Don’t be too confident thinking you can wash all kinds of dirt, especially if you’ve just returned from the beach, assuming you can easily throw your sandy clothes/bikinis or shoes and be done with it. But is sand bad for washing machines?

If you want to avoid washing clothes by hand, you must take good care of your beloved washer. Nowadays, all manufacturers promise their invention is impossible to break; however, I recommend you trust their words sparingly.

Continue reading to discover the truth regarding sand and washing machines.

Is Sand Bad for Washing Machines

Is Sand Bad for Washing Machines? 

Sand could damage your washer, even if only a small amount is stuck in it. If that happens, your washer is at risk of developing certain problems. It can prevent the drum from rotating properly and develop rust in the internal mechanisms. 

Big amounts of sand can stick on the drain hoses and clog them. Additionally, it can lead to detergent buildup causing excessive foaming and leaking. However, don’t worry. I will share a few tips to prevent this from happening. 

Potential Problems Sand Can Cause to the Washer

Likely to clog the drain hoses 

The trip to the beach sounds like a disaster for your washing machine. If you are wondering why that is and whether sand is bad for washing machines, well, think about it. Sand is a granular material with an extremely refined composition.

It’s mixed with metals, natural glass, silicone, pre-existing rocks, etc. All of this is almost impossible to dissolve in the water, and it will most likely get stuck in the washer’s drum and the drain hoses.

Once the sand gets stuck in the drum, it’s pretty hard to remove it completely. You’ll need a lot of time and continuous washing for the water to be able to remove it. In the meantime, your clothes’ fabric is likely to get damaged, and their color might even start fading.

Prevents detergent from being washed out properly

Why is sand bad for washing machines? If a small amount of sand is stuck in the washer, it shouldn’t cause serious problems. However, big amounts of sand can be difficult to remove.

In this case, it can prevent the detergent from being washed out properly. The sand buildup inside the drum it’s likely to cause scratches.

Scratch up the drum and develop rust inside

It might not get into the motor, but it will certainly scratch up the drum, encouraging the development of rust in metal or mold in scratches on the plastic parts.

The corrosion will also roughen the inside of the washing machine, causing the delicate fabrics to snag and wear out faster.

Before placing any sandy clothing inside the washer, make sure you shake the sand off and run a rinse cycle on the empty washer before washing the next load.

Read more: Are Soda Crystals Good Or Bad For Washing Machines?

Tips on How to Remove Sand From the Washer 

Wipe the drum with a damp towel 

Use a damp towel to wipe out the drum and remove as much sand as possible. Repeat this step multiple times with a clean towel, and then run the machine with an empty washing cycle to eliminate the sand leftovers. 

Shake the sandy clothes and towels

Before you wash any sandy clothing, especially the towels, shake them well first. Most of the time, towels are made from highly abrasive fabric that’s prone to picking a lot of sand.

Invest in sand-proof towels 

Another especially practical option is to consider investing in towels that are sand-proof. They are very convenient as they are designed to be sand-repellent. So, you can easily throw them in the washer and not worry that they will damage the appliance’s hardware. 

Use baking soda and white vinegar 

Run a hot cycle using baking soda and white vinegar. The combination of these two works wonders for thoroughly cleaning the washer insight and removing any sand residue. 

Vacuum clean the washer 

Another especially useful method is to use a vacuum cleaner for your washer’s drum. In the case of using a top loader washer, it would be easier to remove the sand. 

Clean the drain pipes 

Big amounts of sand residue are likely to cause problems in the drain pipes. In order to remove it, you’ll need to start the washer on a hot water cycle so that it will rinse the residue from the drain. 

Clean the rubber seal

This is one of the most critical parts of the washer that’s likely to collect the most sand. You’ll need to carefully pull it and wipe it throughout with a damp cloth. I recommend using a cleaning detergent or a baking soda solution for a more effective cleanse.


Sand can indeed be bad for washing machines. Even a small amount of sand stuck in the washer can lead to various problems.

It can clog drain hoses, prevent proper drum rotation, and even cause rust and scratching inside the machine. Excessive sand buildup can hinder washing, leaving detergent residues and potentially damaging clothes.

However, preventive measures and cleaning techniques can help mitigate these issues. Wiping the drum, shaking sandy clothes before washing, investing in sand-proof towels, using baking soda and vinegar, vacuum cleaning the drum, and cleaning the drain pipes and rubber seal are all effective methods to remove sand and maintain the longevity of the washing machine.

Overall, I hope this article has helped you discover everything about sand and the washing machine. Take care of your appliances!