AstroTurf made its 1965 debut in the Astrodome, lending the synthetic grass look-a-like its name. Unfortunately, up-close viewing is quite a bit different than long distance stadium views. With all the abuse AstroTurf tends to endure, cleaning is quite necessary. The olefin fiber which creates AstroTurf is quite resilient but does have a few problem areas. In general, always try chemical products on a small, inconspicuous spot just in case of reaction.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew aren’t significant problems for Astroturf due to the olefin being mold and mildew resistant. However, mold and mildew issues can occur in the backing of the carpeting. This is especially true for areas around pools, hot tubs, or uncovered rainy places. If issues begin, try to expose the carpeting to direct sunlight. The sunlight often can kill the issue before it becomes full blown. If direct sunlight isn’t an option, a mild bleach solution (1 part bleach to 2 parts water) can help. If the smell has become extreme, Tea-Tree oil and cinnamon oils are both anti-fungal and can be sprayed onto the area. Repeat treatments every day for 10 days to eliminate most issues.
If mold and mildew occur regularly, check to be sure water isn’t pooling underneath the AstroTurf. Drainage may need to be installed in stagnant water is the underlying issue. The backing of the AstroTurf is water and mildew resistant, but it can not contend with constant moisture.
Though AstroTurf is almost completely stain resistant, something about olefin fiber really clings to oil based stains. For any who have light colored AstroTurf, the dingy gray look is probably the result of oily residue. To remove stains which are oily, dishwasher detergent applied with an old toothbrush and rinsed with a garden hose (if outside) works the best. For interior cleaning, use dish soap and rinse thoroughly. A wet-dry shop vac can really help to remove as much water as possible as well as any laden dirt.
Crushing is difficult to fix. However, the more the crushed fibers are vacuumed the worse they become. Sweeping with a broom is a much better option, though this is not as effective. Once the olefin fibers have been crushed, they will never completely return to normal. Using a key or credit card to vigorously work against the grain can also help to “fluff up” the smashed AstroTurf.
Often times with AstroTurf it will appear the stain has been removed, only for it to reappear shortly after it dries. This is due to the base of the fibers drying before the tips. As the tips being to dry, dirt resettles down to the bottom of the fibers and the stain will reappear. Instead of initially cleaning with wet products, vacuum the area twice with the vacuum on the highest carpet setting. This will hopefully pull all the loose dirt from the area and keep the cleaners working. A wet/dry vacuum can also help significantly to suck up the dirty water from the carpet backing and base before the carpet can dry and become dingy looking again.