Synthetic turf means an end to mowing, fertilizing, and consuming large amounts of water to keep grass growing. While artificial turf is much easier to maintain than grass, regular cleaning is still an important part of its upkeep. Proper maintenance helps ensure the longevity of the synthetic material while preventing a buildup of dirt and grime.
When developing a comprehensive cleaning plan for your turf, consider how it’s being used. The specific use of the artificial turf will have an effect on the ways it should be maintained.
For playing surfaces, ranging from athletic fields to tennis courts and putting greens, cleaning can help to rejuvenate the surface. By preventing bumps and other inconsistencies that can slowly develop over long periods of time, the cleaning process can ensure high-quality performance and reduced risk of injury.
When using artificial turf at a personal residence, priorities may include the cleaning of dog waste and ensuring a safe surface for kids to play. Another important factor is how much dust is in your area. For a dry, desert climate in particular, regular cleaning is important.
For all turf uses, periodic deep cleaning is essential to maintaining the look and feel of the surface.
Maintenance of artificial turf fits into two categories: regular cleaning and more through deep cleaning or rejuvenation. In order to make sure your turf remains in the best shape, it’s essential that you clean it regularly, in addition to occasional deep cleaning.
Best practice is to clean artificial turf each week if it gets heavy use or experiences significant dust or debris accumulation, such as leaves or blooms. Larger debris can be removed with a rake or brush. A light rinse with a hose can remove dust or smaller debris. If your artificial turf gets less use or dust is less of a factor, this cleaning can be less frequent, but rinsing at least twice a month is still recommended.
When pets use the surface to relieve themselves, this can change the cleaning schedule. To prevent the growth of bacteria and ensure the turf remains odor free, it’s important to promptly hose down the areas that the pet uses. Turf deodorizing can also be an effective addition. Spot cleaning must be done when any other stain-causing material ends up on the turf.
In addition to weekly maintenance, it’s best to also do a more comprehensive cleaning either monthly or every three to four months if the turf gets infrequent use. Use a flexible lawn rake, or a stiff-bristled broom or brush (be sure to avoid metal bristles, since these can damage the artificial grass), to remove debris from the turf.
Rake or brush the lawn to remove the larger particles, and then work in a methodical fashion to remove any particles that might be buried deeper in the turf. This type of cleaning also helps ensure the structural integrity of the turf. If you notice that grass is getting flat in any areas, it’s easy to fix by using a broom or brush to push it back up. Run the brush in the opposite direction to re-position the bristles back into their raised position.
Bacteria is a major threat to artificial turf. Left unchecked, they can lead to odors and other problems. For deep bacterial cleaning, you can use a non-toxic cleaner to sanitize the artificial turf. The best products are biodegradable and safe for kids and pets. They typically come with a hose attachment to make using the cleaner as easy as normal rinsing. An additional option, especially useful for those with pets, is a turf cleaning product with a built-in deodorizer. This type of product will immediately mask any odor while sanitizing your artificial turf just like a regular turf cleaner.
If your pet uses the same area frequently, you can cover it with additional anti-microbial coating to help make cleaning easier and more effective.
Another cleaning method is to use a powerful magnet to sweep artificial turf for metal debris, such as pins, screws, and hairpins. This can be useful on playing surfaces, where such debris can cause injuries.
The most effective cleaning process is using a mechanical brush. Often referred to as a power brush or power broom, this device uses a brush of bristles that move by motor to thoroughly clean the artificial grass surface. This type of cleaning will help remove traffic wear patterns on your artificial grass lawn and restore it to a like-new appearance. It is effective at getting rid of flat spots or fixing grass that has begun to take on a matted look. Typically, with normal residential use and the regular cleaning mentioned above, this type of process will need to be performed about once a year.
The deep cleaning process can also include redistribution of the infill. This is usually only necessary for athletic surfaces or any other artificial turf that receives significant physical wear. This process de-compacts the infill, removes any contamination, and then spreads the collected material evenly through the entire artificial grass surface; it also ensures that the infill does not become overly compacted, a condition that can lead to several problems. For one, uneven compaction can lead to surface inconsistencies that are particularly problematic in high-performance applications such as tennis courts. Compaction also decreases traction and makes it easier for algae to grow.
Proper maintenance of artificial turf can help ensure that it remains in good shape over time. This process starts with regular cleaning based on a system of weekly rinsing, monthly raking, and spot-cleaning any stains. In addition to this regular cleaning, the longevity of the turf also depends on periodic deep cleaning. This typically involves the use of a power brush cleaner, which can help remove most of the debris from the surface while improving the look and feel of the turf. For residential uses, this can be done yearly. For athletic uses, this deep cleaning should be performed more regularly. Following these steps is the best way to keep your artificial turf looking great for years to come.