How to clean an astroturf football pitch this autumn

Astroturf pitch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The heat of summer is now well behind us – and while that means some of the excitement of England Women's Euro 2022 win is behind us too, its legacy of inspiring people onto the pitch lives on.

Artificial football pitches – whether 2G, 3G or 4G – have been a huge boost in helping handling the growing demand of the grassroots game. Unlike traditional grass pitches, astroturf needs much less looking after, and can easily withstand many more matches.

That doesn't mean it needs no maintenance, however. Autumn especially can be a season that adds to the wear and tear of artificial pitches, with fallen leaves and heavy rainfall adding to the start of the new football season.

These are the best way to keep your astroturf clean:

1. Regularly clear the surface

Detritus on the grass can quickly build up, and the easiest way to keep your pitch in good condition is to regularly remove anything from it.

Fallen leaves are the most common perpetrators during the autumn months, while things like fallen branches after storms, rubbish like crisp packets and even dog muck are important to clear up.

This can be an easy task, though, and can be done with a leaf blower, vacuum cleaner suitable for outdoor use, or even a large brush.

Either vacuum it all up, or move it all towards one corner to collect.

2. Give it a wash once a week

If your astroturf is clear, there's a simple next step for making sure it's clean: spray down the pitch with a garden hose or similar.  Just make sure not to drench it, as artificial grass can flood, and that could warp the turf.

Once you've rinsed it down, get out an outdoor broom and sweep any water off the surface.

You should aim to do this around once a week.

3. Mop up and clean any spills

Spills on the grass – whether energy drinks or, er, whatever else – can stain or even breed bacteria, which makes the grass unpleasant.

Get on any spills that occur, mop it up quickly with a paper towel and then clean it up with a bit of water and standard detergent like washing-up liquid, using a normal kitchen cloth or sponge. You'll then want to wash that mixture away with a bit of water and brush it off.

4. Spray it down with half vinegar, half water

This step helps with removing any build-up of bacteria that can make your artificial pitch a bit of a nasty place to be.

While this doesn't need doing often, as astroturf doesn't collect bacteria in the same way as normal grass can, it's well worth making sure you schedule it in every now and then.

Just spray the whole thing down with a vinegar and water solution, then rinse it down with plain water, and brush off.

5. Things to avoid when maintaining your artificial pitch

Don't use a normal indoor vacuum cleaner – only wet and dry vacuum cleaners, which have separate compartments for clearing up wet spills and dry dirt, are worth using. Others can damage your turf and your machine.

Don't use any sharp objects. This might sound obvious, but this grass doesn't need cutting, so leave the scissors in the drawer. Using something sharp risks causing holes in the surface that can lead to serious injury when playing football on it.

Don't use strong chemicals. Stick to things like washing-up liquid and vinegar-water solutions, as stronger stuff can damage the pitch.


(Image credit: Karcher)
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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.

He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.