how to get sand out of clothes

How to Get Sand Out of Clothes in 3 Easy Steps (An Unwanted Piece of Vacation!)

A beautiful, sunny day at the beach with a good book and refreshing drink sounds peaceful.

But what’s less than peaceful is that never-ending sand sticking on your clothes, like you’ve rolled in every inch of the beach.

Thankfully, there are easy ways to get sand out of your clothes, beach bags, and nearly anything you took to the beach.

Anyone would love a piece of their vacation back with them, but we prefer it if it wasn’t sand!

In this article, I’ll walk you through every single detail that needs your attention. Don’t skip any steps or those grains might find a way to linger around forever!

Step #1 – Start Cleaning Up at the Beach

a woman holding a green towel at the beach
When your cleaning gets SUBLIME

Yourself, the family (pets included!), and any gear you took to the beach should be cleaned at least halfway before taking them home. Start by dusting yourself before you guys get in the car.

Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes (and Tails!)

It’s best to start from the top! It is handy to keep a brush or comb in your beach bag. Before leaving the beach, brushing and getting the sand out of your hair is important.

Shake your hair upside down and scratch your scalp (be careful). This is to ensure that you do not find pesky grains when you think you finally got rid of all the sand.

If you can, have everyone dust themselves until they are sure there is no more sand. Then rinse off at the outdoor shower and change clothes. Put the wet, sandy clothes in a plastic bag securely, so the sand does not seep into the car.

If you can’t shower, I advise putting baby powder under your feet after brushing the sand off your body. This allows the sticking sand to fall off and prevents tracking more sand.

Dust Your Beach Gear Too

When you’re away from the beach and sand, take everything out from your beach bag and other items from other containers and dust all the sand out. The best method for this is to shake everything like a polaroid picture!

Use a dusting brush to ensure almost all the sand is out. Dust everyone’s shoes as well. For sticky sunblock bottles, use a damp cloth or a wet wipe to get most of the sand out before putting them back into the bag.

Umbrellas, chairs, and coolers can become sand central, so don’t forget to dust them against a pole to loosen the sand and brush the remaining sand.

The goal here is to get most of the sand out before getting in the car, making at-home clean-up easier.

Step #2 – Wash everything

When you get home, you have to wash everything. 

And I literally mean everything: from towels and clothes to your hair scrunchie! But be careful with sand in your washing machine. It is best to start soaking your sandy clothes in a bucket and tipping the water outside in the garden.

Sounds like hard work, I know, but the less sand goes in your washer the better! Residual sand can remain in the washing machine and be end up in your next cycle and the one after.

This hard work is vital in avoiding sand in your clothes and practically everything.

Once the soaking is done, wash your beach towels in a hot wash setting (avoid this if your towels are not meant to be in hot water!) and dry them in the line or the tumble dryer.

Don’t forget to run an empty cycle after the towels have been washed to get rid of stray sand. Those little grains are so persistent and like to stay around!

This will also prevent sand from going on other clothes you wash in the future.

bathing diaper

When washing your bathing suit and other swimming clothes, you’re going to want to avoid the washing machine. We don’t want to stretch your clothes and damage them, as well, as we don’t want to get a lot of sand in the machine. This can lead to damage.

Instead, fill a big basin with warm water and add mild laundry detergent. I find that liquid laundry detergent or dissolvable laundry sheets – such as Earth Breeze or Tru Earth – do best here as they dissolve well in water compared to powder products. The next step is to put your clothes in the water and soak them for 15 minutes.

When 15 minutes have passed, swirl your clothes in the water, then lift and rinse with cool water. Put your clothes on the line (if it’s allowed in your area!) instead of the tumble dryer, as air drying will ensure that there are no grains of sand.

Other items such as umbrellas can be washed with cold water from the hose. I know you’re tired from splashing in the cool water, but it’s important to wash everything as soon as you get some to avoid a sandy home.

Sand is like glitter, it’s great for the moment but lasts forever and no one really likes it anymore!

Step #3 – Make Sure to Clean Your House and the Car

The laundry room should be swept first after you clean your sandy laundry, then move on to the rest of the house. 

When you have completely finished beach laundry, take out your mats, runners, and rugs outside and dust them properly.

A stiff brush is your friend, as it can get most of the sand and other dust. Vacuuming should finish the job. When sweeping your hard surface floor, begin from one side sweeping thoroughly. Follow up your sweeping with vacuuming, and don’t forget the corners!

After that, use a damp mop to finally clean the floor. For carpets, vacuum one more time to ensure everything is clean.

Your car also needs a clean (guh!) as salt air can damage its exterior. For the inside, wipe everything down to loosen any sand. Vacuum your car properly, paying attention to nooks and crannies.

Now that the car is spick and span, it should be kept that way for all beach trips!

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if there’s sand in my bed?

You’ve just fallen asleep, and now you can feel sand grains. Argh!

You should fold up your bedding carefully to scoop up all the sand and take it outside. Dust and shake the sheets and blankets, then put them in the washing machine.

Before making the bed, you should vacuum the mattress to make sure there is no more sand on the bed. Make the bed with clean linen and slip in the covers for a well-deserved good night’s rest.

Can I put my sandy clothes in the washing machine?

Definitely not!

While some grains always manage to get there, we should try our best to avoid as much sand as possible in the washer.

The sand can damage your favorite bathing suit and other clothes which causes the color to fade. Hot water can also make the sand become glued to the laundry, making it hard for you to do other loads.

It is best to shake off the sand to avoid long-term cleaning issues in the future.

How to get sand burrs out of clothes?

sandburs on a white surface

Sand what?

Sand burrs or sandburs are spikey little things that can get stuck on your clothes or YOU if you’re not paying attention. You must remove them if you ever come into contact with them.

Lay your clothes on a flat, dry surface. You should use a fine comb and slide it upward from beneath the burr. You can also use duct tape.