Where are your mats made?
Our mats are assembled in China. Materials are sourced from various regions of Asia depending on availability, sustainablility and quality. We have maintained great relationships with high quality providers since 1994. Today, the vast majority of tatami manufacturers are based in China. Of the few remaining Japanese producers, most use a synthetic paper surface and foam filling for mats. It was once commonplace to see rush grass, used for the surface of the mats, growing and thriving in Japan, but today it is much less common. As the number of Tatami Mat producers declined in Japan, rush grass became more common in China and has flourished.
How long do mats last?
Mats can last up to 10 years or more but it solely depends on the amount of wear and tear, care, maintenance and the environment they are used in. Regular care and maintenance is key.
What are your mats filled with?
Our mats are filled with 100% rice straw. We do not compromise quality by adding foam or cardboard. Compressed rice straw is very durable and provides a strong foundation. Foam is a petroleum by-product which isn't eco-friendly and will compress and break down over time. Cardboard or fiber board materials are inferior to rice straw filling. We offer pure, rice straw filled mats only.
How do I clean spills?
Tatami mats are much like carpet and caution must be used. Use a dry cloth to soak up a spill. Blot the spill, rather than wiping it. Use a damp cloth to remove a stain. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners as they may discolor the surface. In some instances a water solution with just a hint of bleach can eradicate a light stain. It is recommended to test an inconspicuous area prior to cleaning. When cleaning mats, wipe, brush or vacuum with the grain of the rush grass, not against it. Only use soft bristle brushes and use the wand or hose tool when vacuuming. Using a vacuum with the roller/beating function may break the grass fibers.
Do Tatami Mats have a scent?
Yes, the rice straw fill and rush grass surface are natural plants and emit a natural grass scent. The scent may seem to dissipate over time but it is likely the owner becomes desensitized to the fragrance. If the scent is too strong when you receive them or if you have allergies, you can try placing the mats in a well ventilated room or cool, dry location outside for a few hours or days. If you are very sensitive to grass scents or have allergies, we suggest buying one mat to see if it you have tolerance of the scent. For safety and health standards we are unable to accept returns of mats, so use caution if you are sensitive to these kinds of scents. Because our mats are non-returnable, you can be assured that you are purchasing and receiving new, unused tatami mats.
Are your mats treated?
Our manufacturers provide an extensive treatment process to clean and sanitize the grasses used in our tatami. We do not add any pesticide powders inside of our mats. Instead, our tatami mats go through two rounds of heat drying and then a sterilization process. This "heat treating" process bakes the straw at low temperatures for an extended period of time. In compliance with government regulations, assembled mats are sterilized prior to export into the USA. Mats go through a specialized ventilation process and are oxygenated to dissipate any residue. We strictly adhere to this two-step process for customer safety, cleanliness and to eliminate pests, molds or mildew. Heat treatment alone is not as effective in eliminating pests, because pests instinctively avoid heat. Heat treatment can be difficult to maintain at lethal temperatures. Because mats contain natural plant fibers, heat treatment is limited in scope to prevent damage to the fibers and causing excessive dryness, which can lead to your mat breaking down prematurely. We feel this is a superior process and provides safe and clean mats.
What should I do to care for Tatami Mats?
Remove shoes prior to walking on your mats. This includes slippers. It is best to walk on tatami in bare feet or wear socks if you are cold. Rotate your mats on a regular basis to allow for even wear. Avoid walking on the edge of the mats. Avoid placing mats on basement floors to avoid the risk of mold. Wipe or brush the mats regularly to remove dust and dirt. Air out your mats at least every 6 months but avoid moist humid days. Avoid direct sunlight when airing out. Sunny Fall and Spring seasons are best. If placing furniture on your mats, place wooden boards on top of tatami under the legs of the furniture. Heavy furniture is not recommended. If your room is humid and damp, we recommend using a dehumidifier to help avoid mold or mildew.
What are some benefits of Tatami Mats?
The straw base of tatami helps regulate humidity in a room. Tatami can also act as an insulator, keeping heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.The compressed straw filling is filled with air and helps absorb water and heat. In dry conditions, moisture in the core will evaporate. The gentle aroma of rice straw helps calm the senses. Tatami mats help clean the air by absorbing nitrogen oxide.