Is Sand Bad For Shower Drains?

Everyone loves a fun day on a white sandy beach, but we don’t love the beach sand following us home. When we get home, the first thing everyone does is jump in the shower to rinse the sand and salt away. Did you ever stop to think that all that the sand is bad for your shower drain?

Sand in a shower drain is not a good idea and will probably clog up the drain when it accumulates. Beach sand might not damage the plumbing itself when it washes down the drain, but when it blocks the drain, it will cause significant damage that requires a professional plumber’s skills to repair.

Once a shower drain is blocked with sand, most of the drain cleaning products will not work. Let’s find out why sand is bad for a shower drain and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Keep Beach Sand Out of a Shower Drain

When returning home from a day at the beach, most people directly jump in the shower to wash the sea salt and beach sand away. Unfortunately, shower drains are not made to handle beach sand and will get blocked over time if they continuously deal with sand.

As sand washes down a shower drain, it quickly clings to other debris inside the drain and creates a blockage. This is clearly noticeable when the water starts draining slower or the shower floor fills up with water that doesn’t drain.

This is the time to call in the professionals; a plumber will help clear the drain and solve the issue. However, once the problem is solved, it is time to re-evaluate your post-beach shower routine and make some changes. Let’s look at steps to keep beach sand out of your shower drains before it becomes a problem this summer.

Leave the Sand at the Beach

Summer is here, and it’s time to get the swimwear, beach hats, sunscreen, and flip flops out and head to the beach. Although you rinse the beach sand and salt away at the beach when it’s time to leave, it is impossible to remove all the beach sand and debris at once—wet sand sticks like crazy.

You might think it is not a problem and that the sand will come off in the shower. Sure, but the sand and thick sunscreen can cause drain blockages and damage your plumbing, mainly if your plumbing is old and made from cast iron or galvanized steel.  

The best way to stop beach sand from blocking your shower drain is not to bring it into your home in the first place. We know that beach sand is an annoying traveler, but there are many ways to drastically reduce the amount of beach sand coming into your home.

Beach sand is part of the fun and games at the beach, but it quickly gets irritating when tracked into your car, home, and shower drain. If you have had enough of beach sand stubbornly sticking to your skin and getting into your home and plumbing, here are a few tips to keep the sand at the beach. 

Why Does Beach Sand Stick like Crazy?

One of the characteristics of sand is how it changes when it encounters water. Sand loves water, and the water molecules directly stick to it. More water molecules attach to the ones already attached to the sand, and anything that’s wet will collect sand like damp beach towels, swimwear, chairs, shoes, feet, etc.

When the water evaporates, the sand will get caught in clothing and stick to your skin, and cling where it’s not needed.

Once the sand falls off, it gets stepped into your carpets at home and ends up in the shower drain when you shower.

On The Beach Keep Sand Away from Your Gear

Getting wet and attracting sand at the beach is unavoidable, but you can take steps to reduce the sand you pick up there. It’s unlikely to keep everything entirely sand-free, but these tips to help clean it up after leaving will significantly reduce the amount of sand going home with you. Getting rid of sand is a matter of fighting moisture.

Choose beach items that are less likely to attract and retain sand, like flip flops or sandals that have open toes that quickly let the sand fall out and can survive a rinse. 

Choose items made from a mesh-like material that allows sand to fall through for chairs and carry bags. A good shake and gravity quickly get rid of dry sand.

For items that are not made from mesh-like materials, like metal chairs that attract sand, give them a good brush off with a brush or rinse with water before entering your car.

Beach towels are difficult to clean on the beach, so try using a beach chair rather than sitting on a towel.

Try not to get wet and then touch the sand, so it has a reason to stick to your skin. Also, apply sunscreen at home before you reach the beach to have enough time to dry before you come in contact with sand; if you need to reapply sunscreen, step off the sand to apply and give it time to dry.

When you swim in the ocean, try to leave the water when the waves are coming in; when the waves pull back, it stirs up the sand that will stick to you.

Suppose your beach does not feature an outdoor shower area where you can rinse the sand away. A portable beach shower you can buy from any outdoor sports store will do the trick. It provides an easy way to rinse yourself off with clean water and remove sand sticking to your skin. 

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Here are a Few Tips to Prevent Beach Sand from Getting into Your Home and Shower Drains

After you get rid of as much sand as you can at the beach, there is still some sand that will be hardcore and stick to your skin and beach gear and follow you home. Here’s how to get rid of it. 

