efficiently and can be a great time-saver.
Maintaining Your Boots Post-Drying:
- Proper Storage: Always store your boots in a dry, well-ventilated area. Avoid keeping them in a damp basement or a stuffy closet, as this can encourage mold or mildew growth.
- Avoid Direct Heat: It’s crucial to keep your boots away from direct heat sources, like radiators or open fires, even when storing them. Excessive heat can cause the material to dry out and crack over time.
- Condition Your Boots: Consider using a conditioner to keep the material soft and flexible for leather boots. This not only helps to maintain the appearance of your boots but also enhances their durability.
- Regular Cleaning: It’s a good practice to clean your boots regularly, especially if you’ve been walking in mud or salt water. Left untreated, these can degrade the materials of your boots over time.
- Periodic Checks: Check your boots periodically for signs of damage or wear and tear. Early detection can help you address minor issues before they become major problems.
Having walked through the varied landscape of boot-drying methods, we can now appreciate the importance of drying our boots properly. Whether using absorbent materials, air drying, or leveraging the efficiency of boot dryers, each method serves a unique purpose, depending on your boot type, available resources, and the urgency of your drying needs. The key takeaway is that a well-dried boot leads to more comfortable wear, longer boot lifespan, and fewer odors or bacteria.
As we lace up this discussion, remember that the journey of boot care doesn’t end with drying. Proactive measures in boot maintenance, such as periodic cleaning, conditioning, and mindful storage, ensure your boots’ longevity. After all, whether you’re exploring forest trails or trudging through rainy city streets, a great pair of boots is an adventure’s best friend. Let’s give them the care they deserve.