Identifying and removing foreign matter helps keep infill synthetic turf systems clean.

Once thought of as maintenance-free, today's infill synthetic turf systems require maintenance personnel to pay close attention to what foreign matter is introduced to a playing field in order to remove it as quickly and completely as possible. Here are some ways to mitigate potential messes:

Set policy and post signs prohibiting the use of chewing gum, spit tobacco or sunflower seeds while on the surface.

Position an adequate number of rustproof trash receptacles near spectator seating areas and along player benches, and locate player refreshment stations off the surface entirely.

Place scraper mats at field entry points to help players and coaches remove foreign matter from their shoes.

Manually remove chewing gum after first hardening it with cold water, ice or a freezing spray, or as a last resort carefully use scissors to snip gum free of the fibers.

Flush all liquid waste - including spilled sports drinks, blood, sweat, saliva, vomit and urine - with water, and spot clean if necessary using a mild detergent solution or a turf-specific disinfectant purchased through a turf-paint supplier.

Treat weeds (yes, weeds) with biodegradable weed killer, having first consulted with the turf manufacturer regarding what substances will not damage the field or void its warranty.

Regularly clear the field of leaves, wrappers, athletic tape, bandages and other large debris using a sweeper, a groomer (a sweeper that also employs tines to fluff both infill and fibers while freeing smaller debris such as peanut shells) or a leaf blower (providing a moderate setting is used and the wand is not aimed close enough to the infill to displace it). Fields can also be dragged with a magnet bar to remove metal items, such as hairpins and track spikes.

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.