Keith has been involved in the gardening and landscaping industry for the past 21 years. From a jobbing gardener to running his own landscaping services....
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When it comes to dog urine and feces, artificial grass can pose a big problem. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also lead to health risks if not cleaned properly. Fortunately, there are many ways to clean artificial grass and prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
Dog and other pet urine and feces can quickly stain artificial grass, ruining the appearance and functionality of the artificial lawn installation. There are a number of homemade and commercial cleaning solutions available that can help remove the stains, but it is important to take preventative measures to ensure the problem doesn’t occur in the first place. As you will see it is fairly simple to keep your artificial grass clean to avoid potential problems down the line.
You can clean and neutralize dog urine and remove feces from artificial grass by using either commercial cleaners or homemade products. The best commercial products are enzyme cleaners while a homemade vinegar solution has natural bacterial killing properties. It is important to regularly clean the surface, at least once a week, to keep it looking good and odor-free.
Why You Should Clean Dog Urine and Feces From Your Artificial Grass Regularly?
When it comes to keeping your artificial grass in good condition, one of the most important things you can do is regularly clean it. This may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty easy – and the benefits are well worth the effort. This is particularly important if you have dogs. Dogs are a part of the family for many people and keeping your artificial grass clean is important for the health of your dog, your children, and your lawn.
It’s important to clean pet waste up as soon as possible to avoid bacteria growth and horrible smells. In addition to fecal accidents, urine can also cause damage to artificial grass. Urine contains ammonia which can cause staining and in some cases, depending on the quality and type of synthetic fibers, cause the blades of grass to discolor. Fecal material left standing on the surface can cause the synthetic fibers to matt together causing it to be much harder to remove at a later date.
By cleaning your artificial grass regularly you remove bacteria, urine, and feces from the grass avoiding these potential issues. If you don t clean it up regularly, besides the health implications to both your dog and young children, over time the aesthetic look will deteriorate and you will end up reducing the longevity of the artificial lawn installation.
How to Neutralize Dog Urine on Artificial Grass?
It’s no secret that dogs love to pee on things. For some reason, they see artificial grass as the perfect place to relieve themselves, and unfortunately, this can leave unsightly and smelly urine stains. One of the benefits of having artificial grass is that it’s easy to clean and thus prevents it from harboring harmful bacteria, in the same way, traditional grass can.
If a dog urinates on your artificial turf, you’ll want to clean it up as soon as possible to avoid any unpleasant odors from urine. In that dogs tend to use the same spots to urinate it should make the task easier. There are several ways in which you can clean the synthetic grass fibers, from washing the surface down with water to using commercial or even homemade cleaners.
#1 Washing Away With a Hose
The best way is to simply wash the areas away with water. If you have a regular schedule this might well be all you need to do. However, the longer you leave it the more likely that you will have to use a cleaner to remove stains, deal with bad odors, and eliminate any lingering bacteria.
When washing down an artificial grass patch you should use a hose with at least moderate pressure to ensure that it washes through the infill and the base as well.
What you should not expect is the weather to do it for you. Although rain will to some extent help, unless it is very heavy it is likely to leave some residue of urine embedded in the surface, which will allow bacteria to build up over time. Generally, to clean properly with water you need a certain amount of pressure and volume to do the job correctly.
#2 Using Commercial Cleaning Products to Deal with Urine on Artificial Turf
There are a considerable number of options when it comes to commercial products. In addition to spot removers that are available in wipe-on or spray forms, there are various types of wipes and dry powder cleansers that make up some of the alternatives on the market for cleaning up after dogs.
The products that do the best job at neutralizing dog urine on artificial grass are enzyme cleaners. They use enzymes to break down the proteins that make up the urine, thus removing them and leaving your artificial turf clean and fresh. Other cleaners use enzymes or chemicals to remove stains. These are very effective at removing dog urine, although they can leave a little bit of an oily residue behind that itself will need to be washed away.
Homemade Cleaning Solutions for Dealing with Dog Urine on Artificial Grass
It is not always absolutely necessary to use commercial products. You can in fact use several natural cleaning solutions and commonly available household products that will do a very good job.
The most basic way to deal with dog urine is to thoroughly clean the area with water before allowing it to dry naturally. For this to be effective you need to be doing this at least every day in areas where the dog tends to urinate.
#3 A Diluted Vinegar Mixture
One of the best natural cleaning agents you can use to neutralize dog urine on artificial grass is white vinegar. You can use a ratio of two tablespoons of vinegar to four cups of water. You can even use a diluted mixture that is five parts water to one part vinegar. The key is to create a solution that is about 5% acidity.
Spray the solution onto the parts of the lawn that have been urinated on. Leave for around 30 minutes and wash down the area. You will find that it will remove hard and stubborn stains that can’t be washed away and kill
#4 Using Baking Soda To Remove the Smell of Dog Urine
Baking soda can be used in the place of vinegar and does an excellent job of removing the smell of dog urine from your artificial grass. Just sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the problem area and then let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming the powder off. . The key is to not overdo it.
