How to Treat Spanish Moss


Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is actually not a true moss but a perennial plant in the pineapple family. It is a versatile plant with tough fibers that has been used for many purposes over the years, including as a stuffing for mattresses and furniture. Currently Spanish moss is typically used as a packing material and as a fiber for weaving (blankets, for example). Before you use Spanish moss for these or any other purposes, you must treat it to kill any pests that may be hidden among the plant's fibers.

Step 1

Gather Spanish moss from trees or from the ground. For high areas, use a pole with a hook or just a long stick as a safer alternative to climbing a ladder.

Step 2

Look through the Spanish moss outdoors for any large insects or bugs, such as spiders and ants. Shake them away before you bring it indoors.

Step 3

Break apart the Spanish moss into manageable sections. Use scissors to cut it into desired lengths.

Step 4

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and submerge the Spanish moss into the pot with a heat-resistance utensil. Open a window first; this process emits an unpleasant odor.

Step 5

Return the pot to a boil, and boil the Spanish moss for about one minute to kill any remaining and unseen pests.

Step 6

Remove the Spanish moss with tongs, and shake off any excess water. Separate the fibers, and lay them out on your counter or similar area to dry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Take care and use common sense as you gather and handle Spanish moss. Snakes, birds and other small animals sometimes use it as shelter.

Things You'll Need

  • Pole or long stick
  • Scissors
  • Pot
  • Tongs


  • United States Department of Agriculture: Spanish Moss
  • She Spins Spanish Moss into Beautiful Blankets
  • Legends, and Facts, About Spanish Moss
Keywords: use Spanish moss, boil Spanish moss, clean Spanish moss

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.