Indian or Chinese mattings are by some people preferred to carpets for bedroom use, because they can be cleaned with a damp cloth without absorbing the moisture; they are clean and cool, and a few rugs look well. They usually cost about 2/- per yard, and are about 1 yard wide.
MANILLA matting, which is made from the fibres of the plantain, will take most dyes, and therefore can be very effectively patterned; it is not, however, very durable.
COCOANUT matting does not absorb moisture or collect dust, and is therefore useful for damp floors. It can be scrubbed and well rinsed, and for that reason is often used for kitchens. Red and black are often introduced, forming a bright-looking check or stripe. This makes a good tough covering for schoolrooms, or anywhere where there is much hard wear. It is made in two widths, 1 yard and 2 yards, and costs from 1/- to 2/6 per yard. It must be taken up frequently, as the dust collects under it. Choose that in which the colour resembles the cocoanut shell: pale mattings are often manufactured of inferior fibres. It must be remembered that this matting is heavy and therefore not easily taken up; also that its rough interstices readily hold dust, and that if made wet it dries very slowly, and is apt to cause a close heavy smell if the room covered with it is not kept well ventilated.
STRAW MATTINGS should be fixed in position, or they crack or wrinkle up. They must be dusted regularly, and washed occasionally with salt and water; the salt prevents them from becoming yellow. They should only be made wet enough to enable the dirt to be rubbed off.
Bran water is often used for straw matting on account of its cleansing properties. The proportions are 2 handsful of bran to 1 gallon cold water. Allow it to boil 20 minutes, then strain, wash with a flannel dipped in this mixture, and dry at once with a linen cloth.
PARQUETRY made in small panels of wood, permanently fixed to the floor, costs 3/11 per square yard; but the roll parquetry, which is mounted on canvas, and can therefore be removed in the event of a tenant leaving a house, is 4/11.
These simply require sweeping and diligent polishing to keep them in good condition.
This useful and healthy floor-covering is manufactured of powdered cork and linseed oil. It should be bought from a reliable salesman to ensure it being thoroughly well-seasoned, and thus much more durable. It may be bought of a plain brown or green colour at 2/9 per yard; this, with the rugs, looks very well, though when new it shows every mark.
INLAID linoleums, where the pattern goes right through the material (and is not simply printed on the surface), will be perfect to the very last. They are more costly, being about 4/- per yard, but are artistic and serviceable.
1. Sweep with a hair broom to remove all dust.
2. Wash a portion with warm water and a little soap, using a house-flannel.
3. Rub this part dry with a dry flannel at once.
4. Polish with a cloth dipped in milk.
After finishing one part go on to the next, as by finishing a part at a time kneeling on the wet floor is avoided. Occasionally, these floor-coverings may be rubbed with a cloth dipped in paraffin; a through draught is then necessary to remove the smell.
CORK CARPETING, costing 2/9 to 3/- per yard, should be treated in the same way; but as it has not a high polish, milk is sufficient for a final rub. It is usually pasted on to the floor.
PLAIN LINOLEUM has no pattern to suffer effacement; but the use of a scrubbing-brush would in time break up and fret the surface. It is washed in the same way as the oilcloth mentioned above; but a little soda can be used in the water occasionally if the floor is very dirty. Beeswax and turpentine, or wax floor-polish, gives a good gloss, but causes it to be slippery.
All these floor-coverings should be washed as seldom as possible, seeing that damp causes them to wear out; they must always be dried very thoroughly. Rubbing with a dry flannel will often remove all marks.
KAMPTULICON is composed principally of gutta-percha. It wears well and is soft and warm, but every spot and footmark show. It requires to be washed in two or three waters and then well rubbed.