The Ultimate Artificial Grass Maintenance Guide
You may have heard that artificial grass is completely maintenance-free. However, this is unfortunately not entirely true.
Anything that is outside, exposed to the elements and receives frequent use is going to require a certain level of maintenance.
One of the major advantages of artificial grass is that it makes your garden more useable but, of course, this increased usage will also have an impact on your artificial lawn.
The good news, however, is that artificial grass maintenance will take you a fraction of the time it takes to maintain a real lawn.
With our ever increasingly busy lifestyles, the additional spare time you will acquire should not be underestimated.
Along with the many other benefits of artificial grass, this has resulted in a huge increase in the number of homeowners having artificial grass installed in their gardens.
However, once the installation has been carried out, many homeowners are left with a host of maintenance related questions, such as; How do I keep my artificial lawn clean? What happens if I spill something on it? or Can I put heavy objects on my fake lawn?
In this article we are going to be explaining how to maintain your artificial grass and exploring some of the questions we’re most commonly asked regarding artificial grass maintenance.
There are 4 easy steps to follow when maintaining an artificial lawn that will help it to stay in tip-top condition:
- Keep it clean.
- Remove leaves and debris.
- Brush the artificial fibres regularly.
- Prevent weed growth.
If you follow these steps you can be sure that your artificial lawn will remain in the same immaculate condition it did when it was first installed and you can enjoy many years of owning a prize-winning lawn that’s perfect for the whole family.
To begin, let’s take a look at the 4 easy steps you need to take to maintain your artificial grass.
How to Maintain Your Artificial Grass in 4 Easy Steps
Keep It Clean
To ensure a ‘healthy’ artificial lawn it’s important to keep it clean.
Luckily artificial grass is, to an extent, self-cleaning. The rainfall we experience in the UK will generally do a good enough job of cleaning your artificial lawn. It’s also the cheapest and easiest method!
However, during the summer, when there is (normally) less rain and your artificial lawn is receiving lots of heavy use, you might find it beneficial to give your lawn a thorough hosing down.
How frequently this should be carried out clearly depends on the level of usage your lawn is receiving, but for the average fake lawn this generally won’t need to be done more than every other week.
Spraying down your lawn will remove dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne pollutants.
It will also help to prevent unequal distribution of your artificial lawn’s sand infill.
If your artificial lawn is heavily soiled, we recommend using a 5 per cent solution of household detergent in hot water, and this can be applied with a sponge to mop the affected area. The lawn can then be rinsed with a garden hose.
There is also a range of artificial grass cleaners currently available on the market and although these are not entirely necessary for the maintenance of your artificial lawn, they are perfectly safe to use.
Remove Leaves and Debris
After a while, and especially during autumn, debris such as leaves and twigs will find their way on to your fake lawn.
This will not harm your artificial grass in any way, but there is the potential that this debris could encourage weed growth.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you remove leaves and debris on a regular basis.
To do this, we recommend using either a specialist artificial grass rake, stiff broom, or a leaf blower/vacuum.
Clearly using a leaf blower/vacuum is going to be the easiest option here, but it’s certainly not essential as a specialist artificial grass rake or good stiff broom will do the job just as well.
Under no circumstances should you use a metal rake on your artificial lawn as this can damage the synthetic fibres.
The frequency with which this task should be carried out depends on your garden’s surrounding environment and the current season.
Brush the Artificial Fibres Regularly
We also recommend that you regularly brush your artificial lawn to prevent matting and ensure the fibres remain in an upright position.
Over time, you may notice that the fibres on your AstroTurf are not standing as upright as they once did. This is completely normal and is just the result of using your artificial lawn.
To brush your grass, we recommend that you use a stiff broom with synthetic bristles or, ideally a specialist artificial grass rake. Under no circumstances should you use a brush with metal or wire bristles as this will damage the fibres.
You should brush your lawn using a method that we call ‘cross-brushing’.
This means that you brush the grass in the opposite direction of the artificial fibres.
You will notice that all synthetic turf has a slight pile direction, i.e. the fibres are slightly leaning in the same direction.
(Tip: when installing a new artificial lawn, it’s always best for the pile direction to be facing the side that you will be viewing the grass from the most, e.g. your house or patio. This is because it’s generally considered to be the best-looking side of artificial grass.)
Brushing your artificial lawn will ‘fluff up’ the fibres and restore them to an upright position.
You may also notice that if you leave heavy objects, such as garden furniture or paddling pools, on your lawn it will cause the artificial fibres to lie flat.
This will not damage a good quality artificial grass and to lift the fibres back to an upright position you can use the cross-brushing technique.
If you intend to regularly place heavy objects on your artificial lawn (e.g. paddling pool or garden furniture), then we highly recommend choosing an artificial grass that has Instant Recovery technology.
