Summertime! Everyone wants to go cool off at the river, lake or ocean. And you’ve got the car to carry them all. Besides, you’d rather drive than ride, right?
So Let’s Go!
Nothing beats a day at the beach and nothing tests the patience of a meticulous car owner more than the day after when you try to figure out how to remove sand from your car. And if you’re not that picky, you should be. That sand isn’t just unsightly — it can cause real damage to the interior of your car.
Sand is abrasive. You know that rough feeling when you get some in your shoe and walk for a while? Now picture people’s feet and bodies grinding that grit into the carpet and seat fabric of your car. Doesn’t matter whether your seats are cloth, vinyl or leather — that sand can cause seats to wear out before their time. It can cause cloth seats to become threadbare, wear vinyl down so that rips and tears will happen a lot sooner, and can permanently scratch and scar leather.
You can try to prevent the sand from getting into your car in the first place. Take along some plastic bags, and when you get out of the car at the beach, lay them across the seats and the carpeting so that when everyone gets back to the car, your interior is protected. While you’re at it, bring along a doormat (you can either buy one to keep in your car’s trunk or just grab one from the doorway on your way to the car) and a whisk broom and your friends can wipe their feet and brush off in the parking lot before getting back in the car.
Don’t really wanna be that guy? And even if yeah, you do, there’s going to be someone in the group who won’t do it. Or won’t do it properly.
How to Remove Sand From Your Car
Good news! Removing sand from your car is pretty simple. What you need is a vacuum. And rather than a separate, specific car vacuum, a good shop vacuum that will make itself useful on a regular basis in the garage, around the yard and when something spills in the house that you don’t want to use your regular vacuum cleaner for. Plus, a good shop vac is going to offer some serious suction — it’ll get every last grain of sand from your seats (no matter whether they’re cloth, vinyl or leather, strong suction will get that sand right up), floor mats and carpets.
The sooner you clean that interior, the sooner you rule out the sand doing damage. Do the seats first, in case any sand gets brushed onto the floor while you’re working. Then, remove the floor mats and vacuum them outside the car. While they’re out, vacuum the carpet, then put the floor mats back in. And you’re done!
At the end of the day, you’ve had quality time with your friends and/or family, and some quality time with your car. Win-win.
Check out all the interior care products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on keeping your vehicle’s interior clean, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Mike Hagerty.
Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of MikeHagertyCars.com, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and losaltosonline.com. Previous outlets have included KFBK and KFBK.com in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and BBCCars.com.