How To Clean Artificial Grass: Washing, Smells, Frequency

Artificial turf is becoming increasingly popular because it requires much less maintenance than real grass and looks great all year long. 

Even so, it is important to remember caring for artificial turf involves day-to-day management depending on what happens to your lawn.

Between children, pets, and the elements, even artificial grass will need some sort of cleaning regimen. 

To clean artificial grass, you need to first remove debris using a flexible lawn rake to clear it. Then, remove little debris by using a leaf blower to pile up and removing tiny pieces. Once this is done, spray the artificial grass down weekly to wash away odor-causing bacteria.

Follow this guide if you want to know how to keep it clean at all times. 

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How To Clean Artificial Grass In Detail

To begin with, your artificial grass requires the basic maintenance of removing organic materials often. 

Unlike real grass, you don’t want leaves and other organic materials breaking down and decomposing in the base layer of your grass. 

The breakdown of organic materials creates the perfect environment for weeds to infiltrate.

Once a week, rake away leaves and other organic material with a flexible lawn rake (make sure the rake is plastic, as a metal rake can damage the grass blades). 

Remove larger debris too big to rake, like twigs and branches, airborne weeds, and animal waste by hand. 

Using a leaf blower, a power brush sweeper or an artificial grass vacuum can aid in the removal of debris if you have one. 

Blow or push all debris into one corner of your lawn and then collect and remove it.

After removing large items, use a broom with stiff bristles to brush your grass in the opposite direction of the grass’s natural grain. 

This removes the smaller items sitting between the blades and keeps the blades upright and looking new. 

After removing all organic materials from your lawn, rinse the grass by spraying it down with a garden hose. 

Weekly rinsing removes dust, spills, and other minuscule items collected in the sub-base layer. 

Besides the weekly maintenance of your fake turf, there are many other instances where you will need to clean the artificial turf lawn.

How Do I Stop Artifical Grass Smelling?

The biggest way to stop artificial grass from smelling is to remove pet and animal waste before the bacteria seeps into the grass material. Remove any waste with a doggy bag or shovel right away, and then rinse it down later.

Pet owners who allow their animals to use artificial grass as a restroom need to take proper care to ensure the synthetic turf does not start to stink. 

If you have not invested in pet turf, which is available to buy if this is the purpose of your artificial lawn, it may take twice the amount of effort to keep your turf clean when your pet is constantly using it to relieve themselves. 

Keep this in mind if you are in the process of purchasing your synthetic lawn.

Using plastic bags, pooper scoopers, or other preferred pet waste removal products, remove the solid waste by hand soon after allowing it to dry. 

If left too long, the waste can start to decompose and be harder to remove later, but removing when it is still wet can leave residue behind, which you will need to clean.

Do not remove solid waste with a garden hose because it can force the waste into the solid layer under the blades. 

This can cause damage to your lawn by inviting bacteria to grow, making your yard smelly. 

When it comes to the urine, pets like to go back to the same spots repeatedly. 

The artificial grass system will allow the urine to drain; however, regularly rinsing the area with cool water will help keep the urine from sticking to the blades of grass. 

However, the uric acid in the dog urine does not dissolve in water, so additional cleaning products may be needed if your animals use the area often. 

Do this cleaning as often as possible to keep the artificial grass lasting longer.

How Do You Get Rid Of Dog Urine Smell On Artificial Grass?

To get rid of the urine smell, a natural method would be mixing a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar, spray the area down, and lightly scrub with a sponge to ensure penetration of the cleaning agents.

You won’t be around to spray down the grass every time your pets use the restroom, so there may be areas of your lawn starting to smell.

For a more powerful clean, use an enzymatic cleaner like this one

Using a spray bottle, spray the smelly area generously and leave it for up to a day. Then rinse the area with water. 

How Often Should I Clean Artificial Grass? 

Removing debris and hosing down your artificial grass once a week and then deep cleaning it at least once a month is often enough. If your lawn is rarely trodded on, every other week is enough. If you have pets, children, or if you walk on the grass often, you’ll need to clean it more than once a week.

