Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoide) is a bromeliad that grows on trees and is particularly common in the southeast United States. It is often used in homemade crafts, such as wreaths, floral displays and woven fabrics. Because Spanish moss comes from the outdoors, it must be cleaned prior to using. If you have harvested fresh moss, you must get rid of any bugs or other critters first. While you can shake many of these pests away, you will still need to kill any unseen ones to prevent an infestation, especially if the moss is going to be used indoors.
Wash freshly harvested Spanish moss outdoors in a bucket of soapy water. This method is good if you are using your Spanish moss outdoors. Mix about 1 tsp. of dish detergent for every gallon of water. Separate the moss into manageable sections and swish it in the soapy water. Then rinse it in a bucket of clean water and lay it out to dry in the sun. Do this on a table, over the clothesline or another similar place that is free of bugs.
Boil freshly harvested Spanish moss if you are using it indoors. Again, separate the moss into manageable pieces and boil it for about one to two minutes. Lay the moss out on your counter to dry. This process emits a foul odor, so open the windows prior to boiling the moss.
Mist Spanish moss lightly with water a half-hour before using it. This applies to moss that has already been cleaned and freed of bugs. Misting will help the Spanish moss from collecting dust after you have made your craft.
Dust Spanish moss gently with a feather duster, as necessary. You can also use a fan to help remove some of the dust that may have collected.