For the second time in recent history, we have to concede that Attack of the Clones had a point.
Because the literal takeaway from a fun day at the beach is the seemingly endless pile of sand that falls out of every receptacle, pocket and crevice you own as soon as you walk through your front door. That’s why I — a guy raised at the Jersey Shore who now lives in the Caribbean, and who goes to the beach at least two to three times a week — am stepping up to offer you my decades of experience in sand-removal. You can choose to embrace it, like Miles Klee, or you can read my best tips on how to remove those annoying silicon dioxide granules from everything they inevitably invade. (One further note: My editor specifically requested tips on “getting sand out of your foreskin,” but honestly, you’ll just have to fend for yourself on that one.)
Food and Beverages
There’s nothing more jarring at the beach than crunching down on grit that’s gotten into your burger and two-gallon drum of piña colada. I’ll level with you, the only thing you can do here — besides chucking it entirely while cursing your gods — is removing or pouring off the portions that sand got stuck to. But wipe your hands first, or those sandy fingers are just going to be adding even more unwanted texture. To better avoid sand getting in your lunch in the first place, get up off that towel and find a lounger.
Okay, you’ve had your fun and it’s time to leave. Your clothes probably transfer sand everywhere else the most, so try to rid all of your garments of it completely, especially your towels and footwear. Give them all a good, thorough shaking separately and away from other garments. When you’re done with each one, place them in your beach bag (of course, shake your beach bag clear of all sand first, genius).
For clothing items that are wet, like towels and swimwear, Popular Science suggests tossing them in a mesh bag until you get home. Then, soak the items in cold water for 10 minutes, which will separate the sand grains from the fabric. Next, allow the items to air dry, taking them outside for a good shaking afterward — the sand should all fall away easily.
Hair, Ears and Body
To remove sand from your body, start by giving your hair a good shake and gently scratch your entire scalp to dispel as much loose sand as possible. Use a comb or brush if you brought one with you. To clear your ears, don’t use a cotton swab — that could push sand deeper in your ear canals, which then run the risk of becoming infected. Instead, tilt your head to the side and shake it while pulling your ear up and back.
Next, head over to the showers and thoroughly rinse off your entire body, including your hair. This should get rid of most of the sand on your person except your private parts (please, keep your swimsuit on unless you’re at a clothing-optional beach). If any sand remains when you get home, stand somewhere easy to clean (in the bath, or on a towel) and sprinkle some baby powder on the offending area. The powder will absorb any moisture and dampness the sand holds, making it easily fall away. Yes, even those stubborn grains that are lodged in your butt crack.
You paid upwards of $200 for those Ray-Ban Aviators, so you should look after them with care. If there’s sand lodged in the hinges or between the frame and lenses, don’t try to wipe them away because you’ll scratch them. Instead, give them a thorough rinse under the shower to whisk away the loose sand and let them dry inside their case. Once they’re dry, use the cloth they came with to clean the lenses and frames.
Smartphone and Bluetooth Speaker
Sand in your smartphone can be a costly disaster: It can scratch your screen badly or, worse, seep into your phone’s charger or headphone ports and cause damage. The same goes for your Bluetooth speaker — too much sand could eventually disrupt the device’s optimum sound and operation. To remove any sand from your phone, be sure to power it down before you begin cleaning it. A can of compressed air works great in dislodging the particles from the sensitive parts of your phone. If you can’t get your hands on that, you might try loosening out the sand with a soft toothbrush as well. For your Bluetooth speaker, specialists suggest a good rinse with water should do the trick (assuming your speaker is waterproof — if it’s not, use the toothbrush method).
No matter how well you follow the advice above, sand still inevitably ends up in your car’s seats and floor mats. According to Australia-based Temby Auto Service, the trick to removing the maximum amount of sand from your car is to avoid jumping straight to vacuuming. “The first step is to remove all of the mats, turn them upside down and beat them,” they write. “This should dislodge most of the sand. Next, use a stiff bristled brush and comb the carpet to agitate and dislodge more hidden particles of sand.” Then, they suggest, vacuum the mats and seats thoroughly and slowly with a smaller vacuum tip or just the end of the nozzle to get the maximum sucking action.
After a long day in the sun, nothing disturbs sweet dreams more than a sandy, itchy bed. You may want to just brush it all away or give it a quick vacuum so you can get to sleep, but Shanelle Lewis, the housekeeping manager at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Barbados, says those methods will prove futile. “No matter how much you brush or vacuum the bedding, grains of sand will still remain,” she says. “It’s best to just remove all the bedding and start fresh.” So yeah, there’s no shortcut here — you’re just gonna have to wash the sheets.
Now go get a good night’s sleep so you can remove a beach’s worth of sand from your belongings again tomorrow.