I've pulled the gravel vac off and just use the hose. Just hold it close enough to pull the junk off the sand, it'll take a while to get used to it to where you don't grab any sand.
I use MTS to keep the sand stirred and every week I take a coat hanger that I straighted out and run it through half the sand to release any built up gas. this was taught to me by someone on another site. It disturbs the gas pockets but doesn't kick the sand up as it would if you stuck your hand in there to stir it.
click my info if you're that curious.