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The Complete Guide to Bamboo Flooring Maintenance

You’ve recently installed a new bamboo floor in your house, extremely pleased with how it complements your furniture, walls, and overall interior design. You’re also satisfied with bamboo’s durability, lasting more than typical hardwoods like maple and oak. Now, you’re probably wondering about how exactly you can maintain them to continuously enjoy their numerous benefits. Cleaning bamboo flooring is relatively easy. However, you should know that there’s more to it than sweeping and mopping, especially if you want to keep the bamboo looking its best. Read on to learn everything you need to know about proper bamboo flooring maintenance.

How to Clean Bamboo Flooring

Consider the Type of Bamboo Floor You Have

Before you start cleaning your bamboo floor, you should first know what exact kind of flooring you have. Research about its specific construction, strand, and finish type. This will help you determine special cleaning tools and methods to use based on the type you have. There are typically five main types of bamboo flooring: horizontal, vertical, strand woven, click-fitting, and tongue & groove bamboo. Both horizontal and vertical strand bamboo are softer and can easily be dented so you have to use a gentle cleaning approach. Strand woven bamboo, on the other hand, is much durable and far more versatile than horizontal or vertical bamboo flooring.

Gather All the Tools Needed

Now that you’ve determined the type of bamboo floor you have, you can start looking for the appropriate cleaning and maintenance tools.

   •   Floor Protection

The key to proper bamboo flooring maintenance is consistency. You’ll need to regularly scrub and clean the floor to keep it looking new and polished. However, all of your efforts will be useless if you don’t invest in good floor protection. Make sure you cover all your furniture legs—whether it’s the smallest stool or the grandest piano—with rubber cups, felt pads, mesh rubber shelf liner, or coasters. These floor protective products can keep your bamboo floor from looking faded and worn out, especially if you constantly move furniture to clean large areas of your house. They also prevent denting, gouging, and scratching of your bamboo floor.

  •   Broom

If you’re planning to clean a small area of the floor, it’s perfectly fine to use a traditional bristle broom to keep away dust and dirt. However, for thorough cleaning, you might have more luck using a microfiber dust mop. This special broom is designed with a flexible microfiber head which successfully lifts all the dust, grime, and hair stuck on your bamboo flooring. It’s far more effective in keeping your floor clean than an ordinary broom that tends to just push the dirt.

  •   Vacuum

The best (and fastest) way to achieve a clean bamboo floor is to invest in a high-quality vacuum with enough suction power. You can simply turn the machine and let it do the job for you—get rid of dirt, grit, and sand off your bamboo flooring. 

Tip: Do you have pets? Look for a vacuum model specifically designed to pick up small pet hairs.

  •   Mop

Like vacuums, you should purchase a high-quality mop that can save you time in cleaning your bamboo floor. So skip the typical string mop and invest in one made of microfiber! This type of mop features a flat head to cover a large surface area and remove most dampness from your bamboo floor in just one swipe. Just make sure to look for one with a sturdy handle, minimal parts, and a washable head to ensure it will last you for a long-time.

Choose the Right Bamboo Floor Cleaning Products

Aside from the tools, you also need to buy the appropriate bamboo floor cleaning products. Generally, you can safely use hardwood cleaners on your bamboo flooring. However, most of these products are actually harmful to your floor as they are far too acidic or alkaline.  To know if a specific cleaner is safe for your floor, read the packaging carefully. If the cleaner contains pH-neutral ingredients, you’ll be ensured that it would not harm your floor finish and preserve it instead. House of Bamboo offers a 100% environment-friendly bamboo cleaners that can effectively remove dirt, grease, and other kinds of stains. Lastly, you should dilute concentrated bamboo floor cleaners with distilled water. This reduces the risk of staining or worse, warping your floor. 

Tip: Are you planning to clean a small surface on your floor? It’s recommended to only use a spritz of water for spot-cleaning. You should reserve bamboo floor cleaners for disinfecting and deep cleaning purposes.

Bamboo Flooring Landscape

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Bamboo Floors

Once you’ve invested in the right cleaning tools, it’s time to start the actual cleaning of your bamboo floor. Follow these simple steps to maintain the sheen and colour of your floor.

