Artificial Grass Maintenance: How To Clean Artificial Grass Guide

by Luke Whittaker

Artificial Grass Maintenance Guide
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One of the most appealing features of synthetic turf is that it does not require the care and maintenance of a natural grass lawn.

Never again will you need to fertilize, mow, aerate or waste huge amounts of water to have green grass surrounding your home.

However, this does not mean that artificial turf is completely maintenance free; to keep your synthetic grass looking its best and to get the most enjoyment out of your investment, you will need to perform regular cleaning and maintenance.

How to Clean and Maintain Artificial Grass

How often you need to perform artificial grass maintenance tasks will depend on your particular situation.

For example, if you have outdoor pets, children, or lots of trees and shrubs, you will likely need to clean your synthetic lawn more often than homeowners who do not have these factors at play.

If you live in a particularly dusty area, this may also prompt you to rinse down your fake lawn more often.

Conversely, during rainy months, you can allow the rain to wash your lawn and may not need to spray it down as often.

Weekly Artificial Lawn Maintenance

Most homeowners will need to lightly rinse down their synthetic lawns once per week.

Spraying down the grass fibers with a hose will remove dust and other small debris that has accumulated between washings.

Monthly Artificial Lawn Maintenance

A more thorough synthetic grass cleaning, performed on a monthly basis, will help keep your lawn green, clean and inviting.

To remove dust, dirt, leaves and other debris, use a flexible lawn rake, a broom with stiff bristles or a stiff brush.

If you choose to use a stiff brush, make sure you do not choose one with steel bristles, which could damage the fake grass.

Cleaning your grass in this manner is also an effective way to maintain the upright position of each blade.

Keep in mind that you may need to perform this level of maintenance more often if you have pets or during seasons when trees and shrubs lose their leaves or blooms.

Once you have thoroughly cleaned your grass, you may find that it is not standing as upright as you would like.

You may also notice that your grass is not erect in certain areas after you, a family member or pet has lain on it.

This is easy to fix by simply grooming your lawn by using a broom or handled brush to brush against the natural grain to encourage each blade of artificial grass to stand up properly.

Regular grooming also prevents matting and keeps your lawn’s infill from compacting.

If you have moved into a home with artificial grass that has not been properly groomed or you have not been able to keep up with regular groomings, it is recommended that you have your lawn professionally groomed to restore it to its former lushness.

How to clean Artificial Grass
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How to Remove Pet Waste from Artificial Grass

Synthetic turf is a pet-friendly option, and pet owners can rest assured that little additional maintenance is required to keep their lawns looking great.

To remove pet droppings from grass, simply use your preferred method for removing solid pet waste.

This could be a plastic bag or a pooper scooper, for example.

Once you have removed the solid waste, hose down the area in which the pet waste was located.

Most pets have favorite places to relieve themselves, which makes pet urine removal simple as well.

To clean pet urine on artificial grass, use a hose to spray down the area at least one time each week.

To ensure that your lawn stays clean and odor free, you may want to hose down your pet’s favorite urination area more often.

It is also recommended that you keep a bottle of turf deodorizer handy, which will allow you to avoid lawn odors with quick, regular treatments of the area.

Some pet owners choose to create a separate bathroom area for their pets in order to make fake lawn maintenance even easier.

This could be a dirt or gravel patch in a side yard or other area.

Dogs can often be trained to use these separate areas, making this a viable option for homeowners that do not want to clean pet waste from their synthetic turf.

Keep in mind that this is not really necessary, since artificial turf is an ideal option for pet owners, particularly when compared to natural grass.

Make sure to let your installer know that you have pets when you are making your installation appointment.

When pets are involved, turf installation should be completed differently, including the addition of turf deodorizer to the base preparation, a recommended membrane between the base and the turf to allow enhanced air circulation and additional turf deodorizer on top with the installation of the infill.

How to Clean Artificial Grass: Spills, Chewing Gum, Blood and Other Unfortunate Occurrences

Lawns are meant to be lived on, which means drinks may be spilled, chewing gum or candy may be dropped, roughhousing may result in a bit of blood or mustard may drip from plates during a family barbecue.

Artificial turf is stain resistant, which makes cleaning up spills and other accidents easy.

Most spills can simply be rinsed away with water.

If residue remains after hosing off the area, you can use a mild, natural soap with warm water or a half-and-half mix of vinegar and water, which is also a great option for removing bacteria.

The key to effectively removing spills is to respond quickly. Spills are easiest to remove when they are still in liquid form and can be simply washed away.

Chewing gum, candy and other sticky substances can usually be removed just by picking them up with your hand; however, if a piece of chewing gum is being particularly difficult to remove, you can chill the gum with an ice cube to make it easier to remove completely.

You can also use a plastic putty knife or similar tool for tougher removals.

If this is required, make sure you use a dull object that will not cut or tear the synthetic turf. Do not use harsh chemicals or solvents to remove spills or sticky substances from your lawn.

