Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to take care of tatami mats (flooring)

One of my criteria when I was selecting my apartment was that I wanted it to be all tatami. Still, I'm sure there are many people with tatami rooms, so here are some of the key points for tatami care/maintenance:
  • keep tatami dry--unless you want mold/mildew
  • don't wear shoes on tatami (most Japanese even take off slippers before stepping on tatami)
  • always wipe (with only slightly damp cloths--no harsh cleaning solutions) or vacuum along the weave of the tatami (going against the weave may damage the tatami or cause dirt to get trapped in it)
  • use the weak (弱) or tatami (畳) setting for vacuuming
  • avoid leaving carpet over tatami as it creates a moist environment for mold and ticks
  • place wooden boards on top of tatami under heavy objects (piano, TV, etc.)
  • clean and air out the tatami regularly--dry and sunny fall/spring days are best for airing

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