Cleaning your artificial turf can depend on how much you use your lawn. 

The more you use it, the more you will need to maintain it.

The environment you live in affects how often you will need to clean the fake grass. 

For example, if you live in a dusty area, you will need to rinse the fake grass more often to keep it looking fresh and new. 

Deep cleaning should include brushing your grass blades. 

This should be done at least once a month to keep the blades standing up. 

Brush more often if the area is walked on very often. 

As soon as the blades start to look flat, brush the area to liven them up. 

Deep cleaning should also include putting down weed killer and enzyme cleaners to prevent weeds and strong odors during the summer months.

If you have pets, solid waste needs to be cleaned daily, and the grass should be watered down at least once a week with water and sanitizer to keep it from smelling.

Consider hiring a professional to come out to clean your lawn once or twice a year to ensure the proper cleaning and maintenance tasks are being done thoroughly to ensure the longevity of your lawn. 

What Can You Use To Clean Artificial Grass?

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Water, dish soap, or specially-made artificial grass cleaners are the safest things to use on your turf to prevent damage to the synthetic material. 

Besides the basic maintenance of your yard, you’ll encounter spills, stains, or smells in your artificial turf, and you’ll need to clean them accordingly. 

In most cases, spraying down your lawn with clean water is enough.

It seems funny to “water” a turf lawn, but it works.

Check out our FAQ on why to water an artificial turf.

Other cleaning products are an option, but remember, harsh chemicals and agents may damage the fibers in the turf. 

Homemade gentle cleaning products, including a 1:1 solution of water and a 2-5% detergent/ dish soap and water solution, will work very well. 

If you have difficult stains, use Simple Green, turf odor neutralizer, enzyme spray, or other specialized cleaning products made for artificial turf. 

If you have products you think may help clean but are unsure, start by testing a small patch in an undetectable area if it causes irreversible damage. 

Can You Jet Wash Artificial Grass?

Jet washes are fine to use on artificial grass, though they’re not necessary. Simply use it like you would a hose and make sure the pressure is cranked down to the lower end of the tool. 

If you are looking to power wash your artificial lawn, there are a few things you need to know before doing so. 

First off, power washing is not a necessary tool to clean your artificial grass lawn. 

Using a regular garden hose will work just fine. 

But if you have a power washer, feel free to use it as it is quicker and more effective when clearing moss or mold.

Follow these instructions to ensure you do not cause damage to the lawn. 

Be careful not to use too much pressure when cleaning your turf. 

There is a layer of artificial turf infill below the grass blades, which may be forced away with too much water pressure. 

Add a surface cleaning pressure washing attachment to avoid this. 

The water temperature is very important as well. 

Too-hot water can damage some parts of the turf system, so ensure you use warm water or cold water. 

Additional Cleaning And Maintenance To Keep In Mind

If sticky items, like gum, have fallen onto your fake grass, remove it with a knife by scraping at the material upwards, not horizontally. Be careful not to cut or damage the grass blades.

Hair from animals can accumulate between the grass blades; brushing the grass in the same direction as the grain can aid in removing animal hair. 

Cleaning bird waste may be required if your lawn sits underneath areas with power lines or trees. 

Consider cutting branches from trees hanging over your lawn to prevent having to clean up after the birds. 

If it’s impossible to prevent the bird droppings, rinse the area often with a 1:1 white vinegar and water solution. 

For a deeper clean, use a sponge and bird-dropping removal agent or enzyme cleaner and rub away the droppings, followed by a warm water rinse of the area.

Most stains and spills are washed away easily due to the stain-resistant nature of artificial grass. 

However, if stains persist, scrub the dirty grass blades with warm water and mild soap, or the same 1:1 white vinegar and water solution used for many other instances. 

Artificial grass is easily burned and melted, so do not place fires, barbecues, or fireworks directly on the artificial grass carpet. 