How to Remove Bacteria from Synthetic Grass

Bacteria buildup is generally not an issue with artificial grass(especially if you opt for the antimicrobial acrylic coated infill, which is highly recommended) that is frequently cleaned and properly maintained; however, if you believe there are bacteria present, you can use a half-and-half mix of vinegar and water to remove the buildup of bacteria spores.

If the area is small, such as a spot where your pet frequently urinates, you can use this mixture in a spray bottle.

If you wish to treat your entire lawn, you can use a garden hose attachment, like those generally used to spray fertilizer, to treat larger areas.

How to Avoid Stains and Burns

If your artificial lawn has cigarette burns or stubborn stains, it can always be repaired; however, the better plan is to avoid spills and burns before they become a problem.

Certain spills, such as battery acid, grease, lubricants, motor oil and similar substances can discolor or damage synthetic turf.

Prevent contact with these substances by repairing vehicles and garden tools away from your fake grass.

Artificial grass burns can occur from cigarettes, smoldering charcoal spilling from a grill, fireworks or sparks from fire pits. To avoid these accidents, relegate smoking, lighting fireworks and grilling to areas that are a safe distance from your synthetic lawn.

If accidents happen, contact your artificial lawn provider to inquire about repair options.

How to Remove Snow and Ice from Synthetic Grass

As a general rule, the best option for snow and ice removal is to allow them to melt and drain away naturally.

Artificial lawn backing is perforated, which allows it to drain much like a natural grass lawn.

However, there may be some cases where you wish to remove the snow or ice from your fake grass.

If it is a light dusting of snow, it can simply be brushed or swept away.

If several inches – or feet – of snow are present, and you choose to shovel the snow or use a snow blower, it is best to remove only the top layers of snow, while leaving at least one inch of snow to be swept away with a broom or brush.

This will help you avoid damaging your artificial grass with your snow removal method.

How to Prevent Burnt Turf from Window Magnification

Artificial grass can become warm when in direct sunlight on high-temperature days.

This can lead to some homeowners being concerned about the potential for their fake grass to be burned by the sun.

Even the hottest direct sunlight will not burn your synthetic turf; however, it is possible for sun magnification or strong reflections from windows and sliding glass doors to damage your grass.

While any double-pane window has the potential to cause a magnifying effect, the culprits are usually energy-efficient windows and doors made from low emissivity glass, which is often referred to simply as low-E glass.

This type of double-pane glass has a metallic oxide or metal layer in the glazing surface, which is responsible for controlling heat transfer and giving this glass its energy-efficient quality.

The purpose of low-E glass is to prevent heat from entering the home in summer months and to prevent heat from leaving the home in colder months.

To achieve this, low-E glass reflects sunlight, which can result in an intense, focused heat similar to what can be achieved using a magnifying glass.

These intense reflections are known to melt plastic trash cans, plastic pieces on vehicles and vinyl siding, and it has been confirmed that at least four houses have caught fire from these focused rays.

This magnified sunlight coming from your own windows or those of a neighbor can also burn your artificial turf if left unchecked.

The easiest way to avoid having your synthetic grass burned by window magnification is to find simple solutions that allow you to block potential window glare.

If the windows threatening your fake grass are on your home, you can install awnings, shutters, screens, or shades to minimize reflections.

If the potentially harmful windows are on a neighbor’s home, consider planting trees or bushes to protect your grass from focused window reflections.

Final Thoughts…

With proper care and maintenance, you can extend the life of your synthetic lawn and keep it looking its best for years to come.

Performing these simple tasks on a regular basis will help ensure your lawn remains clean, lush and odor free, which will make it an inviting place to relax, play, sunbathe, or hang out with family and friends.

You can always call in a professional for a thorough cleaning, grooming or repair; however, you can keep costs to a minimum by taking steps to prevent artificial lawn damage and following a regular synthetic lawn maintenance routine.

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Luke Whittaker

Luke is the Co-Founder of  INSTALL-IT-DIRECT, Venuelust.comEstate Weddings and Events, & YourNorthCounty.com. When Luke is not working on his businesses, his second passions are in health, education(obsessed with learning) and traveling the world(life is too short to remain idle). His favorite destinations to date are Laos, Croatia, South Africa & Sri Lanka. New Zealand is next on the list...Follow him on Google+Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

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Comments

  • Ineburg Martinez
    September 28, 2013

    I had artificial turf installed in my backyard and have 2 low e double pain windows, I did not know at the time that my windows are a thread to my turf and it burned my artificial turf, my installer failed to in form me before hand of that situation, was that not his responsibility to inform me of that problem? Now he wants my to pay for the repair. I have a 10 year limited warranty on the turf, and 1 year installation warranty . My turf is 5 month old. so what do you recommend? Thank you.

  • Kathy Durbin
    November 3, 2013

    Hi
    I have two faux lawns laid early this year and I am extremely pleased with them. I sweep them regularly to keep them looking nice but I have noticed that there are tiny little weed seedlings growing in them. Could you help me by answering my question – which weed killer do you recommend on a faux lawn without damaging it?

