How can we keep sand from getting into our house?
March 29, 2010 1:23 PM   Subscribe

We live across the street from the beach and are constantly losing the battle to keep sand out of the house. What are your tips and tricks for dealing with this problem?
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hi. Grew up in Hawaii, and our solution was twofold: have a hose by the door and rinse off sandy parts before you come in and shake out all towels etc. outside; practice caring less about sand in the house, since it's inevitable to have at least some sand that gets tracked in.
posted by rtha at 1:27 PM on March 29, 2010

Avoid having carpeted floors and it will be a lot easier to deal with.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:33 PM on March 29, 2010

Have indoor slippers/flip flops that ONLY get used inside. All shoes come off at the door. Get a huge plastic tub and buy a bunch of slip-on slippers and sandals for folks to use when they come over.

Outdoor hose, used to clean off legs and anything else coming inside all sandy. Keep another few towels handy to wipe things off.

Build a 'mud room' aka 'sand room' or at least a little area to contain all this stuff, and a place to put outdoor sandals/shoes. The key is making all of this EASY so that it happens every time you come and go.

It probably comes in the windows too. Make sure you have a good HEPA vacuum and use it every few days. Wipe down with a damp cloth at least once a week too.

And realize it's one of the tradeoffs for such a cool location :-)
posted by barnone at 1:42 PM on March 29, 2010

Hose at the door was the preferred method when I was a kid.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:49 PM on March 29, 2010

You could keep a dish pan of water, instead of the hose. Step in, step out, sand stays in the water. Refresh water as needed. Use a mat or rug outside and inside.
posted by theora55 at 2:11 PM on March 29, 2010

Hose at the door (a bonus is that you get warm water out of it, at least for a while, in the summer) and then an intermediate room where feet are wiped again, and feet and butt are checked for beach tar.
posted by Danf at 2:56 PM on March 29, 2010

It's not enough to have a welcome mat. Try having a runner that starts at the door and goes for several feet. Take that runner outside and shake it every day or so.

If you've got pets, then just give up the fight.
posted by 26.2 at 3:03 PM on March 29, 2010

Agree with hose at the door, or maybe an outdoor camping shower like this one.

As a frequent beach-goer, I was getting really irritated by sand in my car. Ultimately, I started appreciating the aesthetic of having a "beach wagon" and it made the whole thing much easier to deal with.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2010

Hose, plus some sort of grate for the sand to flow through/out of. Think of super-intense doormat/grate combos for snowy climates in institutional buildings...something like this, ignoring the measurements.
posted by mdonley at 4:01 PM on March 29, 2010

Seconding rtha. I grew up in Hawaii too. We had an "outside shower" to rinse the sand and salt off and a showerhead on a fixed hose bib to be used before going inside. One year we tried the dishpan of water suggested by Theora55: bad idea, it seemed to breed and pass around infections and the large triangular scar on my ankle reminds me of it frequently.
posted by jet_silver at 4:19 PM on March 29, 2010

I'm not quite as close to the beach as you, but I am on the coast in San Diego. I have a coconut fiber mat outside our door. Not just any doormat, but dense and bristly, like a toothbrush for shoes. You want something like this or google "boot brush"
posted by slow graffiti at 5:11 PM on March 29, 2010

I've lived on a beach my entire life, and the sand battle never ends. My basic solution has always been to 1) remove shoes at the door, 2) use a bristle brush soft enough to use on your skin, similar to that of a duster to brush the sand off (works much better than a towel) and 3) have an outside shower or a hose for those days you're really sandy. A pan of water is not a good idea as if it isn't used for a few days it can become breeding ground for mosquitoes or infections in warmer weather.

I've always had a type of mud room (we always called the "cold room" since it's the coldest room in the house in the winter) so that you can still do the whole "shoes off before entering the house" rule without actually having to leave your shoes outside. If this is a situation where you've gone to the beach for the day, don't take anything inside the actual house until you have to, just leave it in the cold room (towels, cooler, etc). If anyone has their hair up have them take it down and shake it out - that was always the source of the most sand for me. Take your bathing suit off in the shower as you'll have more sand fall out of that. My cold room has a drain in the floor so when it's time for the sand to go I just spray a hose.

If your house is situated like mine where you have sand no matter what you do (my backyard is a sand dune and the lawn is sandy) then there's really nothing you can do other than avoid tracking in big gobs of sand on a daily basis. The "shoes off at the door" rule pretty much takes care of that.
posted by sephira at 7:13 PM on March 29, 2010

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