How to Clean Play Sand


While a sandbox may provide hours of entertainment for children at a low cost, they can be breeding grounds for bacteria if not properly treated. To prolong the cleanliness of the play sand in your sandbox, keep the sandbox tightly covered when not in use, and shift the sand once a week so that the sand on the bottom moves to the top.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Colander
  • Bucket
  • Shovel the sand to one side of the sandbox so that the other half is empty.

  • Scoop handfuls of the sand into the colander and place the colander over the bucket, allowing the sand to filter through. Throw away any debris the colander filters out. Your children may enjoy helping you with this endeavor.

  • Dump the bucket of clean play sand into the empty half of the sandbox. Repeat Step 2 until all of the sand has been filtered. Smooth the sand out in the box using the rake.

  • Rake through the play sand every time your children finish playing in the sandbox to remove any new debris.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure the sandbox is covered when not in use, particularly if the weather is raining or if you have pets that might mistake the sandbox for a litter box. Moisture will cause the sand to develop bacteria.
  • If the sand has a foul odor or clumpy texture, throw it away and replace it with new play sand.
  • Clean your sandbox on a bright, sunny day, giving the sand a better opportunity to dry out.

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  • Photo Credit sand castle image by Paula Gent from
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