The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Summer Travel and the Beach

Summer is a time when everyone just wants to kick back and relax.

While taking care of soil and grime "in the moment" may seem a bit contrary to how you want to approach summer, in fact, fast attention to the grime gremlins can be a real time-saver. If you’re headed to the beach or the pool this summer, here are some tips for keeping clean and ready to relax: 

Beach Gear Packing
When it’s time to hit the beach, be sure to throw these items in for an easy and successful outing:

  • Hand wipes to make removal of sand and suntan lotion a breeze
  • Stain removal wipes to stem the tide of summer stains, such as ketchup and ice cream from clothing
  • Gentle laundry detergent for washing the salt and sand from delicate bathing suits or beach towels

Sandy Beach Chairs
The hose is ultimately your best friend. Even if it's possible to brush off most of the sand, little particles are often left behind. So, give the chair a good brushing or a vigorous shake and then hose it down. You can wipe it dry with a soft cloth or—even easier—leave it outside to dry. Make sure it is thoroughly dry before putting it away so there's no chance of mold or rust vacationing on your chair.

Suntan Lotion
Suntan lotion can get on clothes, bathing suits, canvas beach chairs, poolside cushions. If the item can be laundered, treat it with a prewash stain remover and then launder with the hottest water that's safe for the fabric. If it can't be laundered, check the manufacturer's care instructions for the fabric.

Bathing Suits
While it's tempting to simply hang bathing suits out to dry because they will just be used again, left-in chlorine and suntan lotion can cause the fabric and the elastic to deteriorate before their time. Minimal care is to thoroughly rinse them before hanging them out to dry; laundering is preferable. Check the swimsuit's care label for laundering instructions.

Water Toys
Whether you take them to the beach or the pool, be sure to keep water toys clean, as a build-up of algae and mold can develop simply from being in a wet, damp environment. Make a solution of 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water and scrub the toys. Because the bleach solution can damage your lawn, work on a concrete surface. Wear old clothes to avoid bleach damage on your garments, and rubber gloves to protect your hands. Goggles or sunglasses are a good idea so there's no chance of splashing bleach solution in your eyes. Once the toys have been cleaned, leave them wet for 5 minutes, then rinse the toys and hose down the work area. Place the smaller clean toys in a mesh bag and hang the bag and the larger toys on your clothesline or fence to air dry.

Outdoor Cushions
Although fabrics designed for outdoor use are generally soil-and stain-repellent, this doesn't mean they are 100% impervious to spots and spills. Since treatment is dependent upon the fiber content of your cushions, check the care label and, if necessary, contact the manufacturer. Many manufacturers of outdoor fabrics have information on their websites about how to properly care for their fabrics. If you have a few minutes on a rainy day, you might just go ahead and download this information so you'll have it on hand when you need it.

To get to the beach, you need to travel and planning is a vital part of any summer travel plan. Don’t forget to P.A.C.K.!


Share this activity sheet on your next trip to the beach!

  • Portability is key! Luckily, cleaning wipes and many other cleaning products come in convenient packaging, which you can toss in your travel bag and go.
  • Anticipate your needs. Chances are, you will wish you had a cleaning product at some point during your vacation.
  • Clean your surfaces. Whether it’s a hotel countertop or an eating surface at a campsite, wipe down all surfaces to be safe.
  • Keep hands clean. The best way to prevent illness and the spread of germs is by washing your hands routinely, particularly before eating and after using the restroom.

If you’re staying at a hotel for your beach trip, be sure to bring disinfectant wipes for commonly touched surfaces and places such as door knobs, telephones and remote controls. Disinfectant spray and air sanitizer can also help rid hotel rooms of germs and odors left behind. In addition, hand sanitizer is always helpful for easy on-the-go hygiene. 

With these tips, you’ll be ready for that beach vacation!