How to Prepare Spanish Moss for Use


Despite its name, Spanish moss is not a moss at all. Instead it's a bromeliad, which makes it distantly related to the pineapple. Spanish moss was long used by Native Americans prior to the arrival of colonists. Over the years, the fibrous plant has been used to lash together the beams of houses, stuff mattresses and been mixed with clay for both pottery and plaster for homes. Before you use Spanish moss today, you have to treat it to remove mites such as chiggers as well as to strip off the outer coating.

Step 1

Put on long sleeves, long pants, and gloves before going out to gather Spanish moss. Spray your clothes and any exposed skin with a bug repellent to keep away biting insects such as mosquitoes or chiggers. Wear the protective clothing through the entire process of gathering and preparing the Spanish moss.

Step 2

Examine any Spanish moss you harvest for frogs, lizards, birds or other animals. Remove these animals before taking Spanish moss home.

Step 3

Place Spanish moss into a stock pot and fill the pot with water until the moss is completely covered.

Step 4

Place the pot on a stove and bring the water to a rolling boil.

Step 5

Place a colander in the sink and pour the contents of the stock pot into the colander.

Step 6

Spread out a piece of newspaper on a flat surface in a dry, well-ventilated room. Pull Spanish moss out of the colander and spread it over the newspaper to dry.

Step 7

Pull off your protective clothing and wash it. Take a shower to clean away any biting mites such as chiggers that live in Spanish moss.

Tips and Warnings

  • Boiling Spanish moss produces an unpleasant odor. Open a window and turn on a fan when preparing Spanish moss to dissipate the odor.

Things You'll Need

  • Long pants
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Garden gloves
  • Bug repellent
  • Stock pot
  • Colander
  • Newspaper


  • St. Petersburg Times Online Edition: She Spins Spanish Moss into Beautiful Blankets
  • Beaufort County Library: Spanish Moss: Its Nature, History and Uses
  • Terrebonne Parish Online: The Story of Spanish Moss

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Guide: Spanish Moss
Keywords: boiling Spanish moss, collecting Spanish moss, pests in 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."