Your new artificial grass lawn looks fantastic. At least it does until your dog comes along. Then it is in need of attention. It seems like Fido has found the perfect place to “mark” his territory (no fire hydrant needed). How do you clean it? What do you use to clean it? How much time do you have? All of these are great question we get from our customers all the time, whether they are from San Ramon or the Greater Bay Area. Let's spend a few moments and talk about cleaning artificial grass. It is not as hard as you might think. Being consistent is the secret.
Pet Waste and Cleaning Artificial Grass
You will probably discover your dogs love your new artificial grass lawn. Digging will most likely cease since they can not smell the soil underneath. However, it looks and behaves so much like real grass that they can't resist a long, healthy play session. They can run all over the place just as if they were playing on real grass. Eventually, they will go to the bathroom. That can spell trouble if left unchecked. Here are a few things you can do when your dog decides to soil your new lawn (which ironically enough, is free of soil).
1. Take Immediate Action. Treat your new artificial grass lawn like you would a favorite shirt or outfit getting soiled. You don't waste time on those items. No, you read the garment care label like it is the ultimate guide to life and take quick action! Do the same with your artificial lawn. Clean it as soon as you notice pet waste to minimize factors like deep cleaning, and smell, long term.
2. How to Deal with Solid Waste. Follow tip #1 and remove solid waste immediately if you can. You are probably accustomed to doing this already if you walk your dog during certain times of the day.However, if your dog spends most or all of its time outside, you will need to be more vigilant. Check your lawn for solid waste two or three times per day and dispose of it.
There will probably be a bit of residue left behind. You can either spray it off with water or wipe it up with a damp paper towel. Using this method is the best way to treat solid waste that is fresh. If you have waste that has dried or hardened to your lawn, remove it so it does not get pressed down further into the turf. Once you have removed all of the waste, rinse your lawn with fresh, clean water.
3. Handling urine issues. Most often, your artificial grass should be constructed in such a way as that urine and hair flow through to the substrate underneath for drainage. There should be no odor emanating from your lawn. If so, you may want to give your yard a gentle rinse with clean water, so anything clinging to the surface is washed off and drained underneath.
One final word about pet waste before we continue. Generally speaking, dog waste like poop and urine will not damage or discolor your artificial grass. Therefore, don't go into overdrive if you wake up one morning and find a piece of poop you missed, or notice the smell of urine in one particular area. It is not going to harm your lawn. If you still need to put your mind at ease, pay attention to the next section. It contains great general cleaning tips for keeping your lawn looking and feeling brand new.
Cleaning Artificial Grass with Spray Cleaners
Here are some good general guidelines for keeping your lawn free of pet waste, dirt and other yard debris. Follow them to keep your lawn looking great. A word of caution though. Be sure you check with the manufacturer of your artificial grass before you use a cleaner to make sure you don't void the warranty. Once all is well, follow these general care instructions for keeping pet waste issues at bay.
1. Spray the affected areas of your lawn with water from your hose (places you notice a smell or can see visible dried waste).. The idea is to get it wet and ready to apply cleaning products. This step also serves to loosen any waste or debris to make your cleaning products more efficient.
2. Mop the affected areas with one or a combination of all of the following:
- stain remover
- stain deodorizer
You may even want to apply an approved enzyme spray when cleaning artificial grass to break up the waste molecules. Many people use a solution of water and vinegar as their go-to pet waste spray solution (see image below for ratio). Remember, part of the reason for switching to an artificial lawn is to keep from putting pest and weed control chemicals into the earth. The vinegar and water spray serve as an all natural way for you to combat the odor and bacteria associated with pet waste. You can use other products too, however, we recommend you make sure those products are all natural. This way they will be safe for pets, children and the environment. Following these two tips will minimize pet waste issues on your lawn.
Other Ways to Combat Pet Waste
Finally, there is one easy thing you can do to minimize pet waste. Walk your dog elsewhere and carry a doggy poop bag with you. If you are spending money on an artificial grass lawn, it is one of the best ways to protect your investment. This is the beauty of maintenance through subtraction. The less pet waste comes in direct contact with your lawn, the less maintenance and cleaning it will require. Also, if you have pets, it is a good idea to mention this to the installer before they install your lawn. They may be able to install turf deodorizer to your base prep and infill, as well as a membrane to encourage air circulation.
If you already have your lawn installed though, and you have acquired a pet, use the other tips along with the general care guidelines mentioned in this post to keep your lawn in tip-top shape. Cleaning artificial grass does not take long and is one of the best investments you can make to prolong product life. Proper care will keep it free from pet waste and it will look just as good as the day it was installed.