Use Baby Powder

Baby powder is more absorbing than sand, and when you sprinkle it on your feet and hands, it will absorb moisture that makes sand sticky, and the sand will loosen and fall away. 

It’s hard to keep all the sand away from your feet on the beach; when you get into your car, there is still sand clinging. Beach sand doesn’t rinse off super easy either. Baby powder works excellent on the sand as you rub it in on your hands and feet; it’s much easier to remove the sand.

It works by absorbing the moisture that lets the sand stick to your skin and makes it a lot easier to brush off. Any sand that’s still clinging on can be rinsed off with a hose when you get home. Don’t forget to rinse in between your toes and all the places sand-like to hide.

Rinse it Off outside

Keep an outdoor hose at home where you can rinse the salty water and beach sand away from your items and yourself before going inside your home. Dry well before you go inside to make sure any sand still holding on falls to the ground.

Rinse your shoes and swimwear outside and leave them there to dry completely. Flip flops, sandals, and swimwear are a lot easier to clean when they are dry, shaking off any remaining sand when they are dry. 

Leave The Shoes and Swimwear Outside

Once you have rinsed off the beach items, leave them on your porch and drape your swimwear somewhere convenient until completely dry and give them another shake off before taking them inside. Leave sandy beach flip-flops or sandals outside.

Create a Sand Room

If you don’t have a porch or outside area to rinse off before entering the home, it is a great idea to create a sand room much like a mud room in the front of the home to separate sandy beach items. 

Rinse the Beach Toys Thoroughly

Beach toys are fun but don’t bring them home covered in sand. Rinse them in the ocean before placing them in a clean bag. Give them another rinse to clean outside before putting them away when you reach home. 

Use a Fitted Sheet at the Beach

Using a fitted sheet is another great idea to keep sand away from your beach items and towels. Take an old fitted sheet with you to the beach and lay it flat on the sand, propping the corners up with your cooler and bags to keep it extended and steady. Now place your beach towels and chairs onto the sheet.

They will stay sand-free for most of the day. You will probably still track in some sand after walking on the beach. Using a fitted sheet as a base reduces sticking sand far better than a wet towel. Fitted sheets are easy to wash in the washing machine after its dry and excess sand is shaken out.

Don’t Forget the Pets

Don’t forget your pets. If any pets accompany you to the beach, give them a good rinse outside too before allowing them inside. Rinse off any sand sticking to your pet’s skin because beach sand can irritate their skin.

If you follow these tips to keep sand out of your home, your shower drains will be clear and working well this summer. 

Unblocking a Sand Clogged Shower Drain

Once again, we would like to remind you sand is bad for shower drains. It is essential to ensure that all the sand has been rinsed off outside before entering the shower.

Unfortunately, Drano won’t work in sand blocked drain. Be prepared to get your hands dirty to clear this situation.

If some sand should make its way down your shower drain and cause a blockage, here is how you can remove the sand easily.

  • Get a couple of 5-gallon buckets and fill them with hot water.
  • Disconnect the drainpipe carefully from the drainage area to give yourself access to the inside of the pipe.
  • Use your hands to remove as much sand as you can see. Pour the hot water into the opened pipe to flush out as much sand as possible. Start the process over a few times and try to flush out as much sand as you can each time.
  • A pressure washer can be used to forcefully spray through the pipes to remove any remaining sand that is left behind.
  • When you are finished using the pressure washer, a plumbing snake or a blow bag can be used to break up any blockages that are remaining.

If you did all the above and still face a problem, it is time to call a professional plumber to assist you in clearing the sand from your drainpipes.


When anyone goes to the beach regularly, you know there is sand that will follow you home and end up in your shower drain. While rinsing the sand down the drain might seem like the best thing to do, the sand going down your shower drain will cause blockages and damage to your plumbing.

Sand in a shower drain is not ideal, and you should do everything to avoid the sand from getting into your home. Rinse and clean your beach gear outside before bringing them into your home to stop sand from ending in the shower drain.

Wet sand easily sticks in drainpipes, and the buildup slowly increases until it becomes a significant problem. Your washing machine also contains a drainpipe that can also get blocked with sand so take care not to throw any sandy towels in the wash.

The best way to stop beach sand from blocking shower drains is to keep it as far away from your home as possible. Instead of creating a problem, leave the beach sand on the beach.