It’s been getting to that time of year again, where long, muddy walks in the countryside are a common past time.
That means it’s time for the wellies to come out! This also means coming home with soaking wet and muddy wellies which need cleaning and drying while you warm yourself up with a cup of tea.
At this point you’ll be left with the question of the best way to dry your wellies off for the next outing.
It can seem like an obvious and fast solution to just chuck them in the tumble dryer and hope for the best. But is this a good idea?
It’s very tempting to dry your wellies in the tumble dryer to get it done quickly. It seems similar to putting trainers in the washing machine to clean them. This generally isn’t a good idea, however, as most wellies are rubber based, so drying them with heat can ruin them.
In this piece we’ll look at why drying your wellies in a tumble dryer isn’t a good idea and how to clean and dry them effectively.
Why You Shouldn’t Put Wellies in your Tumble Dryer
There are a lot of different ways to dry your wellies if they’ve been soaked from a walk.
Putting them in the tumble dryer will sound really good on paper because you can just turn it on and leave them to it.
However, drying your wellies with any method that uses heat is not good for them.
Wellies are primarily made from rubber and excessive exposure to heat can start to ruin their shape and the resilience of the material.
Heat from the dryer (or even direct sunlight) can dry out the rubber too much, causing it to become brittle and crack, completely ruining the wellies.
The heat can also increase the risk of early decay in the rubber, which will lead to the wellies simply falling apart eventually.
Even if the rubber itself survives, the heat can fade the colour of your wellies as well.
For this same reason, it is never a good idea to leave your wellies outside in the sun on a hot day to dry as you’ll get these same results.
The same thing will also happen if you leave your wellies on a hot radiator to dry them quickly.
These are methods which you shouldn’t use to dry your wellies, so let’s look at what the best ways are!
How to Dry Your Wellies Effectively
As you’ll have seen, the best ways to dry your wellies are basically any ways which avoid heat and direct sunlight.
Unfortunately this usually means that drying your wellies will take a very long time, as most of the drying will actually occur naturally through air drying.
Leaving them just outside your door, as long as they’re not in the sunlight can be a very effective way to dry them.
You can speed up the process a bit by balling up some old newspaper and stuffing the boots with this.
The newspaper will absorb a lot of the moisture from the wellies and get them dryer much quicker.
Filling socks with rice or cat litter can have the same effect as the newspaper if they are balled up and place in the wellies.
Both of these materials are pretty good at absorbing excess moisture.
Another method which people have used a lot is to use a fan which does not generate heat.
You can attach the wellies to the fan with a specific hook attachment and leave the fan blowing cool air over them to dry them overnight.
A bit of a high tech method is using a boot dryer. This gadget blows warm air into the boots for a couple of hours. Inserting the nozzle until it hits the edge of the toe is important to make sure the entire surface of the welly gets dry.
There are a lot of different methods of drying, all of which will take a while, but the most important thing is to avoid heat.
Before drying the wellies, though, you need to clean them properly too!
How to Clean Your Wellies
Maybe you’ve been on a particularly muddy walk and before leaving your wellies to dry you need to give them a proper clean first.
This is important as leaving your boots to dry when they still have mud on them can cause staining.
You should start with the outside of the wellies, aiming to remove the mud and dirt caked onto them.
It’s probably easiest to do this outside as well, to prevent any mud being brushed off onto your floors!
To start, use a stiff bristled brush to remove dried dirt. Leave stubborn older stains for later.
Next, soak a cloth in warm water and work in circular motions down from the top of the welly.
Using a separate cloth in a warm soapy solution, work the soap down from the top of the welly to the bottom. Here is where you can work harder on the more stubborn stains of dirt.
Next, turn the welly upside down and use a soft bristled brush (a toothbrush will work well) to remove mud from the soles. You can use the brush in conjunction with the soapy liquid here to make this easier.
Finally, rinse the outside of the boot with water and wipe them down with a clean cloth. Make sure you get all the soap off to prevent any staining of the rubber.
Cleaning the inside of the boots is not that different from the outside.
Using a solution of warm water and detergent with a cloth, wipe down the inside of the boot, rubbing the solution in.
Use a separate cloth with plain water to wipe the soapy solution off the interior of the boot.
If there are any smells that linger on your boots, you can use a hot water and white vinegar mixture to neutralise any odours on the inside.
You can then leave your boots to dry naturally. If any smells are lingering after the clean, you can leave some bicarbonate of soda in them overnight.
And that’s how it’s done!
It’s pretty simple stuff in the end, but sometimes the most appealing solution (tumble dryer) is actually quite harmful and in this case will definitely lead to your wellies being ruined.
Cleaning your boots regularly will help prevent staining and keep them in good shape for longer.
As long as you avoid sources of heat for drying, your boots will last a very long time!