If an artificial lawn has this innovative technology, it means that the synthetic fibres have been made from nylon.
Nylon is the strongest type of plastic fibre used to manufacture artificial grass and you can see how well it performs when faced with heavy objects in the video below:
For larger areas of artificial grass, and for commercial maintenance, we highly recommend using a power brush, such as the Stihl MM 55.
If your artificial lawn is very old or if you have moved into a property with artificial grass that has not been properly maintained, it may also be worth considering getting your artificial lawn professionally groomed.
A professional will be able to stimulate your artificial grass with a mechanical brush to lift the fibres. A new sand infill can also be applied, and any minor repairs carried out.
Prevent Weed Growth
If your synthetic lawn has been installed correctly, you will not get weeds growing through your artificial grass.
However, there is the potential for airborne seeds to nestle in the artificial fibres, allowing weeds to grow on the surface.
Fortunately, as these weeds are not growing through your lawn, they are very easily removed by hand.
Another area for potential weed growth is right at the very edges of your artificial lawn.
This is because the layers of weed membrane that should have been installed underneath your grass will only go up to the perimeter of your lawn, and therefore weeds have the potential to get around the edges of the membrane.
Artificial grass can also be susceptible to moss growth, and if this is the case with your artificial lawn, we recommend that you remove it with a specialist artificial grass rake, power brush or garden vac.
To prevent future moss growth, we recommend applying a water-based weedkiller to your fake lawn.
This can be applied using a watering can with a sprinkler head and, if weed/moss growth is a problem, we recommend applying a weedkiller twice a year.
The chances of weeds growing on your artificial lawn are very slim, though, and if they do pop up, you can rest assured that they are very easily dealt with.
Another way to prevent weed growth is to ensure that you install a ‘weed-free’ sand infill at the installation stage.
This can be purchased from most major DIY stores and this ‘weed-free’ sand has a built-in weed inhibitor that will prevent weed growth on your lawn.
As you can see, the maintenance involved with having artificial grass is minimal, but it is important that these tasks are carried out to ensure a long-lasting fake lawn.
You may have further questions regarding the maintenance of your fake grass and below you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions.
How Do I Remove Stains From My Artificial Lawn?
The first rule when dealing with stains is to act fast.
This is because you’ll find it much easier to deal with a stain before it has dried or hardened.
Artificial grass has very good resistance to staining, but you do need to be a little careful about exactly what products you use on artificial grass.
Some products may be fine for treating the plastic fibres, but could have an adverse effect on other aspects of your artificial grass, such as the latex backing.
If your stain has hardened, we recommend you first remove it with either a plastic knife or spatula, being careful not to damage the fibres or pull too hard on them.
For fresh spills, the first thing to do is to do is to soak up as much of the liquid as possible.
This can be done using kitchen towel, a clean cloth, or absorbents such as cat litter, which can be swept or vacuumed off once the liquid has been absorbed.
Depending upon the stain, you may also need to apply a household detergent.
We recommend using something like washing up liquid or even a granular household detergent.
This can be mixed with warm water and applied to the artificial grass using a sponge or brush.
If using a brush, always ensure it has synthetic fibres, as metal or wire brushes will damage the plastic fibres.
You can then thoroughly rinse the affected area with a garden hose.
In the vast majority of cases, this procedure will suffice in removing stains caused by the following:
- Ketchup and mustard
- Fizzy drinks
- Ice cream
- Tea and coffee
However, if you have an oil-based stain, then we recommend using a small amount of white spirit.
You’ll need to be very careful when using white spirit and it should certainly be used sparingly.
To treat your artificial grass with white spirit, apply a small amount to a clean cloth and carefully wipe the affected plastic fibres. This should take care of stains caused by the following:
- Cooking oil
- Asphalt and tar
- Sun cream
- Car engine oil
- Nail polish
We always recommend that you test white spirit on a small inconspicuous part of your lawn to ensure you don’t experience any discolouration.
Also, be sure that the area is well ventilated and remember, white spirit is extremely flammable, therefore do not smoke or permit open flames near where these products are being used.
For more information on removing stains from artificial grass read our guide to removing stains.
How Do I Remove Chewing Gum From My Fake Lawn?
This is a surprisingly common question, but luckily a situation that can be easily resolved.
You’ll need to be careful, however, that when attempting to remove chewing gum you don’t damage the fibres.
If you were to pull at hardened chewing gum, there is a good chance that you would also pull up a chunk of artificial grass fibres with it, resulting in a bald patch on your lawn.
To prevent this from happening we recommend freezing the chewing gum.
You can purchase chewing gum removers from most carpet cleaning product stores, and these will freeze the gum.
