How do I clean a Native American Mandela?


I have been entrusted with a home with several Native American Mandella's on the wall. They are VERY dusty, the acrylic wool on the bottom & sides are particularly dirty. I read an entry from 2016 about a blow dryer & cornmeal in a bag, but do not want to invite bugs. Isn't there a more 'updated' method? (I had heard of salt or baking soda in a bag before 2016.) Help?

  13 answers
  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Nov 07, 2021

    Hello. Have you considered taking the Mandela’s outside and using a cool blow dryer to dislodge any dust or debris loose? That might be a gentle alternative to consider.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Nov 07, 2021

    Outside I would use a dry microfiber cloth or a duster, then try a slightly damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt. If you want to clean it further, use warm water and a small amount of dish soap on a microfiber cloth if the first 2 steps are well tolerated.

    Since there are many variations in size and materials, it is hard to know what your Mandelas are composed of other than the acrylic wool you mentioned. If they are clean enough with the first 3 steps, great! If you want to go further, the acrylic wool should be able to be cleaned with tepid water and a mild wool soap, like Woolite. Rinse with clear water.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 07, 2021

    Use a small soft paint brush to gently wipe the dust off. Then follow up with compressed air to blow the dust away. Too much pressure could break a quill.

  • You could try salt in a bag and then shake it off outside.

  • Deb K Deb K on Nov 07, 2021

    Hi Mary, hope these help you out,

    Cleaning native american mandalas

  • Janice Janice on Nov 07, 2021

    Hi Mary, Personally, I would contact an art museum to get advice about caring for them. You may also be interested to see the information you get when you place the words "native american mandela" into the search box next to the little blue home on the home page of this site. Good information!

  • Glenna Nice Glenna Nice on Nov 07, 2021

    Yes! We have several of these passed down through our family and they do get very dust bunny laden. It seems the dust and hair in the house gravitates to them. What I do is put the nozzle on my husbands air compressor and in small controlled spurts blow out any heavy dust. Also you can use computer keyboard dusters. If they are still very dusty, you can leave them hang on the wall, get a tennis racket or badminton racket, and either a shop vac with 2 small holes drilled in the extension tube to reduce the crazy suction, or just the hose from an upright vacuum. This may sound crazy but it works great on mandalas, even curtains and sheers. .. First make sure there are no loose pieces that may get sucked into the vacuum, if so use blue painters tape to secure the small pieces before turning on the vacuum. It will not damage the wool, wall, leather, or leave residue. Next place the tennis racket on top of the mandala pushing it firmly against the wall. Now you can vacuum without the worry of anything being sucked into the vacuum or destroying the shape of the wool or string. Newer get them wet. Wool will shrink and loose shape, and if it has been dyed the color will leach out. Native american crafts use natural dyes and pigments, which are water soluble. If you still have gunk it has probably collected oil (usually from frying foods it gets in the air) and the dust and dirt has stuck to it. Or if its yellow it could be tobacco tar. This is tricky and the only thing i have found to work in that situation is a good dry shampoo spray. Now, this is usually a white powdery spray that absorbs oils in hair, and it works great on wool... but if you have dyed wool, the white powder spray will dull the color. Don't be discouraged though, simply gently rub the wool between your fingers after the shampoo has dried completely and blow off with a can of air. Really hope this helps. If you need any more help, my contact info is on my "work in progress" website,


  • It would be best to get an advice from an art museum in taking care of them.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 08, 2021

    How about using a toothbrush?

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Nov 08, 2021

    I would use canned air to remove the dust. If you want to disinfect, you could spray with dilluted OdoBan.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Nov 09, 2021

    is it tile, what is it.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Nov 13, 2021

    For anyone not familiar with a Native American mandala , here are two examples: