eliminate the smell of dog urine from artificial grass

How to eliminate the smell of dog urine from artificial grass 2020

With summer here and the occasional spell of lovely dry weather I am getting asked by more and more people about how to remove the smell of dog urine from an artificial grass lawn.


Basically what is happening in the summer months is the lower levels of rain is causing the ammonia from the dog urine to become more noticeable leaving the garden owner with a great looking lawn that smells.

For years I have tried and tested many products to find the best answer to this problem. I will go into more details on some of the products I have tried below. I will also reveal what I think is the best, environmentally and pet friendly solution to rid you’re lawn of the smell of urine.

To give you a little background to my testing I have 3 male dogs of my own and a medium to small sized back garden lawn (25m2) fitted with the Spring artificial grass product. I have installed the artificial lawn in exactly the way shown in my blogs. The tests have been conducted over the last 12 months since I fitted this product.

The products and results of the tests are as follows:

1. Jeyes Fluid Outdoor Disinfectant

Jeyes Outdoor Disinfectant is an established cleaning brand that offers a general outdoor disinfectant. The main problem with this product is that I found it was far too pungent leaving me with another smell to get rid of.

2. Washing the artificial turf with a high pressure water hose

This consumes a lot of water and needs to be done regularly in the dry months. A problem if there is a hose pipe ban. I do like the Karcher K2 Pressure Washer for the monthly maintenance of the grass

3. Reosan Janitorial Cleaner

I found it works well but it leaves a sweet smell of bubblegum.

4. Zoflora Disinfectant

This works well diluted in water. The Zoflora can leave a perfume smell on your grass.

5. Rinsing the grass with diluted white vinegar

I left the diluted White Vinegar on for 10 minutes before rinsing off. It leaves a vinegary smell and the urine smell is quick to return.

6. Cleaners that smell of grass

They quite simply make the smell worse. They shouldn’t be used to cover the small of urine because you end up with a combination of urine and scent odour.

On the Internet there a literally hundreds of so called ‘urine cleaning products’ on the market. I have tried many but I have found that the products I have tried will get rid of the smell by covering it up and the odour will return in days.

The method that I have found that works best to eliminate the smell of dog urine without just covering it up

First things first the grass needs to have been laid correctly:

1. Use a good membrane

A good membrane needs to be placed underneath the foundations of the artificial grass not directly under the grass, as this will simply trap the urine. We use Pro-Tec 125gsm Weed Membrane which has a mat backing that allows the urine to pass through it.

Weed barrier

2. Install a good sub base

There must be a good solid sub base of Type 1 aggregates followed by a top layer of Granite Dust. This will enable better drainage and give the urine the chance to soak through.

Installing groundworks artificial grass lawn

… and then

3. Apply a fine top dressing of Dog Wee Sand

I have been testing a very fine sand top dressing that I have called ‘Artificial Grass Dog Wee Sand‘ over the last 3 months. It simply needs to be sprinkled on top of the artificial grass and brushed in with a Plastic Leaf Rake or a Powerbrush. Don’t use a metal rake as it will pull out the fibres from the artificial grass. I have found the sand absorbs the urine and holds on to the odour and it really really works. I don’t know the scientific explanation for this but I highly recommend it.

The sand has only been applied once in the last 3 months during this very dry period so it’s not a question of having to do it every time it rains.

You can see details of the product here. Because of the size and weight (20kg bags) the product it is collection only. Please call first.

Dog Wee Sand Lawn

If you are getting artificial turf laid in your garden and you have dogs or other pets make sure you ask your installer how they intend to deal with the potential issue.

Have you found other successful ways to remove the smell of dog wee from artificial grass? Then please share them in the comments section below.

A few updates have been made to my process since this post. See the 2021 updates on removing the smell of dog wee from your artificial grass lawn here.

It has taken me many years of hard work to be able to provide the type of artificial grass installation service we now offer. Because of the enduring attention to detail and the dedication of my team I am in the enviable position of receiving many requests from people all over the world looking for help with their artificial grass installations. Whilst this brings a huge smile to my face we are still only a relatively small family owned and run business with limited resources. We currently offer our services within Kent, South East London, Hertfordshire, Essex and parts of Surrey. Whilst I am happy to answer general questions in the comments section below from anyone it may take up to 1 week for me to get back to you. Please make sure you have read other readers questions and my answers first as your question may have already been asked.

Priority will be given to answering questions from people looking for Perfect Grass to fit and supply our own artificial grass products. Please fill out the quotation form or call us on 020 81664168

For others looking for a priority response to a specific question relating to their own installation a £50 consultation fee is charged. My goal is to respond within 48 hours in these circumstances. For this specific online assistance please email me at info@perfectgrassltd.co.uk with your questions. I often require photographs to accompany your question in order to provide the best answer.


