How to Keep Your Artificial Grass Smelling Fresh and Clean

Pristine artificial grass lawn by a contemporary British house with a 'Grass Freshener' spray bottle enhancing its freshness.
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Fake turf is a low maintenance alternative to real grass. However, it does need some upkeep, especially if you start to notice strange smells growing.

Having a pet will mean that your artificial grass needs more maintenance than a pet-free home, you can read more information about best practices for artificial grass with pets here.

In this article we explain the main reasons your artificial grass might be getting a bit stinky and what to do about it.

What causes artificial grass to smell?

how to get rid of smelly artificial grass

Pet urine
Artificial grass can get smelly for a number of reasons, but one of the main culprits is pet urine. When urine breaks down, it releases ammonia, which is incredibly pungent. If you have a dog that likes to pee on your artificial grass, that ammonia can build up and make the grass smell bad.

Neighbourhood or stray cats might also like to use your lawn as their toilet, which can cause your grass to start smelling. Keep an eye out for cats or other animals visiting your grass often. 


Another reason artificial grass can get smelly is because of bacteria. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, and if your artificial grass is located in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, it can create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. If this is the case, try the below care tips.

Heat damage 

Although most artificial grass has high resistance to UV, the heat protection can’t stand up against things like hot BBQ coals or fire pits placed directly on the grass. This kind of heat damage will not only be noticeable visibly but may also cause a nasty smell. If you have burned your grass the only way to get rid of the smell is to replace that section of grass.

How to get rid of the smell of pet urine 

hose artificial grass

Getting rid of the smell of urine will take a bit of work, especially if it’s been building up for a while. 

To remove the smell you will need to do some cleaning. It doesn’t need to be costly and can be done pretty quickly. Soap and water or a garden hose might be enough to get the job done depending on how much ammonia has built up. 

Start by hosing down your artificial grass lawn thoroughly. Concentrate on the areas that your pet likes to go to the toilet and be sure to hose those really well to break up the dried urea and dilute it into the ground where it can be washed away. 

If the smell persists after using water, you can try adding some household soap, but note that you’ll need to spend time cleaning this afterwards.

For smells that are still hanging around after regular cleaning you’ll want to try something more hardy. The best option to bust lingering smells are artificial grass cleaners. 

Artificial grass cleaners for pets 

artificial grass cleaner for pets

If you have a pet that likes to use your artificial grass as a toilet then a bottle of grass cleaner will be a worthwhile investment, and can likely be used for a year or more to keep your lawn smell-free for everyone to enjoy. 

Because the chemicals used in many artificial grass cleaners can be harmful to pets it’s important to look for a pet-friendly brand. Grass cleaners are easy to use with water or a hose. Check out our recommended artificial grass cleaners for pets here. 

How to prevent the smell from coming back 

It goes without saying that regular cleaning will keep your lawn cleaner and fresher than a sporadic once-a-year effort. 

To prevent smell from building up again make sure to clean your lawn at least once per season (4 times a year), and a bit more often if you have more than one dog or live in a place with very low rainfall. 

In addition to seasonal cleaning, pick up any solid waste your dog produces daily. It’s not only the pee that builds up to create a bad smell. Solid waste can leave bad smells if it’s left too long, not to mention, is not pleasant underfoot! 

How to stop cats peeing on your artificial grass 

unwelcome cat on grass

If a neighbourhood or stray animal is using your lawn as a toilet there are plenty ways you can deter them safely. Cats and particularly male animals will pee in a certain spot again and again to mark and defend their territory. 

After cleaning up your lawn apply a cat repellant spray. Be persistent and try a second smell if the first isn’t having effect as different cats will react to different smells, once you find one that works you should be rid of your smell-making pest for good. 

Alternatives to spray include ultrasonic devices, adding wire or fence toppers to your fence to make it harder to get in, and motion-activated sprinklers. 


Artificial grass is very low maintenance, but having a pet does mean you need to do your bit to keep the garden nice. Pet urine build up creates concentrated smells that require deep cleaning, whereas regular rinsing of your lawn with a grass cleaner will prevent build up and keep the effort of cleaning to a minimum. 

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