Taking Care of Your Tatami Mat
So you just bought your very own Tatami Mat and are wondering how to care for it? Or you’re thinking of taking the plunge and were researching upkeep? Either way, you’ve come to the right place! Tatami mats have been found in Japanese households since the 8th century, and still play an important role in most Japanese homes. The soft natural straw material makes them perfect for sitting, walking, and sleeping, and their natural, traditional appearance adds beautiful Japanese style to any room or home. The firm feel with a slight give relieves pressure when walking, sitting, or kneeling as well as promotes a healthy sleeping position especially for people who prefer to sleep on their back. Additionally, Tatami Mats help purify the air by absorbing nitrogen dioxide, help regulate moisture by absorbing moisture during periods of high humidity and releasing it back into the air during dry spells, and help control temperature by behaving as a natural insulator. Not only are they both comfortable and beautiful, but their natural straw material makes them a very safe and sustainable addition to your home. Tatami mats will help bring nature into your home, and add comfort to your everyday life.
We at Haiku designs use the highest quality materials and a unique manufacturing process to make sure our Tatami mats are durable and ready for years of use. Our manufacturing process which involves heating the raw materials up to 80° Celsius (176º Fahrenheit) for 8 hours twice to ensure no pest infestations, give the mats a uniform stiffness and a soft surface that will allow you to use it every day for many years. Tatami mats will lay the foundation for your life, whether used for flooring or sleeping, so we want to make sure they are as durable as possible. As durable as they are, the mats are still made of all natural materials so special care is needed to ensure their longevity and beauty.
Maybe you are still trying to decide where to lay your Tatami mat, or maybe you have the perfect spot in mind. Luckily, Tatami mats can be placed on top of most flooring such as stone, hardwood floor, carpet, or heated floor, so they can be added to nearly any room you already have in your house. Even though they can be placed on most flooring, they should NOT be laid on humid floors or used with shoes on, because this could damage your Tatami mat. Speaking of humid or damp floors, I know I previously stated the mats can regulate moisture, but there is a difference between absorbing moisture in the air and absorbing it like a sponge off the floor. It is also HIGHLY recommended you place your Tatami Mats in a well ventilated room to avoid moisture buildup between the floor and your Tatami Mat. Also, keep in mind that sunlight will change your Tatami mat’s surface from green to yellow. Although both will look natural and beautiful, depending on the look you are going for you may want to keep it away from direct light.
They can also be set in bed frames (on slats) for you to sleep on. Sleeping on a Tatami mat, with or without a futon, is great for your natural bodily alignment. If you have not been sleeping well or have issues with back pain, give Tatami a try!
When you first open your Tatami mat, you’ll probably be excited to add it to your space and enjoy its comfort. You may notice a light powder, though, right after opening. This is because every Tatami mat is treated with a light Mud Clay to eliminate all moisture before we pack and ship it to you. We use Mud Clay because it is completely natural and harmless while still very effective, but unfortunately this means it may leave some residue. To remove, simply wipe your Tatami mat with a damp cloth. You may also notice a strong odor of natural grass and straw. Tatami mats are made of all natural materials without harmful chemicals, and unfortunately nature can have a bit of a smell. Simply air your Tatami mat outdoors for a few days if the smell is too strong, and be sure to avoid moisture from rain or sprinklers. You can also just clean the surface with a mixture of lemon oil and water, just wiping it with a damp cloth, to have it smelling fresh in no time!
Your Tatami mat will also need some routine cleaning and care, just like any important piece you bring into your home. You should regularly wipe your indoor Tatami mat surface with a damp cloth to keep it looking clean and beautiful. Vacuuming your mat regularly will also help to keep it clean, just make sure to move the brush of your vacuum in the direction of the reed. No matter how much you put into caring for your Tatami mat, sometimes life happens. Don’t panic: there are lots of ways to naturally remove any small stains or tiny imperfections that may appear on your mat. Here are some ways to remove any stains:
Mold: Sometimes a bit of mold will grow on your Tatami mat if it is exposed to moisture. If you find some on your Tatami mat, gently brush off the mold. Then, wipe with a clean cloth moistened with ethyl alcohol to completely clean the area. This will make your mat clean and fresh again, but be sure to never apply wet cleaners directly onto the mat because this could cause more mold to grow.
Dents: Placing furniture on your Tatami mat can leave dents, which can be noticeable if you decide to move or remove the piece of furniture. Don’t worry, they are easily removable. Just spray the dent with water, then iron the area with a wet, clean towel.
Ink: If ink is spilled onto your Tatami mat, just wipe with a clean cloth moistened with milk to remove the stain. I know it sounds unconventional, but trust us.
Dark Stains (such as soy sauce, coffee): Don’t let a little coffee spill ruin your morning. To remove dark stains, just absorb the stain with flour or talcum powder, and vacuum after.
Crayon: So maybe your kids decided to use your Tatami mat as a canvas for their newest art piece. To remove crayon from your Tatami mat, scrape off the crayon and apply a little cleaner to dry cloth to fully remove it.
Kerosene or urine: Simply apply flour directly to the stain to absorb it. Then, vacuum the area and wipe with a tightly wrung wet cloth. To thoroughly remove the stain, rinse the cloth and repeat several times.
Scotch stains: For a small scotch stain, apply scotch tape to prevent it from getting larger.
Although Tatami mats take a little bit of extra care, they are more than worth it for the comfort they bring to your home and the peace of mind that you are adding something to your house that is all natural and sustainable. With a little bit of love, your Tatami mat will last you years.