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Step-by-step guide: how to clean artificial grass

Artificial grass is a common sight in lots of gardens. It’s become popular because it requires little maintenance; it doesn’t need to be regularly mowed, watered and sprinkled with lawn seed like real grass would.

However, little maintenance doesn’t mean absolutely no maintenance. You’ll find that a bit of care can keep it looking good for longer.

How often should you clean artificial grass?

Everyone’s lawn environment is different, what that means is some people will need to clean their artificial grass more regularly. Think about how much a lawn is used and consider the surroundings. For example, is it bordered by trees and hedges? Do pets love to roam around the garden?

While rainwater will wash away most surface dirt, checking artificial grass every week for loose dirt and debris is a good idea.

A deep clean of artificial turf should be carried out every four weeks. This will keep a lawn smelling great and in excellent shape for a long time.

artificial grass cleaning

Tools to help you clean artificial grass

Cleaning artificial grass is an easy task if you have the right tools. Using the right materials and products will enhance the look of the grass and keep it draining away water.

Tool checklist:

  • Artificial grass cleaner solution
  • A stiff wooden broom (avoid ones with metal or wire bristles) or plastic rake
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Heavy-duty garden refuse sacks
  • A hose
  • Leaf blower

How to clean artificial grass

All sorts of debris can get into a lawn — fallen leaves, pet hair and urine, spilled drinks, twigs, dust, and dirt, to name a few. This is why regularly checking on synthetic grass is essential, as it prevents a build-up of things that will eventually start to smell or decompose. This can affect the fibres of the grass and initiate moss growth.

Follow these steps instructing how to clean the grass to get your lawn looking its best again.

Clear debris

Start by removing any debris from the lawn. Large debris, such as branches or odd bits of rubbish, are easy to spot and can be picked up by hand.

Smaller bits of debris (leaves, seeds, general dirt etc) won’t just break down and sink into the soil of artificial grass. Pile it into a corner of the garden using a broom, plastic rake, or leaf blower. Grab a dustpan and brush to scoop up the debris. Place it into the refuse sacks, and you’ll have improved the look of the artificial grass in no time.

Keeping on top of debris results in a greener artificial lawn and more manageable outdoor space. It’s important to note that it’s much easier to remove leaves when they are fresh.

Wash it down

A blast of the hose works well for anything stubborn. Spray artificial grass with a hose to remove dirt, dust, pollen and other airborne pollutants. The majority of artificial lawns are all-permeable, so they will allow any liquid to pass through easily.

Brush regularly

It’s a good idea to brush fake grass regularly, against the pile direction of the grass. It will make a noticeable difference to the appearance and condition of a lawn as it redistributes the sand infill and returns the blades to an upright position. It will also make light work of any leaves or twigs.

An electric or petrol-powered brush is more convenient for covering larger grass areas quickly. Areas that are walked on more often may need more frequent brushing to prevent blades from looking flattened or trampled.

Use scented sprays

Pet owners can be worried about their furry friends leaving behind unwanted odours after doing their business. Thankfully, dedicated scented sprays and fragrances will leave artificial grass smelling as good as new. Follow the application instructions and the lawn will be pong-free.

artificial grass

Clean up spills straight away

Spills on artificial grass are really common. It could be anything from coffee and wine to paint splatters from painting the fence. It’s vital that spillages are cleaned up as soon as they happen, before they start to harden and potentially stain the turf. While artificial grass is hardwearing and stain-resistant, the wise thing is to act quickly.

Soak the stain directly with a damp cloth or kitchen towel for liquid stains. This should remove the worst of the spillage. Be careful not to rub the grass. A broom and rinse combination should be your next action if a mark or stain is still present.

Apply artificial grass cleaner solution with a clean sponge or synthetic bristled brush. If none is to hand, fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add a small amount of washing-up liquid. Work the solution into the fibres to remove the stain. Then use a hose to rinse the area thoroughly, washing away the cleaning solution and stain.
If the spillage has hardened and this method isn’t quite working, try using a toothbrush to brush them away gently.

Be prepared for seasonal changes

You’ll need to consider the elements when cleaning artificial grass. If the turf has been the victim of ice and snow, the best thing to do is wait and let it drain away naturally.

It’s not a great idea to use a shovel (or anything metal). Slamming a sharp-edged tool into artificial grass can ruin the blades and disrupt the infill layer.

If snow and ice does need to be cleared, a plastic snow shovel can be used. If used correctly, this won’t damage the grass. Only use the shovel to clear upper levels of thick snow. Use a broom to clear the rest. Avoid putting salt on the ice to prevent ice from forming - the salt residue can build up and block drainage.

Common mistakes to avoid when cleaning artificial grass

  • Avoid using sharp objects as they could cut or tear the artificial grass. Anything stuck or dried on should be tackled with a putty knife or something blunt.
  • Artificial grass will dry naturally after a hose down, so avoid using heat.
  • Using harsh chemicals on the grass to remove sticky stuff can damage the plastic. Always apply a specialist synthetic grass cleaner.
  • Be gentle while cleaning, and don’t rub the grass. Excessive force can cause unintentional damage.

Cleaning artificial grass FAQs

Can you jetwash artificial grass?

A jet washer can clean artificial grass quickly, but it needs to be on a power setting that doesn’t damage the lawn. It’s sensible to test a small patch in the corner of the garden first. Keep the power nozzle at least a foot away from the artificial turf. Go steadily and try to angle the nozzle as you spray. This 'fluffs up' the green blades so they are restored upright. Don’t forget to pick up pet poo or other solid waste before jet washing.

Can you hoover artificial grass?

Don’t hoover artificial grass with your everyday hoover, which can damage the grass fibres. The suction will also remove the infill sand from the grass area. Smooth, sweeping motions with a tough brush or plastic broom are far safer and more effective.

You can use a specialist garden vacuum designed specifically for cleaning artificial grass. Condensation and rainfall will damage the hoover if it isn’t designed to clean damp surfaces.

Can you clean artificial grass with washing-up liquid? 

Washing-up liquid dissolved in warm water is fine to apply on the grass. It offers a simple method to clean up spills and messes to keep an artificial lawn fresh and clean. It is less effective in dealing with stubborn stains and stronger smells — this is where your artificial grass cleaner solution comes into play.