    Many thanks
    KD

    • November 3, 2013

      Hi Kathy,

      Glad to hear you are loving your artificial grass installation. As far as weed killers, there are many brands on the market and most of them are great, where the only difference is the label on the product. Our installers mostly use Roundup for our installations.

  • Ginia Shawl
    November 17, 2013

    Luke, We installed an artificial putting green this summer at our home in Arizona, I have heard that along with brushing and leaf blower there is a special vacuum. Is this true and do you know where I may purchase one? Thank you.

    • November 18, 2013

      Hi Ginia,

      I have not heard of a vacuum, however, I did a little Google search and found this one: http://www.rewci.com/turf-vacuum.html#.UopTaEBFzqs.gmail. The product on the site is not available until next spring, but on the page there is a link for a product they sell that is by Shop Vac. I contacted several of our suppliers as well to see if they had any more insight about a vacuum for turf and unfortunately they did not. They all had the same concerns in regards to the vacuum potentially sucking up all the infill which would not be ideal.

      Sorry I wasn’t more help, however, if we do come across something in the future we will be sure to reach out to you. Thanks again for getting in touch and have a great day!

  • Ryan
    February 7, 2014

    Luke,

    We had our turf installed a couple of years ago and it has been great. Occasionally there will be a few “soft spots” in our yard. These have been repaired by the company who installed the turf in the past, but now that it is out of warranty I want to do it myself. What do you recommend doing about these soft spots?

    • Ronald Dombroski
      February 11, 2014

      Hello Ryan,

      Thank you for finding our information and for contacting us for help.

      By “soft spots” I assume you mean that the turf is maybe dipping in spots or getting some small “sink holes”.

      If it is a matter of compacting the base then the turf would need to be lifted. This involves removing the nails without ripping the turf and then pulling the turf back.

      Make sure they used compacted class 2 road base and not 100% DG. DG is great on top of the base but used alone as the foundation it may not hold compaction well. You might be able to get away with using a hand tamper for re-compacting the base and then lay the turf back down. Nail it in using new nails, seam it if you have seams. If they did seam and used glue then this is another obstacle to overcome when peeling the turf back.

      You will then probably have to rent a broom to power sweep the turf.

      What area of the country do you live. I would consult a local company to try to fix it. It may be money well spent to have it done. If you are in San Diego County, Orange County or Riverside County we could help.

      Thank you,

      Ronald.

  • Don Mallick
    March 7, 2014

    I installed a little over 500 square feet of artificial turf last summer. I have noticed
    the sweeping and grooming of same, requires more effort than I like–by hand.
    Could you describe the “power broom” or sweeper device, that you recommend
    renting. I am not familiar with that device.

    • Ronald Dombroski
      March 8, 2014

      Hi Don,

      Thank you for contacting us. One of the best things you can do is call your local rental yard company and let them know that you need a power broom for your artificial grass. Here in San Diego County, All Masonry Supply is one place that rents power brooms. What part of the country do you live? I could maybe help better if I know your geographical location.

  • Paul
    May 8, 2014

    I have some weeds poking through my artificial grass – do you know if certain weedkillers will damage or discolour the surface?
    Thanks,
    Paul

    • Ronald Dombroski
      May 8, 2014

      Hi Paul,

      My research indicates that over the counter weed killers will not damage Artificial Grass. I would however call the manufacturer of your turf to just to make sure and to ask the advice of the manufacturer. It is a common scenario to have weeds on the outer edge of the turf where it is easiest for them to grow at the edge of the compacted base line that your turf is nailed and secured into. However, if you are experiencing weeds in places other then the edges I would recommend calling your installer to lift the turf to see if the weeds are creeping in from the edges to the center or if they are aggressive and climbing through the base where the turf is nailed down then this is a separate issue. We experienced a project that had clovers growing through the base at the insertion area of the nails. We had followed all of the proper procedures for the installation and the homeowner said they had never seen clovers growing there in the past. We had to lift the turf and compacting base and treat the area with weed killer again and then install an extra layer of weed cloth. When prepping of an area for Artificial Grass the roots of the weeds or crab grass may end up lying dormant under the area of prepping. If you know your weeds or crab grass as being aggressive you could begin treating the grass and weed area with weed killer several weeks before the installation. Maybe once a week for a three week period. Also, as an added measure of protection for a repair of an area, 5 millimeter plastic can be placed on top of your native soils prior to reinstalling the compacted base. In my eight years of working with Artificial Grass I have only experienced two cases of aggressive weeds out hundreds of installations. The one was a small patch of clover measuring 5’x5′ and the other was and area of 1,000 square feet that required lifting turf, peeling back the weed cloth and treating the base with weed killer once a week for a three week period. This corrected the problem with minimum damage to the base work and with no call backs for repair (this was with another company that I worked for). Artificial Grass is an excellent low maintenance solution to beautifying your yard and home that saves water and weekly upkeep but the key is “low maintenance” vs. “No Maintenance”. Even Artificial grass will require a small amount of your attention but it is well worth it when compared the costs and time associated with maintaining sod.

      Hope this helps!

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