How to Prepare Spanish Moss for Weaving


Spanish moss may look like some kind of infestation or parasite, but the plant is a useful commodity in some southern states. A bromeliad distantly related to the pineapple, Spanish moss has been woven by Native Americans since before Europeans came to America. Pioneers also wove the plant, and it was later adapted for stuffing in mattresses and car seats. Today, Spanish moss is used in a wide variety of crafts including weaving. Before using Spanish moss you must get rid of any insects and remove the outer coating.

Step 1

Put on protective clothing including long pants, long sleeves and gloves before collecting and handling Spanish moss. Treat the cuffs of your clothing with bug spray. Chiggers frequently inhabit Spanish moss and can crawl under clothing and cause welts.

Step 2

Shake each section of moss you collect to dislodge any birds, lizards or flying insects.

Step 3

Place the Spanish moss in a stock pot that is 1/2 full of water, then bring the water to a boil. The green outer coating will separate from the hairlike black center during the boiling process. Boil the moss until all of the coating has separated from the moss. Transfer the moss to a sink using a pair of tongs and rinse it with cold water from the tap or a sink sprayer. Leave the moss in the sink until it is cool.

Step 4

Hang the moss to dry over a clothesline or spread it out over a piece of unfolded newspaper.

Step 5

Save and dry the gray outer coating once it separates from Spanish moss as well as the water you boiled the moss in. The coating can be used for mulch in your garden and the water makes good fertilizer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Boiling Spanish moss produces an unpleasant odor. Open windows before boiling the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Bug spray
  • Stock pot
  • Clothesline
  • Clothespins
  • Newspaper


  • Extension: What you Need to Know About Spanish Moss
  • Beaufort County Library: The Many Uses of Spanish Moss
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Spanish Moss, a Strange Sight for Visitors

Who Can Help

  • Louisiana State University: Spanish Moss is Not a Parasite
  • Community Online: The Storey of Spanish Moss
  • St. Petersburg Times: She spins Spanish moss into beautiful blankets
Keywords: garden arts, arts and crafts, preparing Spanish moss

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."