Bamboo furniture is an elegant and dramatic accent to a home, both indoors and out. Technically, bamboo is a grass and not a true wood, which is why the plant has such unusual pliability and strength. But while the furniture requires relatively little maintenance over time, the main concern with bamboo is water exposure and, conversely, excessive dryness.
Water and dampness encourage rot and the growth of mold, which deteriorates the “wood” quality of bamboo, while very dry air can also strip it of natural oils. Both unvarnished and varnished bamboos require some upkeep to maintain their form, color, and durability. These eight tips can help preserve the beauty and lifespan of your bamboo furniture.
Keep Water Exposure Low
For outdoor furniture, in particular, keep water exposure to a minimum.
Use Linseed Oil
To maintain the luster of the bamboo, rub it every month or two with linseed or furniture oil intended specifically for bamboo. Very low humidity can cause the bamboo to crack, so for indoor furniture applying that small amount of oil on a regular basis can be very beneficial.
As a general rule, dust, brush, or vacuum accumulated surface dirt before you use soap and water. After the visible dirt has been removed, wash the furniture using a cloth or sponge.
Use Organic Soap
To clean unvarnished or varnished bamboo, use a soft cloth or sponge and mild soapy water. Wring out excess water and wipe the wood gently. Choose an organic or natural soap rather than harsh detergent, which can damage or discolor the natural sheen of the bamboo.
Keep Stains Out
If you notice a stain or liquid spilled on the furniture, clean it immediately to reduce the likelihood the stain will set and become permanent.
Don't Sit After Cleaning
Avoid sitting on the furniture directly after it has been cleaned or when it is damp. Wet bamboo becomes soft and pliable, and can sag and warp more easily.
In the event that mold develops on your furniture, clean the area thoroughly with soapy water. Use the rough back of a sponge or an old toothbrush to remove all signs of mold growth. Dry the area completely to avoid recurrent fungus growth in the future.
If the bamboo has cracked due to weather exposure or age, fix the damage by gently sanding the area with very fine grit sandpaper. Then smooth paste wax over the area to recondition the color and tone of the wood.