You Should Think Twice Before Shaking Out Your Towel On The Beach

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If you've been to the beach at any point in your life, you've likely had someone cover you with sand as they shake out their towel. Of course, it always seems to happen right as you've finished applying sticky sunscreen that acts like glue, or you've just left the water and gotten comfortable drying in the sun on your own towel. You close your eyes, relaxing under the lovely summer sky, and boom. Some jerk flicks their towel, turning you into a sand sculpture. You've got sand crunching in your teeth, and itchy bits all over you. Even worse, it can get in your eyes and cause irritation and redness. 


Don't be that jerk. Shaking out your towel at the beach is bound to ruin someone else's day. You may put up with it if it's a little kid doing it but adults know better. Plus, the beach is very often windy, and even if you move away a bit, it can still hit your neighbors. It's just plain rude. We have some tips for what to do instead and a few products that can keep the annoying sand on your towel to a minimum. 

What to do instead of shaking out your towel

Try rolling up your towel rather than shaking it out, or folding it with this easy beach towel hack. Then give it a good flick when you get to the parking lot. Make sure the wind is blowing away from you so you don't make yourself all sandy. Pack a second waterproof bag or laundry bag inside your regular beach tote for wet, sandy towels and clothing so you can clean it later. That way you won't get extra sand in your car. If you must shake it out before you leave, take it to a part of the beach where it won't blow at anyone. Another thing you can do is lay your towel on your favorite portable beach chair or lounger rather than putting it directly on the sand. 


Some towels can resist picking up sand. Sand Cloud makes a pretty sand-free towel with Turkish cotton that is 38" x 64" for under $50. One reviewer told HGTV,  "I actually was pretty impressed that the sand did seem to shake right off. The towel is going to see park lawns pretty frequently, so I'm happy to report that the towel also shook off bits of dirt, hay and grass that normally would have stuck to my old towel and ended up all over my floors." Another to try is the Venture Microfiber Beach Towel ($22 on Amazon), which Travel + Leisure called the best sand-free towel in 2024.

Tips to keep the sand off you, or get it off post-beach

Keeping your towel sand to yourself and not flicking it at your beach buddies is just good etiquette, but what can you to do keep it off yourself? First, try applying your sunscreen before you leave for the beach instead of when you get there. Give it some time to be absorbed before you set foot on the sand. Of course, you should reapply your essential reef-safe sunscreen every two hours, which is especially true if you go swimming or sweat under the hot sun. It's worth using a beach shower to get the sand off before you do so. Then reapply away from the shore and let it dry before returning. 


The towels we mentioned above will help quite a bit, but you'll still get some sand on you, especially on your feet. L.L. Bean suggests keeping a box of cornstarch in the car. It helps the sand slide off your skin. You can use a fluffy bronzer makeup brush like Texamo's powder brush ($10 on Amazon) to whisk it off your skin. Another thing you can try is keeping a damp dish towel or washcloth in the car in a plastic baggie to wipe yourself down. If you have kids with you, you may be doing that anyway to wipe down faces and hands. Skip the baby wipes to help the environment.