  1. Hi Gavin,

    First of all your blog is so informative I wish I knew about it before redoing the garden! I came across it yesterday desperately looking for answers to the dog wee smell in my garden. The artificial lawn was installed in 2019 as part of the refurbishment of the entire flat, so it was done by our building contractor. At the time we didn’t have a dog, which arrived in 2020 and now the smell of urine/ammonia is unbearable. I suspect we have a latex backed lawn and after reading your blog I think that will need to be replaced – an expense we could do without at the moment but we can’t live with the smell (I’ve tried every product under the sun). I contacted your office today but unfortunately we are too far from you. My question is- can I just replace the artificial grass or do we need to go as far as digging up all the sub layers? Under the grass there is a sheet of white wadding type material, under that there’s aggregate of some sort. Not sure about the weed membrane (I dug in a corner about 2cm down so not much but couldn’t find anything). Thank you so much for any advice you could provide!!

    • Hi there, the main issue is the absorbent latex backing, which holds on to the urine and stays damp until the sun shines and then it omits the smell. The PU back grass can be easily washed through as it is non-absorbent with a sprinkler in the warmer months, the rain will wash in the others. I would always advise the membrane go under the aggregates and for there to be substantial base, but it will certainly be much better than it currently is.regards

  2. Hi I have a professionally laid by Easigrass artificial grass lawn in a small area, about 3 metre diameter circle which my two male guide dogs use to urinate. I was told that the grass laid had a pu backing, and that zeophil was used as it eliminates odours and just to spray it every few days.
    Five months later the stench is unbearable. we soak it every day with a lawn sprayer which takes the smell away for a little while but as soon as it dries out the smell is back. We use anagene hi level disinfectant Deffra approved for animal enclosures and it leaves a lovely fresh dill scent for about a couple of hours and then the urine smell returns. We had gravel in the area before and that only smelt in the summer months after it had been very dry and regular sprinkling with the disinfectant and irrigation would clear it up for days. In the winter we never had to bother so presumably the drainage is good enough. Easigrass aren’t replying
    and I am absolutely desperate as it cost so much to do and it’s unbearable. Can you help? I approached your company first to do the job but you wouldn’t take us on as there are steps to negotiate.

    • Hi there , my advise is to keep ringing them and maybe try the head office as they are franchised. I have never had any issues with Pu backed grass so I’m slightly suspicious that this is a latex backed grass they have used? Also I’m not overly sold on the zeofil either as I trialled it a few times last year, with a latex backed grass and still had an issue. All I would say in their defence is two large dogs on such a small area is always going to cause an issue due to amount of urine’ but again this maybe should have been mentioned.
      We have now moved away totally from infills and are offering a deep cleaning service but again I would not like to promise you this will remove the smell permanently. regards

      • thanks Gavin. Easigrass did come in the end yesterday and I paid for a thorough maintenance clean, They washed, shampooed and deoderised the grass, power brushed the grass and of course it all looked great and smelt fine …for about twenty four hours. It’s already got that faint smell of urine coming back and I’m pretty sure that in a week we’ll be back to square one. I am purchasing the pressure washer you suggest and will use that every so often between just the hosepipe to drench it and regular disinfecting and deoderising.
        I appreciate your honesty and just wish someone had said at the beginning that being such a small area there would likely be problems with odours.
        I note that you no longer recommend infills and that washing seems to be the only way to keep this tolerable.
        It’s hard work and costly though on top of an already costly product and we’ve already had Thames Water onto us about our Water usage being so much more than average!
        I’m worried there might be problems with drenching this small site every day in terms of waterlogging the ground beneath but I can’t see any way other than this to make it work. If you have any further suggestions or warnings I’d be very pleased to hear from you and might ask if you could come and do a clean next time.
        Many thanksf for your time and work to resolve this for all of us..

        • Hi , unfortunately the smell is already absorbed in the latex backing and by making the backing damp it makes the smell worse. The only solution would be change to a PU back grass , which can be washed through as the backing is non absorbent. regards

    • They won’t help. I had the same problem with NewLawn. Basically it was laid all wrong in my case. They knew I looked after 3 dogs at a time but didn’t care. Still struggling with it 3 years on. Apparently, no weed membrane or sharp sand should be used when laying specifically for dogs.

      • Hi , yes the grass needs to be free draining , and a good sub base /granno , the membrane needs to be underneath the aggregates as this is another block for the urine to drain, However the latex back is the main issue .

  3. Hi Gavin

    A couple of questions if I may for my garden project.

    How would you space the nails when fixing the Pro Tec membrane for an area of around 4 x 5 metres?

    Is sharp sand suitable to go on top of the type one or is the crushed granite a better material?



    • Hi there we always put the membrane on the bottom (where possible) and then nail into the substrate using 4 inch nails. I would use granno 0-5 mm all the time and avoid sharp sand as it simply does not bind together. regards

  4. Hi Gavin, I have been to numerous websites and done loads of research on how to install ‘dog wee safe’ artificial grass. I am just so confused! I have clay soil and the plan was to put down 45mm grano dust directly on the clay soil, sprinkle Zeostop on top, lay gravel grids with permeable geotextile attached to the bottom of them and the artificial grass on top. I just need some advice from someone who can tell me what I’m doing is right or wrong! Many thanks!

