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Our artisan-made African baskets

can be cleaned & reshaped

over & over again.

Baskets made with natural materials are made to last. Our baskets are sturdy and easy to care for! With these simple care tips, we hope your basket becomes an heirloom item that you treasure for years. 

A few tips:

  • Use cool water, not warm or hot, so the colors of your basket don't bleed.
  • Take care when reshaping a basket—basket splinters are not fun, as everyone at our warehouse knows! You may find it helpful to wear gardening gloves to protect your hands.

Jump to instructions for:

Ghanaian Bolga Baskets, Hats, & Bassinets

Tanzanian Iringa & Maila Baskets

Kenyan Sisal Baskets

Senegalese Baskets

Bolga Baskets

Care & Reshaping of Ghanaian Bolga Baskets

Bolga baskets are handmade in Ghana from natural grass, called veta vera or elephant grass. The grass may be dyed colorfully, and the baskets may feature leather handles. These instructions also apply to Ghanaian grass sun hats and Ghanaian baby bassinet baskets.

When you rinse or reshape your basket or hat, always use cold water to prevent dye from bleeding.

  1. Wet the item thoroughly with cold water, using a hose, faucet, or spray bottle. Take care to keep any leather elements dry.
  2. Let the basket sit for a few minutes so the natural fibers can absorb water and become more pliable.
  3. Then, press and smooth the item to your desired shape.
  4. Holding the basket by the handle, shake out the excess water.
  5. Place the item in a warm place with good airflow to dry. Do not place wet items on a surface where dye transfer would be a problem, or protect your surfaces with a material like cardboard until the basket is fully dry.

This process can be repeated as often as needed.

iringa baskets

Care & Reshaping of Tanzanian Iringa or Maila Baskets

Iringa baskets are woven from tough milulu reeds.

When you rinse or reshape your basket, always use cold water to prevent dye from bleeding.

  1. Wet the reeds by either spraying creased areas lightly with a spray bottle, or saturating the entire basket if a more thorough reshaping is needed.
  2. Let the basket sit for a few minutes so the natural fibers can absorb water and become more pliable.
  3. Shake out excess water if you have fully saturated the basket.
  4. Then, press and mold the basket to your desired shape.
  5. Place the basket in a warm place with good airflow to dry. Do not place wet items on a surface where dye transfer would be a problem, or protect your surfaces (e.g., with cardboard) until fully dry.
  6. For a thorough reshaping, when the entire basket is wet, you may wish to stuff the basket full with crumpled newspaper as it dries, to help it maintain the desired shape.

This process can be repeated as often as needed.

SISAL BASKETS

Care & Reshaping of Kenyan Sisal Baskets

Sisal is a tough, spiky plant that produces a wonderfully durable fiber.

When you rinse or reshape your basket, always use cold water to prevent dye from bleeding.

  1. Wet the basket, either spraying creased areas lightly with a spray bottle, or saturating the entire basket if a more thorough reshaping is needed.
  2. Let the basket sit for a few minutes so the natural fibers can absorb water and become more pliable.
  3. Shake out the excess water if you have fully saturated the basket.
  4. Then, press and mold the basket to your desired shape.
  5. Place the basket in a warm place with good airflow to dry. Do not place wet items on a surface where dye transfer would be a problem, or protect your surface with cardboard.
  6. For a thorough reshaping, when the entire basket is wet, you may wish to stuff the basket full with crumpled newspaper as it dries, to help it maintain the desired shape.

This process can be repeated as often as needed.

senegal baskets

Care & Reshaping of Senegal Baskets

Senegalese baskets are woven from thick coils of cattail grass, held together with upcycled plastic strips. Senegalese baskets are not reshaped the way our other baskets are; the thick coils hold their form well and should not need the same kind of reshaping.

To lightly clean a Senegal basket, simply wipe with a damp cloth to clean the plastic.

To reshape a Senegal basket, apply gentle pressure to achieve the desired shape. For example, a large hamper may start to lean slightly over time; you can reshape it by laying the basket on its side, removing the lid, and gently pressing with both hands.

We do not recommend wetting or saturating your Senegalese basket. The thick coils of grass are likely to mold before they fully dry.

Email us at info@swahilimodern.com if you need advice, and feel free to send us a photo of your basket!

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