Cigarette butts also cause damage, so never flick ash or stub out cigarettes on the artificial grass surface. 

If damage has been done, the repair is possible, but not always easy or cheap, so it is best to prevent these accidents from happening by keeping your grill and fire pit a safe distance from the grass.

If you live in an area that rains or floods often, you’ll run into a moss or mold problem. 

Correctly using a jet washer is the best solution as it blasts away the moss. 

If you do not have a jet wash, spray down the grass with a regular garden hose and scrub away the moss or mold with a stiff-bristled brush. 

How To Maintain Artificial Grass In The Winter

Artificial grass is tough and usually lasts through the winter unless frozen and then walked on. Use a plastic shovel without a metal edge to safely shovel the snow before too much snow compacts to prevent ice from forming. 

Depending on where you live, you may have to take special care of your lawn during the winter season. 

Similar to real grass, turf blades can freeze in subzero temperatures. 

Fake turf is much more resilient than real grass, so the blades will not be damaged by the freezing alone. 

What will damage the blades is walking on the grass when they are stiff and frozen. 

It will not be soft or comfortable to walk on anyway, so wait for the snow and ice to melt before trodding on the turf blades again.

When too much snow accumulates, thick ice can form in the base layer. 

Artificial turf fibers are resilient to freezing. 

However, thick, compacted ice can cause damage. 

Do not use salt to melt snow and ice accumulated on your lawn. 

The salt can stain your beautiful yard and clog the drainage system, preventing proper drainage in the future. 

Salt from the artificial lawn oozes to the surrounding garden areas and damage areas of natural growth.

How To Prevent Weeds With Artificial Grass

The first step in preventing weeds from growing is ensuring a layer of weed suppressant plastic is installed underneath the artificial grass, especially if it is placed over soil, dirt, or other organic surfaces. Next, simply removing organic material fallen onto the grass as often as possible. 

The benefit of having a synthetic yard is knowing you won’t have to constantly weed. 

Most artificial lawns are protected against weeds on multiple levels, but the unfortunate fact is, weeds may still appear in your turf if you are not careful. 

Airborne weeds blown onto the lawn can spread seeds embedded in the base layer of your turf. 

Broken down and decomposed leaves and branches can create a perfect environment for weeds to grow. 

It is a good idea to have additional preventative measures to maintain a beautiful yard without ever worrying about weeding artificial turf. 

Different infills, like sand infill, may be more likely to grow weeds because seeds can easily be germinated in the sand. 

If you suspect weeds are starting to germinate, after rinsing your lawn with a garden hose, it is a good idea to put down a pet-friendly weed killer.

How To Remove Weeds From Artificial Grass

Remove woods from artificial grass gently to avoid damaging the turf. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the infill, and then grip the roots of the weed and apply gradual pressure until it’s removed.

If you find yourself with a patch of weeds regardless of preventative measures, there are several ways to remove them without damaging the underlying surface.

Most likely, the weeds growing on the artificial grass surface are growing from the infill and not from underneath the base layer and are, therefore, fairly easy to remove. 

One option is to pull the weeds out. 

To avoid ripping the weed and failing to take out the roots, take a flat head screwdriver and loosen up the infill around the base of the weed. 

This will help break up the infill of the root is wrapped around, making it easier to pull out. 

Then tightly grasp as far down on the base of the weed using one hand. 

Push the root up from below using the head of the screwdriver and pull out the whole weed.

Make sure to pull up the whole root to prevent weeds from growing back in the same spot.

After you pull out the weed, fluff up the infill to put it back in place, leaving no holes behind. 

Then put down weed killer to kill any weeds left in the infill.

Another option is to go for a more natural removal. 

Boil water and pour it on the weeds first, then pull out the weeds after they have faded up. 

Or spray the weeds with vinegar and wait for them to die naturally. 

If the weed problem is too much to handle, do not be afraid to hire a professional to come and take care of your lawn. 

They are trained and able to make your lawn fresh and looking like new.