Once frozen, you’ll be able to then scrape it off the grass using a plastic knife or spatula.
How Do I Clean Dog Waste From Artificial Grass?
Many people have artificial grass installed as they become tired of their pets turning their lawn into a mud bath.
And it’s understandable that pet owners become frustrated with having to clean muddy paws every time their dog has been out in the garden.
Artificial grass is ideal for pets as they can’t destroy it.
They will love running up and down on an artificial lawn in just the same way they do with a real lawn.
They can also ‘use’ it in exactly the same way, as urine and solids will not harm or discolour artificial grass.
When it comes to cleaning dog waste from your grass, solids can be picked up in the same way as you always have done.
And if your synthetic grass has been installed correctly, urine will drain away through your artificial lawn without leaving an odour.
During summer we recommend that you occasionally hose down your artificial lawn, but you should be doing this anyway, as part of the usual maintenance process that we recommended earlier in this guide.
If your lawn has not been installed on a free-draining sub-base, then you may need to purchase one of the many artificial grass cleaning products available on the market that will remove the smell of urine and sanitise your lawn.
How Do I Remove Dog Hair From Artificial Grass?
As part of the 4-step maintenance procedure we explained earlier in this article, we recommend brushing your artificial lawn.
Regular brushing will ensure that the synthetic fibres remain in an upright position.
Brushing can also be used to remove the build-up of dog hair on your fake lawn.
Unlike the method of ‘cross-brushing’ that we described earlier in this article, where you brush against the pile, to remove dog hair we recommend sweeping with the direction of the pile.
To do this, grab yourself a stiff broom or specialist artificial grass rake.
Start at one end of your lawn and, in one continuous motion, without lifting the broom from the grass, push the broom along the length of your lawn.
This technique will remove dog hair.
Another, perhaps easier, alternative is to use a garden vacuum, but an artificial grass rake or broom will do the job just as well.
How Do I Remove Snow and Ice From Synthetic Grass?
The best way to deal with snow and ice is to allow it to melt and then drain away naturally.
However, if you do need to remove snow from your artificial lawn, we recommend removing the top layer with a plastic snow clearing shovel.
The lower layer can then be swept off with a broom.
You’ll need to be careful if ice has set on your artificial lawn. Unfortunately, you will not be able to remove this manually.
This is because you can potentially damage or even pull out the plastic fibres when attempting to remove ice.
The best method here is to allow it to thaw out naturally.
Will Heavy Objects Damage My Grass?
You may want to put items such as a paddling pool, trampoline, 5-a-side football goal or garden furniture on your artificial lawn.
Whether these items will damage your lawn will depend on the quality of the artificial grass.
If you will be regularly placing heavy objects on your artificial lawn, we highly recommend using a grass that has been manufactured using nylon fibres, as these are the hardest wearing.
For a lawn that will have the capability of withstanding heavy objects, this will mean choosing an artificial grass with Instant Recovery technology. Aberdeen, Inverness or The Arena all have this technology and would make good choices.
It’s also important to move heavy items around your lawn regularly to avoid damaging the fibres.
If your grass has become flat because of a heavy object, use an artificial grass rake or stiff broom to stimulate the fibres back into an upright position.
One word of warning regarding garden furniture, though:
Always make sure that there aren’t any sharp edges on the feet of chairs and tables, as this will have the potential to cut through the artificial grass.
Can I Put a Bird Feeder On Artificial Grass?
Although the bird feeder itself will not damage the artificial grass, we recommend avoiding putting bird feeders on your artificial lawn.
Bird feeders will only encourage droppings to land on your artificial lawn, which would require regular maintenance to keep the area clean.
The droppings may also attract rodents, which may dig at the grass around the feeder.
Hopefully this article has answered some of your questions regarding how to maintain your artificial lawn.
As you’ll have learnt from this article, fake grass is not entirely ‘maintenance free’.
Like anything exposed to the elements, there is some maintenance involved.
Fortunately, though, maintaining an artificial lawn requires minimal effort on your part.
Be sure to follow the advice in this article and you can expect your artificial grass to prove to be an excellent investment in your property.
You’ll also find yourself spending more time relaxing in your garden, rather than working in it.
The kids will keep themselves occupied as they’ll love playing games on their fake lawn, and dogs can use it as much as they like without damaging it.
With the correct maintenance and care, your artificial lawn will keep its stunning looks long into the future.
Artificial grass really can transform your property and make your life easier.
If you’re still in the process of choosing the best artificial grass for your needs, you may find our article, 7 Important Considerations When Choosing the Best Artificial Grass useful.
If you have any questions regarding the maintenance of artificial grass or any tips you would like to share, please leave us a comment below as we would love to hear from you.