What Is the Best Way to Clean Raffia?

Malcolm Tatum

Raffia is used for many different applications today. Many people love to create ornaments from new and clean raffia that can be used during various holidays of the year. Persons who are into arts and crafts will use raffia to create interesting accents for wreaths. Treated and clean raffia panels can be used to create the look and feel of grass paper for walls. Raffia rugs are considered a light and easy way to provide coverage for hardwood floors. In addition, raffia is often used to create bags, purses, and summer hats. As a versatile material that is found in many homes, raffia is also often something that needs to be cleaned from time to time. Here are some tips that will help keep raffia in its many incarnations clean and new looking.

A combination of baking soda and white vinegar can be used to clean raffia.
A combination of baking soda and white vinegar can be used to clean raffia.

It is important to understand that raffia is made form the raffia palms that are found in parts of Africa, Madagascar, and also parts of Central and South America. These hardy palms are used in some cultures for roof coverings, due to their ability to hold up well against the rains. While it is only the thin membrane on the underside of the palm leaf that is used to make most of the raffia items that western culture is familiar with, it does give us some clues on how to clean the raffia.

Raffia comes from a specific palm tree that originally grew only on Madagascar.
Raffia comes from a specific palm tree that originally grew only on Madagascar.

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Cleaning natural fibers often relies on using natural cleansing agents, such as air. For instance, one of the best ways to clean raffia mats and rugs is to take them outside and air them on a clothesline, perhaps even taking a broom and wiping them down and giving them a good shake. Leaving the rugs in the open air for a time will help to rid the material of any accumulated odors, leaving a fresh clean scent to the clean raffia.

Baking soda and white vinegar can help remove stains.
Baking soda and white vinegar can help remove stains.

Cleaning raffia that has been soiled by liquid stains is a little trickier. Still, many people have great luck using a combination of baking soda and white vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda on the soiled area, then add a couple of teaspoons of the vinegar to make a paste. Work the paste into the stain. As the paste dries, it will clean the raffia by lifting out the stain. Once the paste has dried, brush off the residue. Depending on the stain, it may take several applications to come up with clean raffia.

White vinegar can be helpful for cleaning liquid stains on raffia.
White vinegar can be helpful for cleaning liquid stains on raffia.

In some instances, water will remove a stain that has not has a chance to seep into the fibers. Many cultures have a tradition of cleaning fibers by placing them under running water. You can try this as a way to clean raffia. Just remember to place the item in the sun so that it can dry thoroughly before returning the item to its place. Wet raffia will mold over time and create quite a mess.

In order to clean a piece of raffia, it is important to remember that the natural fibers respond well to natural cleansers. Don’t use harsh chemicals on the stains, or the item will be ruined. Often dusting, airing and using a simple natural past will result in clean raffia that will look great for many years to come.

Raffia may be used to make hats.
Raffia may be used to make hats.

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Discussion Comments

anon345446

How do I clean my woven raffia chair seats?

anon264482

I have a raffia pillow that has mold on it. How should I clean it?

anon87077

I have a raffia rug that is water stained. how do i get the stain out.

kmullrm47

i am disabled.someone made me prayer beads using raffia as the cord. Will they stand the test of time? I intend to wear them in the shower with me because i will use them. i wear them 24/7. if i take them off they will go to the abyss. --kmullrm47

anon27985

Is there any way to prevent raffia from staining products? I'm using raffia hula skirts and was told that they are very likely to stain clothing! Will scotchguard work?

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