Bamboo rugs have been used in Asian cultures for centuries and are gaining popularity with today's consumers, especially those committed to using sustainable materials.
Generally, the rugs are woven using strips of bamboo bound with cotton, jute, or other materials.
They are cool, comfortable, and soft as well. They will actually become softer with age. They are good choices for covered outdoor areas as well as indoor decorative rugs. These rugs can provide a relaxing, natural ambiance to any living area.
WHAT IS BAMBOO?
Bamboo grows throughout the planet, especially in Central America, South America, South Africa, India, East Asia, Japan and North of Australia. It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. The Anji Mountains of China is considered to be the bamboo capital.
Bamboo is actually a grass, but it has a tree-like structure and its stems are wood-like. The stems are hollow and extremely strong, getting stronger as they age.
ADVANTAGES OF BAMBOO FIBER
- It minimizes carbon dioxide and can generate up to 35% more oxygen than trees.
- Bamboo provides an alternative source of timber and cellulose fiber. Thus, Bamboo planting can slow deforestation because it allows communities to construct commercial bamboo plantations and turn away from the destruction of their native forests.
- It can be grown in diverse climates because the efficiency of its water use is twice that of trees. Thus, it can handle harsh weather conditions such as drought, flood, and high temperatures.
- It helps to preserve soil and prevent soil erosion because of its extensive root system and the fact that it does not need to be uprooted to be replanted.
- It is biodegradable.
- There is no need for pesticides or fertilizers when growing bamboo.
WHY BAMBOO RUGS?
- They are fire resistant. The natural structure and oils of bamboo make it fire retardant. A fire may start on a bamboo rug but it will take a long time to spread.
- They are insect resistant. As a general rule, insects are not attracted to bamboo. It contains an antimicrobial agent that gives the plant a natural resistance to pests and fungi.
- They are allergen resistant because of their smooth and easy to clean surfaces. It is not as easy for allergens to hide as with other types of rugs.
- They do not conduct electron charges and are thus naturally anti-static.
- Bamboo is a renewable resource. The plants grow to maturity in 2 years. They regrow from their bases very quickly after cutting and can be regrown over and over again without depleting the forests. Bamboo can live in smaller spaces than traditional trees as well. Bamboo does not need to be processed in order to make it into a rug.
- Bamboo is extremely strong and durable. The plants receive special treatment after they are cleaned and cut and can retain their shape and hardness, holding up well to wear and tear.
- They can be used in any area of the home, even areas that receive high foot traffic and they make excellent entrance mats.
- Bamboo rugs come in a wide array of sizes and colors, although black and tan are the most common colors.
- They come in many patterns and with proper care can last a long time. The edges of the rugs are usually bound with a cotton binding that can come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs.
- They can be stained to fit any decor and they can also be painted.
DISADVANTAGES OF BAMBOO RUGS
- They can be louder than other rugs so it may be more prudent to not use a bamboo rug in an area with a lot of traffic.
- They will bleach in direct sunlight. Although it is possible to re-stain a sun-bleached bamboo rug, it is much easier to simply not place it in direct sunlight.
HOW TO KEEP BAMBOO RUGS CLEAN
- For smaller rugs, gently shake the rug occasionally to help dislodge dust.
- For larger rugs, vacuum in alternate directions and make several passes over the rug. The vacuum should not have a beater bar to avoid scratching the surface.
- Address spills or spots as soon as possible. For a spill, blot the area with a clean cloth or rag until the area is dry. Then blot with a cloth or rag dampened with warm water to get rid of any residue. Bamboo rugs are usually coated with polyurethane to protect them from both stains and scratches so it is relatively easy to maintain a clean appearance.
- To remove solid material, use a spatula or spoon and gently scrape the material. Remove any residue with a dampened rag.
- If the rug has become dirty enough to require more aggressive cleaning, shake it or vacuum it to remove debris and then clean the surface with a clean, damp cloth. Use a mild soap and water solution to spot clean the borders.
- Prevent problems by rotating your rug at least every 6 months in order to maintain an even traffic pattern on the rug. Bamboo rugs are usually kiln dried and carbonized to increase their durability and strength. Bamboo fibers themselves are extremely strong and usually coated with a synthetic material for protection against mold and mildew. Even the weight of a heavy chair will usually not be enough to cause divots or cracks.
- Sunlight can cause some degree of fading so if used as an outdoor area rug, rotate it regularly, especially if it is in a sunny location.
- If the rug comes with a natural fiber backing, this backing must stay dry to prevent rot and mold. If the rug has been used outside, store it inside. Always make sure the rug is completely dry before it is rolled up for storage and do not use it in any areas where it could be soaked by water , such as during a rainfall. If your rug does not come with a backing, make sure to purchase a rug pad, especially when the rug is placed on tiles or hardwood, since they tend to slide easily.
OTHER BAMBOO APPLICATIONS
Bamboo fiber is very versatile. There are more than 1000 species of bamboo. Bamboo comes in a wide range of consumer goods including rugs and mats, coasters, window treatments, fences, basketry, hats, shoes, clothing, etc. In Asia, bamboo was used for the hand-made production of paper.
Today, modern manufacturing can create bamboo fiber from bamboo pulp which can be used to make yarn and fiber for textiles. Manufacturers suggest the natural properties of the bamboo plant are carried forward in textile forms. Some of these claims have been disputed, some of which include sustainability . Please see our article on Bamboo Textiles for more information.
Bamboo fiber can also be used in the food industry in several ways:
- Food can be fortified with dietary fiber such as that from sustainably grown bamboo fiber to help with digestion and weight management.
- Bamboo fiber can be added to baked products to help make them resistant to becoming stale by making them more pliable and resistant to tearing and penetration.
- Bamboo fiber added to certain backed goods can increase their volume.
- Bamboo fiber added to the manufacture of baked goods made with sticky dough can result in a dough that is less likely to clog machinery.
- Bamboo fiber can be added to dry mixes and beverages where anti-caking properties and extra fiber are needed and can be a replacement for silicon dioxide.
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