1. Place Floor Protection on Your Furniture

Before cleaning the bamboo floor, make sure you have installed floor protection on all of your furniture. Doing so would not only prevent scratches and damage on the floor during deep cleaning days but it also helps you slide bulky items easily. If you’re cleaning a cramped space full of furniture, it’s best to move all of them on one side of the room, clean the empty floor space, and repeat the process until you have scrubbed the whole room’s floor area.

2. Clean the Floor Using Your Vacuum or Dust Mop

Once the floor protective products are properly secured to your furniture, it’s time to sweep away the dirt and other particulates on your bamboo floor using a soft-bristled broom, dust mop, or a vacuum.  You can make great progress in cleaning by following the grain of bamboo. You should also thoroughly clean the plank joints of your bamboo floor where stubborn dirt likes to hide.  

Tip: Are you using a vacuum to clean your bamboo flooring? Make sure to check the machine’s wheels for lodged dirt, gravel, or sand. If you find them stuck on the wheels, clean them out first as they can scratch the finish of your floors.

3. Remove Dried Spills or Stains

After sweeping or vacuuming, you should look out for areas on the floor with dried spills or stains. If you find one. Clean them immediately with a lightly damped sponge or a microfiber towel. Wipe the spill area to remove the remaining dirt. If the damp cloth is not enough to remove the stains, you can add a small amount of approved bamboo cleaning solution to the cloth. Then proceed to gently rub the area to get rid of the stains. Lastly, use water to dampen a clean cloth then use it to wipe away the cleaning solution from the area.

4. Soak the Bamboo Floor with a Damp Mop

Once the floor is clear of any dirt, grime, and stains, you can now mop your bamboo floor. Wet your mop using a bamboo cleaning solution then dry it until it’s barely damp. Then start to mop the floor in gentle, straight patterns—ideally following the texture of the bamboo. After mopping, you should wipe the floor dry with a clean, soft towel in order to avoid staining the bamboo.

5. Consider Spot Cleaning

While deep cleaning ensures your bamboo floor would look its best, it’s also tiring and time-consuming. You should try regular spot cleaning as it’s actually the best way to keep your flooring new and shining. Clean bamboo floors regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt. In fact, you should sweep high-traffic areas in your house (living room, kitchen, hallways) daily as walked-on dirt can cause minor scratches on your bamboo floor. In addition, if a spill occurs, make sure to quickly wipe it away to ensure that the water does not soak into the flooring. Lastly, apply a cleaning oil on the surface of your bamboo floor to enhance its colour, grain, and durability. WOCA Oil, a water-based oil mainly used in outdoor bamboo decking, forms a strong water and dirt-repellent surface which protects your floor from particulates.

Proper Bamboo Floor Maintenance: 5 Things to Avoid

By now, you already know how to properly clean your bamboo floor. However, you should also know some preventative measures in order to keep your bamboo looking great for years to come. Here are the common mistakes you should avoid to prevent  irreparable and costly damage to your flooring.

1. Abrasive Cleaning Tools

Bamboo is a far more durable and resilient flooring material than hardwood. However, it is still susceptible to scratching just like ordinary wooden floors. That’s why it’s best to avoid using any cleaning tool that has a rough or abrasive brush. Get rid of the scrubbing sponge and use a soft cloth instead to clean your bamboo floors. Make sure to follow the same rule when choosing the kind of broom, mop, or vacuum you’ll use.

2. Heavyweight Vacuums

Aside from using a mop with soft fibers, you should also consider its weight. Avoid using a heavy vacuum as it can cause dents and wheel tracks on your bamboo floor overtime. You should also look out for mops with a beater bar which leaves great damage to your floor. Instead, purchase a lightweight vacuum that can be easily lifted with a removable or no beater bar.

3. Wax and Oil Soap

Do not bother to use wax or oil soap when cleaning your bamboo floors! Save yourself the trouble by keeping them for your car instead. Wax simply doesn’t do anything on your bamboo floor. In fact, it can even make your floors look more dirty instead of cleaner. Oil soap products, on the other hand, strip away the protective layer of bamboo planks, leaving your bamboo floors permanently weakened. For a safe alternative, opt to use a pH-balanced cleaning product to keep your bamboo floors attractive.

