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How To Get Sand Off Of Any Surface, From Your Body To Your Car

Molly Maid president Marla Mock has your (sandy) back.

Originally Published: 
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Sometimes a day at the beach is anything but, especially if you're in charge of packing the car with all the gear, getting everyone comfortable and happy, and figuring out how to get it all back home without finding sand everywhere for the next decade.

Cleaning up messes might be parenting 101, but sand in every crevice is a different beast entirely. Is it even possible to avoid sandy bodies, beach chairs, and other sh*t in the first place? Maybe not, but you can help minimize the mess, as one cleaning pro tells Scary Mommy.

ICYDK, beach sand is hydrophilic, which means water molecules are attracted to it. So, sand paired with wet surfaces (swimwear, bodies, pool gear, etc.) means seemingly endless clean-up time after your big beach outing. Add in sticky sunscreen, and we don't blame you for muttering some choice four-letter words along the way.

The obvious answer here is to have everyone use the outdoor shower before getting back in the car. But if your toddler's having a meltdown or your preteens are fighting — or worse: there is no outdoor shower — no sweat. According to Marla Mock, the president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company, having a few household essentials on hand will help you out big time.

De-Sanding Bodies & Hair

Mock recommends stashing some baby powder or cornstarch in your tote, which will "help lift the sand from your body," she says. "Sprinkle it on the sandy areas and then brush off the sand." You'll want to start by shaking or combing as much sand out of hair as possible, and then apply a liberal amount of baby powder and/or cornstarch wherever it's needed. She also suggests bringing a stiff brush, which can help with extra-sandy hands, feet, and hair.

De-Sanding All Your Beach Gear

After everyone's body is as sand-free as possible, you'll want to try and corral the crew to help get sand off your stuff. "Before getting them into the car, shake out the beach gear vigorously to remove loose sand," says Mock. "You can also rinse off items like umbrellas, coolers, and beach chairs if there is a public fountain available." If not, a good shake or gentle knock against the ground can help loosen some sand before you put everything back in the car.

You can help smaller items along by using baby wipes, which are especially useful on bottles, devices, and the like. If you can, bring along a portable handheld vacuum and a toothbrush or small sponge to get sand out of small, hard-to-reach crevices in the car. Even better: Line your seats and trunk with old towels or sheets, which will reduce the amount of sand touching the surfaces of your vehicle.

De-Sanding Wet Swimsuits, Clothes, & Towels

What about the wet swimsuits and clothes? First, you'll want to bring a stash of sealable bags to separate wet clothes from everything else.

"Shake out the towels, swimsuits, and beach clothes outdoors to remove as much sand as possible," says Mock. "Then, wash them separately in a washing machine using cold water. Avoid overloading the machine to ensure proper rinsing." This is also solid advice for any sandy bedding you might find in the days after you're back home.

The Final Frontier: De-Sanding Your Home After the Fact

If you're back home and still find that your kids have tracked sand in through their shoes or stuff, don't stress. "To clean sand from carpet or floors, start by vacuuming the area with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a brush attachment," says Mock. "If there are still traces of sand, use a damp cloth or sponge to gently wipe the affected areas. Make sure to let the area dry completely to prevent moisture-related issues."

This also works for your car, but you'll want to leave windows open afterward to air out any moisture. And hey, it's a great opportunity to bring your ride to the car wash for a more thorough deep clean.

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