How To Protect Your Car From Sand (Keep It Out)

(I may earn a small commission on the products mentioned in this post.)

Buying a car is one of the biggest expenses we’ll make in our lives. Understandably, we do our best to take care of it and keep it clean.

Cleaning your car will keep it looking great and performing well, but more than anything cleanliness feels good!

If you live near the ocean and frequent the beach, chances are you struggle to keep sand out of your car. Sand tends to get everywhere, even when you are vigilant about wiping, rinsing, and rubbing.

I’ll routinely find sand in my car after I’ve vacuumed and months after my last visit to the beach. What the heck? Where is it coming from?

In this article I’ll share a few of my best tips for protecting your car from sand. Some of the tips are common sense, others are beach hacks that you might not know, and a few are helpful products that will protect your car from accumulating sand (dog mats, mini vacuums, and floor covers). Let’s get started.

#1 Protecting Your Car From Sand Begins On The Beach

  • No shoes

First, shoes and socks on the beach are a fashion faux pas. If you’re walking on the sand with shoes they will be ruined – even a cycle in the washing machine won’t get rid of all the sand. Instead, opt for sandals.

If I’m headed to the beach I leave my sandals in the car and walk barefoot. Walking from the parking lot to the sand isn’t comfortable but it beats carry sandals that you won’t be wearing anyway.

  • Use a towel or chair to reduce sand exposure

Never sit directly on the sand. It will coat your back, get in your hair and bodily crevices. Even a thorough rinsing won’t get rid of all the sand. You can still enjoy yourself without being covered in sand.

An oversized beach towel works great as does a stylish Tommy Bahama beach chair. When you leave the beach the only place you should have sand is on your feet!

  • Make sure you’re dry before leaving

Going for 1 last swim before leaving? Stay an extra half hour to ensure you dry off. Wet sand sticks to the skin but dry sand usually wipes away fairly easy.

  • Make sure your dog is dry too

The beach is s great place to take your dog but if they have long hair they will get wet and stay wet. If your dog is riding in your car it will be difficult to keep the sand out.

You’ll need a dog blanket to make sure the hair and sand stay out of the car’s fabric (see dog blanket below).

protect car from sand at the beach

  • Take advantage of the beach showers

Always rinse your feet off when leaving the beach. There are usually foot showers at most tourist beaches.

Beach showers to a great job of reducing the amount of sand on your arms, legs, and hair.

#2 Keep A Bag In The Car

A plastic grocery bag can be a simple yet effective way to keep beach sand out of your car. Place towels, shirts, and sandals in the bag and keep it in the trunk until you get home.

If your items are wet make sure you take them out of the plastic bag after you get home otherwise they will begin to smell.

#3 Keep Small Towel In The Car

An extra towel in the car is helpful to wipe off your legs and feet. All that’s needed is a small hand-towel – it can be kept out-of-sight in a glove box.

#4 Rubber Floor Mats

Floor mats are the single best item to use in your car. All-weather mats are made from a plastic or rubber material and do a great job of catching and containing loose sand that falls from your legs (check out floor mats on Amazon).

These mats are placed on top of your existing mats and many of them are “cut to size” to fit your specific car. All-weather mats work great for dirt and moisture too. There’s no need to vacuum them, just remove, shake out!

#5 Keep A Mini-Car Vacuum In The Trunk

Shop vacuums are great for the garage but it’s always a hassle to plug them in and find an extension cord that reaches your car. Mini car vacuums are tiny and use the DC plug in your car (no need for a wall outlet).

Mini vacuums for your car can be kept in the car and hidden, in the trunk. I really like the Hikeren car vacuum on Amazon. It’s great for cleaning up sand while on-the-go without the need for extension cords and bulky equipment.

#6 Ever Tried Baby Powder?

Baby powder is one of the best beach hacks for sand. If you have sand on your legs and arms, just apply baby powder and witness the sand fall off your body.

It’s amazing to see and it works much better than a towel or your hand could do.  Plus it smells great and leaves you smelling fresh after a day at the beach. You can apply it to your hair as well.

>> Read my article on “Baby Powder For Sand”

I was skeptical but I now keep a small bottle of baby powder in my glove box and use it before getting into my car.

#7 Mini Compressor To Blow Sand Of Your Feet

Similar to the mini vacuum, there are mini-compressors that are powered by a DC outlet in your car.

The compressor works great for paddle boards and blow-up toys, but it also works to blow sand off your body. Forced air can be used on your hair, inside your swimsuit and on your arms and legs.

I like the Tower mini compressor for paddle boards on Amazon.  It’s hand-held and plugs right into the car for convenient pumping and blowing sand off your board and feet.

#8 Rubber Floor Covers

If you have a sport utility vehicle (SUV) you should consider using a rubber cover for the back of your car. These are similar to the floor mats but they are for the trunk area of an SUV.

They work great to protect your car and your beach gear can be placed on the rubber cover even when it’s wet. Have a wet dog? It can rest on the cover as well without sand, hair, and moisture getting into your car.

This trunk floor cover on Amazon works well for most vehicles.

#9 Dog Blanket To Protect Your Car

A dog blanket differs from a rubber floor cover. Car dog blankets can be folded over seats to protect fabric and can be removed and washed.

They don’t do as well as rubber floor covers with moisture because the blanket absorbs water but they do a great job with sand and hair.

If the sand in your car primarily comes from your dog, I’d recommend investing in dog blanket, rubber floor cover and floor mats (check out the dog blanket options on Amazon).


Keeping your car sand-free might be impossible, however, there are a number of actions you can take to keep the interior of your car looking great.

A day at the beach will be all smiles!  But you never want to take sand home with you.  In this article, I mentioned a few items, hacks, and common sense tips that will ensure you leave the sand at the beach – where it belongs.

The floor mats are the single best action to take but baby powder, dog blankets and having a bag to put sandy gear in are all things I recommend.

Let us know in the comments if you have more tips to protect your car from sand.  We’d love to add to this list.  Thanks for reading!