4. Excessive Water or Bamboo Floor Cleaner

Avoid mopping the floors with a completely soaked mop as it can cause distortion, staining, and warping on your bamboo floor. Before mopping, ensure that the mop is completely wrung out first to prevent excess water or bamboo floor cleaner dripping on the floor.

5. Steam Mop

You should also never use a steam mop to clean your bamboo floor! The mop contains heat which pushes moisture deep into the bamboo planks, causing irreparable water  damage faster than a forgotten water spill. Use a typical string mop or better yet, invest in a mop with a flathead and strips of microfiber. Maintaining bamboo floors might seem easy but you have to put in extra effort and follow cleaning steps thoroughly. You also need to invest in quality cleaning tools and products in order to enjoy your bamboo flooring for as long as possible. 

ALSO READ: Bamboo Flooring: A Look at the Pros and Cons of this Natural Flooring Option

Want to learn more on how to properly maintain your bamboo floors? House of Bamboo, Australia’s leading supplier of high-quality and sustainable bamboo flooring, can assist you. Having been established in 1972, we love helping our clients build or renovate their dream home using sustainable materials. Contact us today for assistance.

Bamboo Flooring: A Look at the Pros and Cons of this Natural Flooring Solution

More and more homeowners now think about sustainability when renovating or building a home resulting into the increased popularity of bamboo as one of the most viable flooring options. In a short time, the shift in customer behaviour has catapulted bamboo to the top of the list of wood flooring solutions. Similar to the traditional materials used in homes – granite, marble and hardwood – bamboo is a natural product. Although it shares many similarities with hardwood, it is a type of grass that can outperform its wood competitors . The more you understand the many properties of bamboo, the more informed you will be when deciding whether a bamboo flooring will work with your lifestyle. So, to get you started, here are the pros and cons of bamboo flooring.

How is Bamboo Flooring Made?

All bamboo flooring is engineered. After harvesting, bamboo shoots are cut, sliced and shredded into long thin strips before they are pressed back together using adhesives and pressure. The end result is a long-lasting wood flooring that is visually similar to hardwood. There are three common types of bamboo flooring.

Vertical bamboo is distinguished by its uniform and textured look, with more seams and edges visible.  
Horizontal bamboo, on the other hand, resembles a typical hardwood only it has distinct knuckles that will tell it is bamboo.
Strand woven are fibres that are compressed through the compression process and bound with a resin.

5 Factors That Affect The Quality Of Bamboo Flooring

Although bamboo floors may appear to be identical, there are actually several differences that set each other apart – and as a provider of sustainable bamboo materials since 1972, we believe that the overall quality of bamboo start with the harvesting, followed by other important factors.

Harvesting:  While bamboo reaches full height in as little as 3 to 4 months, it still takes at least 5 years to achieve its peak density and hardness. Thus, when harvested prematurely, the result is a weaker bamboo flooring.
Drying: Since bamboo largely thrive in sub-tropical environments, it needs to be artificially dried to help it achieve the appropriate moisture content. This process aids in preventing shrinkage of the finished product.
Adhesive: The glue used in high-quality bamboo flooring is a phenolic resin which has low toxicity and meets world health requirements. In cheaper bamboo flooring, a phenol or urea-based adhesive is used as it is lower in cost and contains some amount of formaldehyde.
FSC-Certification: An FSC-certification indicates the bamboo flooring manufacturer values sustainability. It gives you the assurance that you are purchasing FSC-certified material that used bamboo harvested from sustainably managed forests.
Possible Green-Washing: Sadly, greenwashing is widely prevalent even in the bamboo flooring industry due to bamboo’s emerging market potential. Aside from the potentially misleading information, this increase in popularity also brings about a market competition that provides varying floor prices.

Advantages of Bamboo Flooring

Eco-Friendly Bamboo is a highly renewable resource that can reach full maturity in as little as five to seven years. It means that bamboo can be harvested more often than any hardwood tree that can take up to 20 years before it matures – and since bamboo is a grass, it continues to grow without the need for replanting.