    • Hi there , that is not technique I have every used and dont think its necessary , I would simply use type one (75 mm) with granite dust (25mm)on top . The whole smell issue is simply backing based. The smell is held in the latex backing and is actually worse when it gets wet , decent groundworks help the urine dissipate in to the surroundings but this will only help if its not being absorbed into the backing . PU backed grasses are the way forward for dog owners, a sealed backing which allows no absorption. regards

  5. Hi, our grass stinks all year even when it’s rained loads! We are now considering taking it up and relaying it with a the base you recommend (we currently have type 1 then grit sand) as we are at our wits end with it and our 18 month old can’t enjoy our garden we bought the grass from bargingrass.com a few years, do we need to start again (we can’t really afford to) any advice would be gratefully received!

    • Hi I have written a blog re this topic and it will be out shortly. The base is important anyway and shouldn’t be laid on anything other than type one and granite, the most important aspect is the membrane is under these and not on top. However, I would strongly advise you to get a PU back grass like our Olive or Spring which doesn’t absorb the urine, an infill is essential too from day one of the warmer months. Regards

  6. Our artificial grass really smells. We have two male Springer Spaniels. We have tried several cleaners but cant get rid of the smell. Is it ok to use the sand sprinkled on top as suggested even though there is already underneath will it block it more?

    • Hi there, I have just written a blog on this which should be published in the next few days. The long and short of the article is the smell is held 100% in the grass backing, as long as the base is correct (type one//granite dust) with the membrane underneath. The urine is absorbed into the latex and then becomes difficult to remove, which is why this years new grass products we have added a PU coating to stop this. My advise would be to give the grass a good brush and remove all debris, pull the grass back and let the backing dry in the sun (if possible) before refitting, then pressure wash the area from a distance as you don’t want to blast it! Once this is dry you can add an infill, we are looking at Zeolite infill which locks onto the ammonia the same as our sand does however I hope it is more permanent i.e. only needs adding a few times. Regards

  7. Hi
    I need to raise my ground up by approx 1ft -2ft to finishing level of the grass
    What minimum Thickness of type 1 and do u recommend and minimum thickness of granite dust?
    Im thinking of crushed brick / hardcore beneath these layers to give me the height?

    • Hi there , you can use as much type one as you require , however it becomes a question of cost. Any spare rubble you can get your hands on I would get, chuck it in there first , this can be smashed up with a club hammer so it fits better( this is fantastic for drainage) . Then add some type one a to fill gaps and compact before adding more type one , compacting as you go , as most wackas will only compact the first few inches. I personally look for 1/2-1 inch of granite dust to get that perfect finish. regards

  8. Urine Free is the only thing I’ve found that works. However, it’s a process.
    We were told the dog urine will just filter through and out the base. Of allt he things I know dealing with pet urine, it crystalises and you need an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the smell.

    I run a doggy daycare and vacation care, lots of dogs. So I’ve found Urine Free works great. You spray it on, at nite so it has a chance to filter through overnite or cover with tarps to keep it wet longer. Then you’re left with rinsing it with a hose (to avoid feeling sticky under feet and to get rid of the Urine Free smell). Works like a charm. I do that every 3 weeks and every week I top up with Backyard Fresh – same principal. Both available in Australia

  9. Is there anyway you would consider a postage service? It sounds like I need this product but its just getting to you!

  10. Hi,
    Please can you tell me whereabouts in London you are based in order for me to collect the sand?

    Many thanks,


    • Hi there we are based in South East London, Bexley. However please note we are not a manned yard/shop as we specialise in installation and trade sales so please don’t just pop in on the off chance.
      I am normally here first thing 7am to 8.30am Monday to Friday. I am shut at the weekends.

  11. Hi. Do you just leave the sand on and top up as necessary or do you remove after a time and will it eliminate the smell that is already there!! Thanks

    • Hi the sand is so fine and you don’t use that much , simply top up as required little by little , around the surrounds mainly where the dogs wee.

      • So will it remove the smell that’s already there or will this only work if you use on a newly laid lawn ?

        • hi ,I would suggest if the lawn is quite bad maybe giving it a light pressure wash , then when it is dry adding some of the sand .It works extremely well but please don’t think for minute it will save all the problems if the lawn has been poorly installed.

  12. Hi Gavin

    We have false grass but as we’ve not done much with it our dog wees on the lawn daily but we use a bowl for him to wee in but obviously accidents happen we tend to just put water there where he’s weed but when the weather is hot we can smell the urine and it stinks. Can I get the sand from b and q and what type. Our dog is a staffie. Obviously we need help as it cost us. Lot of money this new lawn. Need help quick. Will the sand stay on the top of the grass as I don’t want my dog to have sore paws as he’s got sensitive skin.


    • Hi there , no you can’t get it in B&Q as it is a specifically made top dress product that holds on to the ammonia in the urine. With anything like this there are chemicals in the product for it to work, which have been thoroughly tested so they do not harm the animal. I have used it for over two years with my three dogs and its amazing. However the grass needs to have been laid correctly in the first place, with the membrane on the bottom and a free draining base.

    • Hi it will last you several years on an average garden as it is added very lightly in the worst areas where the dogs wee. It is added like sowing seeds so will last.

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