Everyone enjoys a day at the beach, but unfortunately, you can bring home a lot of sand. It gets into bags, shoes, pockets, and hemlines. While the right gear can help (example: a mesh tote bag for towels!), you can’t avoid carrying home at least a few grains after a day at the shore.
Sand is hydrophilic meaning it’s attracted to water. That’s why it covers your feet and legs as soon as you step out of the waves. Fabric softener, however, is hydrophobic — that is, it repels water. Wash items like your tote in fabric softener before you go to the beach, and less sand will stick to them while you’re there.
Make your new mantra “dry and shake.”
Let your swimsuit and other wet items dry completely before even attempting to get the sand off. If possible, hang them outside to minimize the debris you bring into your home. If that’s not possible, drape the pieces above the bathtub, which will be much easier to vacuum (when dry) or wipe down than, say, an area rug. Once the fabric is dry, shake it until you’ve removed as much sand as possible.
Embrace the quick soak.
Sand often makes its way into hidden pockets, creases, and folds. Consider soaking items in cold water mixed with a small amount of detergent for about 10 minutes to help release the sand. Allow the fabric to fully dry before giving it another shake. This works for sneakers, too — just check the care label to make sure you can get them wet, and then after the soak, crumple a little newspaper inside to help them dry faster.
Absolutely imperative! It’s almost impossible, depending on the amount of sand, to get it out of the washing machine completely. A gritty washer is more than just a nuisance: It can mix with detergent residue that’s already in your drain lines and, over time, further gunk them up. Then you’ll have no choice but to call in a pro to clean them.