Natural Material As homeowners become more eco-conscious, the demand for construction products that reflect their values have reached an all-time high – and bamboo consistently proves to be a better and natural flooring alternative that offers distinct results unfitting for the cookie cutter world.

Easy to Maintain Bamboo flooring is relatively low maintenance – with regular sweeping and mopping, you can keep it clean and looking great for years. All you need is a mild soap or a vinegar-water solution to mop the floor with or if you want to level things up, you can also use a specific bamboo floor cleanser.

Durable Some certain types of bamboo can be remarkably strong and durable. In particular, when properly harvested and processed, natural and un-carbonized bamboo can last as long as hardwood floors, while strand-woven bamboo can be far harder than that.

Stylish Although similar to hardwood in appearance and feel, bamboo flooring still has an exceptional flair – not to mention, a sleek finish – that fits well to a clean and modern aesthetic. Its contemporary appeal has the ability to elevate any space almost instantly.

Variety Another benefit of bamboo flooring is that it comes in a wide range of styles and colours. A natural bamboo is light yellow in colour, but when carbonized, it lends a darker colour to the floor. Stained bamboo, on the other hand, can be made to create abstract streaks in different shades.

Refinishing Potential Over time, bamboo floors can become discoloured, dented and scratched, creating bumps and crevices. But, it’s comforting to know that the surface can be refinished whenever needed, providing a new and even look to the flooring again.

Pest Resistant Bamboo  is naturally immune to insects thus, bamboo floors generally don’t require pesticides to keep the residence free of ten

NOTE: Bamboo is resistant to water due to the polycarbonate coating applied otherwise it will respond the same as any timber floor.

Price The sustainability of bamboo allows the material to be priced considerably lower than traditional hardwood floors, making it a cheaper option for budget-wise re-modelers. It is typically priced at $60 – $80sqm  per square foot. However, you have to take note that cheaper isn’t always better, so it best to do your research first.

Bamboo Floors in Living Room

Disadvantages of Bamboo Flooring

Prone to Scratches 
Although durable, any type of bamboo flooring is susceptible to dents and scratches. Sharp objects such as heeled shoes, furniture legs and pet nails can scratch the floor, as can the dust that accumulate in the floor. But, as mentioned earlier, the damage can be remedied by refinishing the surface.

Water Damage Potential When under normal conditions, bamboo is as water-resistant as traditional hardwood flooring. But, it still is a natural material and prolonged exposure to moisture can result to warping, discolouration and mould growth.

Sensitivity to Humidity In the same manner, bamboo floors can be vulnerable to environments that are too dry or too humid. Dry air can result to shrinking of the bamboo planks while humid air can plump them up. Either way, the planks will likely crack and split.

Potential Lack of Hardness If bamboo isn’t allowed to fully mature before it is harvested, the flooring will be soft and non-durable. Likewise, darker bamboo planks are typically softer, as the carbonization process they have gone through can weaken them structurally.

Style Limitations Although the contemporary look of bamboo is the factor that makes it an ideal option for most homeowners, it is the same trendy vibe that may reduce its versatility in interior designing. Its aesthetic appeal may only be suitable to modern aesthetics.

Possible Toxins Emission Low quality bamboo floors may potentially contain high levels of toxic chemicals. In most cases, the adhesive used in the manufacturing process can release VOCs or volatile organic chemicals, which over time can contribute to air pollution in the surrounding.

TIP: To ensure the safety of your family, purchase from a manufacturer that sells low-VOC products.

Lack of Grading System Most of the natural building materials available come with a grading system that rates the quality of the product. However, there is not an established grading system to rate bamboo floors yet, so there’s a higher chance that you mistakenly purchase poor quality planks. To avoid this, it is crucial to do your research on the brands you consider.

Is Bamboo For You?

Both the list of the advantages and disadvantages of bamboo flooring can go on. However, you can reduce the risk that often comes with opting for this type of flooring by responsibly selecting high-quality bamboo for your floors and maintaining them properly. At a time where the construction industry produces 40% of all global waste, natural materials are the most sustainable way to build and decorate your home.

If you’d like to discuss your residential or commercial projects with House of Bamboo Design Consultants, call 1300 665 703 or chat with us online at houseofbamboo.com.au 

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