How to Keep Bugs Out of a Sandbox (12 Easy Methods)

by Derrick | Last Updated: March 10, 2022

Keeping bugs out of a sandbox is key to enjoying playing in the sand. Thankfully, there are several easy methods that you can try to keep these pests away.

Here’s how to keep bugs out of a sandbox, using 12 easy methods:

  1. Keep food out of the sandbox.
  2. Cover the sandbox.
  3. Mix the sand regularly.
  4. Weed the area surrounding the sandbox.
  5. Use cinnamon.
  6. Add new sand and clean out the old.
  7. Use cornstarch.
  8. Use commercial bug repellent.
  9. Only use play-grade sand.
  10. Use D-earth.
  11. Add bait to your sandbox.
  12. Use vinegar.

Read on to learn more about the best ways to keep bugs out of your sandbox. This article will teach you everything you need to know to keep your sandbox clean and pest-free.

1. Keep Food Out of the Sandbox

The number one thing you need to do to keep bugs out of your sandbox is to avoid having food in or near the sand. Crumbs and food spills are the quickest way to attract bugs to a sandbox, and food messes are particularly difficult to clean up in the sand. 

And, once you’ve alerted the bugs that the sandbox is a potential food source, they’ll keep coming back to it.

2. Cover the Sandbox

One of the easiest and best ways to keep unwanted pests out of your sandbox is to cover them. A cover will keep rain from collecting in the box, which can attract mosquitoes and ants, and other bugs. 

A cover will also keep local cats from finding your sandbox and using it as a litter box.

Consider using a sandbox like the Dsn LT Turtle Sandbox, available on Amazon. This comes with a cover in the shape of a turtle’s shell, making for a decorative and practical addition to any outdoor space.  

3. Mix the Sand Regularly

Keeping the sand fresh by churning it is key to keeping bugs from making a home in it. Bugs tend to create burrows that are disrupted by the churning motion. When bugs find their burrows destroyed, they are unlikely to keep returning and building new ones. Instead, they’re more likely to move on and create a home someplace else. 

4. Weed the Area Surrounding the Sandbox

Plants attract bugs, so keep an eye out for any that start growing in or around the sandbox. 

Ideally, you won’t place your sandbox right in a garden but will leave some space around the sandbox area. This will make bugs less likely to live near the sandbox and make them less likely to become pests.

5. Use Cinnamon

Cinnamon acts as a natural bug repellent, and it’s easy to integrate into a sandbox. 

Adding cinnamon into the sand will keep the bugs from wanting to build a home there in a safe, non-toxic way. Cinnamon is not harmful to humans and smells nice, making it more appealing than most chemical bug repellents.

Just make sure that you use enough cinnamon in the sand, as a mere sprinkle won’t be enough to deter pests. Rather, most sandboxes require that you add at least one cup (128 grams) of cinnamon to it to deter bugs.

6. Add New Sand and Clear Out the Old

Whether you have an ongoing bug infestation you need to take care of or just want to prevent one, cleaning out all the old sand from your sandbox and replacing it with new sand is a great way to make sure your sandbox stays clean and pest-free. 

This will clear all traces of pests and make it less likely that they’ll set up shop there.

7. Use Cornstarch

Another tool you can use to keep bugs out of your sandbox is cornstarch. 

Simply sprinkle cornstarch around the edge of the sandbox the same way you would with any bug repellent to create a perimeter that bugs cannot cross. This will keep them from getting into your sandbox in the first place.

8. Use Commercial Bug Repellent

You can also use a commercial bug repellent like the Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray, available on This lemongrass spray keeps bugs away when you spray around the perimeter of the area you want to protect. 

Bugs don’t like the smell and won’t cross it, so they won’t become pests in your sandbox.

9. Only Use Play-Grade Sand

When shopping for sand to use in the sandbox, make sure that you use sand that’s graded for use by children at play. The sand needs to go through a specific sanitization process to be safe to use. Otherwise, you’ll be more likely to develop problems like bug infestations and other pest control issues.

10. Use D-Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth (D-earth) is made from powdered fossils, and the small pieces have sharp edges that cut through the bugs’ exoskeletons without feeling sharp to the human hand. Just make sure to avoid inhaling D-earth dust while you’re pouring it into your sand, as it can irritate the respiratory system.

11. Add Bait to Your Sandbox

Another option is to create a trap for bugs inside your sandbox. One way to do this is to put a bowl of water with dish soap and sugar in it in the center of the box so that the top is level with the sand. Bugs will crawl into the water to access the sugar, then die because of the soap. 

12. Use Vinegar

Vinegar is another natural bug repellent, and it works in small quantities. 

Simply spray a small amount of white distilled or apple cider vinegar on and around the sandbox, let it dry, and then resume play in the sandbox as usual. This will keep bugs from wanting to go into the sandbox in the first place.

Key Takeaways

There are many ways to keep bugs out of a sandbox, but the easiest and most effective is avoiding having food near the sandbox and covering it when not in use. 

This will make it less likely that bugs are attracted to your sandbox. However, if you still have bug problems, you can take care of them by adding cinnamon to the sand and by replacing the sand regularly.

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