Children in a car with sand on their feet

Seven tips to get and keep sand out of your car

Love the beach, but don’t want to bring it home with you? Here’s a beach-goers guide to summer car care.

By Shell on Jan. 11, 2022

For Australians, cleaning sand out of our cars can be as much of a summer ritual as a trip to the beach itself. But it’s not just an annoyance – the highly abrasive nature of sand can increase wear and tear on carpets, upholstery and other delicate trims. So, if you want to get sand out of your car this summer and then keep it out, here’s what you need to do.

1. Don’t wait to clean it up

Your car’s trims and upholsteries are already at the mercy of long-term wear, and sand only speeds up the process. It can also be almost impossible to get out of carpets and fabrics once it’s really worked in. If you want to avoid the damage it can cause, you need to get it out quickly.

2. Keep the vacuum on ice... at first

A vacuum cleaner is one of your best weapons against unwanted sand but don’t start with it. If you have floor mats, remove and shake them out first – for the best results, hang them from a clothes line and beat vigorously with a broom, then use a stiff-bristled brush to help dislodge any remaining particles from the carpet fibres. If sand has made it to your factory carpet or seats, also give them a good brushing first to loosen and dislodge as much sand as possible.

3. Vacuum while brushing

Now’s the time to vacuum your mats, carpets and seats, but don’t put your stiff-bristled brush away just yet – use it as you go to help free any other stubborn sand particles.

4. Bring out the home-spun tools

Sand doesn’t just find its way into a car’s floor areas and seats, it can end up in your cabin’s nooks, crannies and other confined spaces. To dislodge hard-to-reach particles, try using a set of make-up or art brushes or a flat-head screwdriver with the end covered in a rag while vacuuming.

5. Bring in the air force

Still struggling with sand in a hard-to-reach spot? A well-aimed spurt from a can of compressed air might be all that’s needed to work it free and into the vacuum stream.

6. Prepare your car for beach travel

The best way to avoid the pain of sand in your car is to stop it happening in the first place. Sheets laid on the seats and in the boot can be lifted out and shaken out away from the car. Rubber floor mats with raised edges can keep sand spilling off the edge and onto your factory carpet. A small portable vacuum can be kept on hand to suck up any rogue grains before they get stuck or worked in.

7. Change your on-beach habits

Some of the things we do on the beach can make bringing sand home inevitable. Rather than sitting or lying on a wet beach towel, bring separate towels for drying and lounging or – better – get a microfibre towel that doesn’t hold sand. Using a folding chair rather than sitting on the sand is another way to ensure more of it stays on the beach.


Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.