How Do You Clean a Tatami Mat?

clean-tatami-mat Credit: Joji Iwasaki/Taxi Japan/Getty Images

The best way to clean a tatami mat is to take it outside, shake off accumulated dust, leave the mat in a dry location for several days, wipe it with a dust cloth, and attack stains with diluted white vinegar. This three-day process requires a large bowl, clean water, white vinegar, a microfiber cloth and a large sponge.

  1. Take the mat outside

    Take the tatami mat outside, and shake it vigorously. Leave it in a safe, dry location for at least two days. This gives the mat time to dry out and reduces the chance of mold development.

  2. Dust the mat with a cloth

    Dust both sides of the mat with a dry microfiber cloth. Cotton cloths also work, but microfiber is the best choice because it removes tiny dust particles trapped in tightly-woven straw tatami mats.

  3. Wipe stains with diluted white vinegar

    Combine equal parts clean water and vinegar in a large bowl. Saturate a large sponge in the diluted vinegar, wring it out, and scrub discolored sections of your tatami mat. Apply more vinegar as needed.

  4. Dry the mat

    Dry the mat with the microfiber cloth. Keep it outside until the straw is completely dry, and then return it to its customary location.