One of the most common signs of a fun day spent out in the sun are those little, teeny, tiny specs we track home with us. Whether you’re at the beach, the park, or playing in a sandbox, sand is everywhere. To help keep your home clean, your first move is probably to jump in the shower to wash off — but letting sand down your drain is actually very dangerous for your plumbing.
When sand enters a drain, the probability of getting a clog raises drastically. While the sand may not damage your plumbing, the clog itself certainly will.
Clogging and the Age of Your Pipes
Clogged drains are just one of the “joys” of having indoor plumbing — it happens. Whether or not your drain and pipes clog depends on the age of your pipes. In older homes, pipes are made of cast-iron or galvanized steel. The interior of these pipes gets jagged over time, which makes it easy for sand to collect in corroded spaces. As the sand builds up, the opening of your pipes will narrow, resulting in either a clog or further damage. Galvanized pipes attract soap scum and hair. When sand is introduced, the pipe becomes impacted, sealing the pipe off completely and causing the drain to back up.
In contrast, newer homes come equipped with plastic PVC and ABS pipes. These types of pipes are a lot more forgiving if you introduce sand into the mix. This doesn’t mean your new pipes can’t clog and doesn’t mean you should let sand trickle down the drain.
How to Keep Sand Out of Your Pipes
Instead of creating a mini beach in your pipes, here’s what you should do:
Leave it Outside
The best way to prevent sand from clogging your pipes is to not bring it into your house in the first place! We know that sand is a pesky traveler, but there are ways to reduce the amount of sand you bring into your home. After the beach, use baby powder on the sandy areas of your body. Rub in the powder to remove moisture and stop the sand from sticking.
When you get home, rinse off with a garden hose. You can use a whiskbroom or hose to force off any particles — especially on your legs and feet. Also, be sure to leave your sandy shoes outside!
You can limit how much sand comes in your home by claiming one room as the ‘sand room’. Pick a room (such as a coatroom) located at the front of the house for guests to leave their sandy belongings.