Bamboo may be a grass, but when manufacturers split stalks and laminate them to make flooring boards, the result is as durable as hardwood. Additionally, most bamboo flooring comes pre-finished with a baked-on urethane coating, which results in a floor covering that requires little maintenance. When you need to clean your bamboo flooring, though, use the right products. Caustic and acidic cleaners, as well as excessive water, can cause damage.
Sweeping and Vacuuming
Maintain your bamboo floor as if it were hardwood. Sweep it weekly to remove small stones and particles of dirt that could get dragged across the floor and scratch it. Vacuum periodically to remove dirt from the gaps between boards. Avoid using a vacuum attachment with a beater bar, which can scratch the floor finish; instead, use a soft attachment. It's best to run the vacuum in the direction of the flooring boards; if you do manage to drag a stone or sharp object that scratches the floor with the vacuum cleaner, the scratch will be less noticeable if it follows the grain of the bamboo than if it crosses the grain.
Mopping and Light Washing
Even though bamboo has less tendency to swell than wood, moisture can still damage and stain it, so you should never wet-mop the floor. When mopping is needed, use a microfiber or sponge mop, and wring it out well before using it on the floor -- it should only be slightly damp. Avoid streaking by mopping in the direction of the flooring boards instead of across it, and as a precaution, wipe down the floor with a clean, non-abrasive rag after mopping. Be especially wary of cabinet overhangs and corners, where it's easy to inadvertently leave small puddles.
Appropriate Cleaning Solutions
The finish on a bamboo floor -- like that on a hardwood floor -- can be damaged by acidic or alkaline cleaners. When you need to mop with a cleaner that's more powerful than plain water, add an ounce of dish soap per gallon of water. You probably won't damage the floor finish if you add a cup of vinegar to the water to dissolve grime, grease and mineral deposits, as long as you wring out the mop thoroughly and dry the floor after mopping. You can also mop with any bamboo floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
Things to Avoid
Because it's so vulnerable to moisture, you should never clean bamboo flooring with a steam mop -- the steam can soak through the finish and discolor the bamboo. Similarly, avoid oil soap -- it leaves behind a residue that gets absorbed by the bamboo and can cause permanent hazing. Also avoid wax, which leaves a dulling residue on any flooring with a factory polyurethane finish. Never clean your bamboo floor with ammonia; it can etch the finish, as can other strongly alkaline, acidic or abrasive cleaners. The best cleaners for a bamboo floor finish are pH-neutral ones.