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Sandbags: Where To Get Them & Ways To Make Your Own

Updated on January 26, 2013

During times of serious flooding, one of the most important things to most people after their own safety, is to keep the water out of their homes and businesses.

There are many ways of blocking off and retaining water outside buildings, but one of the most popular ways of keeping the inside of buildings dry is by stacking sandbags around vulnerable areas.

The best places to find sandbags are usually SES centers, gardening centers and hardware stores.

However sandbags can be a rare commodity when everyone is trying to protect their property, so it's important to be aware of cheap and easy to use alternatives for keeping your home dry.

Below you'll find some basic tips for getting the best use out of household items, as well as sandbags, to keep your house as dry as possible.


Places to Get Sandbags

Many places either give away or sell sandbags during times of flood. Most of these places will have maximums on the amount of sandbags they will provide per person, to make sure everyone gets some. Here are some places that may have sandbags available in your area:

  • SES
  • Emergency Services
  • Hardware Stores
  • Camping Stores

TIP: Another quick alternative is to buy bags of potting mix from a local gardening store. Potting mix varies in price so check around and see what store has discount or cheap potting mix.

Reinforcing and Getting The Best Use out of your Sandbag

Simply filling a bag with sand and throwing it at the door may be the fastest option if you're fighting desperately to stop flood water coming in. However there are some ways to make sure you get the longest life and best results from your sandbags. These include:

  • Zip Ties - Use these to seal up the open end of the sandbag to guarantee it won't bust open at the weakest seam.
  • Place the sand in plastic bags first - The extra layer of protection will keep the sand in the bag for longer and help stop water.

Other Alternatives to Sandbags

If you either can't access sandbags or there are none left nearby, there are many other alternatives you can use to shield your home from flood waters. Here are some ideas:


  • Pillow Cases
  • Double (one inside the other) plastic bags
  • Tarpaulins
  • Hessian (many hardware stores and rural supplies will have hessian by the metre.)


  • Potting mix
  • Gravel/Small Rocks
  • Kitty Litter
  • Dirt
  • Heavy items such as blankets and old clothing or rags
  • Any heavy and moldable items


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    • WryLilt profile image

      Susannah Birch 4 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia

      Thanks Peggy. I wrote this quick hub two years ago when we had serious flooding in our area and people were asking for sandbagging ideas. Seems it's still popular though!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is good information to know for everyone living along rivers or bayous that generally face rising waters every Spring with the Winter snow melts or other causes of flooding. Right now some of our Mid-West neighbors are facing this problem. Good to know of alternatives when faced with sandbag shortages. Up and useful votes and will share.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 7 years ago from Australia

      Hi Wrylit, i Lived in Brisbane in 1979 in Albion. My mate and his wife bought a house in Fig Tree Pocket. They sold the house some years later and moved back to the UK. Their old house would be almost completely submerged in water by now. What a catastrophe, that will have long term effects on all of us. I suppose it's a little too late to take up your sensible advice, but one never knows when such advice could come in handy. Cheers