You can also use it to mix two tablespoons of baking soda with 30 fl oz of water and spray the solution on the target area of the artificial grass. This usually works well to remove the smell of dog urine from the area.
#5 Hydrogen Peroxide
You can also use hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the odor. You would use it in the same way that you use baking soda. Shake over the affected area, leave for two to three hours, and then vacuum clean.
Again, as with baking soda, you can make it up into a solution to deal with stains. Just dissolve three tablespoons into around 30 fl oz of water add it to a spray bottle and spray the solution on the affected area, leaving it for about 20 minutes, before washing it away.
#6 Laundry detergents
Laundry detergents are probably one of the most underrated items amongst your household cleaning supplies. They can be particularly effective when dealing with dog stains on your lawn
Create a solution by combining around 25 fl oz of lukewarm water with one measure of detergent, either powder or liquid. While keeping the blades of grass erect, use a firm brush to gently push soapy water into them. Clean as thoroughly as possible before rinsing through using a watering can or garden hose.
Removing Feces and Dried Feces
Dog feces also need to be dealt with quickly and not left on the surface of your artificial grass. You would initially deal with the feces in a similar way to that you would on natural grass. Take a plastic trowel and remove the feces into a dog poo bag and deposit it in the appropriate trash bin.
The area where the feces was then needs to be cleaned. Any of the methods that we have discussed above will do the job well. Just make sure that the area is wiped clean. You can use either paper towels or disposable wipes for the purpose. Again, dispose of them in the appropriate trash bin.
Dealing With Hardened Feces
If you have left the feces too long and they have hardened then you might find that the residue is stuck to the synthetic grass fibers. To remove this you will have to break down the feces. The two best ways to do this are to use a commercial enzyme-based cleaner or to use a laundry detergent solution.
If you think about it laundry detergents are specifically designed to release stubborn stains from clothing. These include red wine and feces (skid marks). In this scenario, you would mix the detergent with water heated to around the 140°F. Apply the solution to the affected area, leaving it initially to soak for 20 minutes before brushing in more solution and then rinsing off. You may need to repeat the process if the stains are really stubborn.
What NOT to Use When Cleaning Artificial Turf?
We have discussed the various products both commercial and homemade that clean artificial grass effectively. However, there are certain products that you should never use when cleaning artificial turf. They will likely damage the synthetic fibers, or worse, cause them to fade. This means that you are going to have to replace that artificial turf at great expense if it is damaged.
One product to avoid using is bleach. It is a strong oxidizing agent and contains harmful chemicals, which can degrade and discolor (leave brown patches). Some types of synthetic fibers and plastics can be particularly susceptible to damage. It can also cause irritation to the eyes and skin and thus possibly harmful to dogs and children.
How Regularly Should You Clean Artificial Grass?
The question of how regularly you should clean your artificial grass will depend on a number of factors. the number of dogs you have, the type of infill that has been used and the type of drainage system employed will affect how and the regularity with which you clean the surface.
The best solution is to have an organized schedule for regular maintenance. Most artificial grass manufacturers recommend that the surface be cleaned at least once a week if it is used daily by dogs or other pets. Over time, dirt and debris can build up on your grass and thus reduce the life expectancy of your lawn. Remember your artificial lawn is an investment and should be cleaned regularly to maintain its appearance and performance.
Steps that Can Be Taken to Prevent Dog Urine Smells on Artificial Grass.
We have discussed the various ways and products that you can use to clean your artificial grass but there are ways to mitigate the issue of dealing with dog urine prior to installation.
#7 Choosing Pet-Friendly Artificial Grass an Infil
When choosing the type and nature of your artificial turf and infill it is advisable to discuss the issue with your supplier. There are types of artificial grass that are specifically designed to cope with dogs and their waste products.
Another important measure to take is to make sure you use a pet-friendly infill. The best infills are those coated with Microban, which is an acrylic coating that is applied to the surface of the infill. The coating protects against antimicrobial bacteria and germs and has fewer odor issues.
Other measures you can take include not installing or choosing a dog-friendly weed fabric, a barrier that prevents weed growth. The material used tends to absorb and retain the urine, slowly releasing ammonia, thus leaving lingering bacteria and smells.
#8 Improving Artificial Grass Drainage to Neutralize Urine Smells
A second measure is to put down a better drainage system that will help the urine flush away properly when the area is cleaned and hosed down.
#9 Training Your Dog Not to Use the Artificial Grass as a Toilet
Finally, if your dog can be trained the best solution would be to train it not to urinate or poo on the artificial grass but rather on a dedicated area that you set aside for the dog to do its business on.
Summary: Dealing with Dog Urine and Cleaning Feces from Artificial Grass
Cleaning your artificial grass of pet waste regularly is very important to keep the surface looking good and to ensure that it does not degrade your lawn. Daily maintenance is recommended if you have dogs and you can use either commercial (the best are enzyme-based) or homemade solutions of vinegar, baking soda, or laundry powder as the cleansing agent.
In addition, if you are looking to install a new artificial lawn you can take measures from the offset that will help mitigate the problem by installing adequate drainage, and dog-friendly synthetic fiber and weed fabric.
 Ards and North Down Borough Council: Toxocariasis