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How to Dye Fabric with Food

vintage handkerchief dyed yellow with natural turmeric fabric dye

Top Foods for Dyeing Fabric

Pretty much any food that you worry about staining clothing while you cook is good for making natural fabric dye, but some definitely work better than others. Here are five foods that are excellent for dyeing your fabrics.

1. Plum skins – Plum dye will turn your fabric a hot pink! You can save the plum innards for making jam or just munch on them while you’re dyeing your fabric.

2. Turmeric – For a vibrant yellow, like in the photo at the top, choose turmeric. It works fast, so keep an eye on your fabric once you dip it!

3. Spinach or sorrel – Looking for a nice shade of green? These green and leafies will do the trick!

4. Beets – When I think of veggies that stain, beets are the first thing that come to mind. They’ll dye your fabric a nice reddish purple.

5. Coffee or tea – Cook up a strong pot of tea or coffee to stain fabrics in shades of brown.

You can also use your natural dyes with more advanced dye techniques like tie dye or batik! Just use your natural dye in place of synthetic dyes, and you’re good to go.

Have you guys made your own food-based natural fabric dye? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
8:14AM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

I'm new to this, so what happens if you dye cotton? And what fabric can I use besides organics, that would still get bright colours?

1:10PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012


9:27PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Nice, thank you. The world needs more sustainable products. Now can someone post a petition to help the Pearl River ...

1:07PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

My daughter(of my heart) will love this..I'm emailing it to her now...thanx so much.... Fun!!

1:12AM PDT on May 29, 2012

Well, if you want a pink blouse then spill Merlot on it and wash it, and voila there's your pink blouse

9:27PM PDT on May 28, 2012

Works for eggs too.

7:50AM PDT on May 28, 2012


8:28PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Thanks for the first step, salt water. I had a huge failure with beets because I didn't have the right mordant and the fabric turned an awful washed out brown.

12:56PM PDT on May 26, 2012


10:38PM PDT on May 24, 2012

I have a blue shirt I spilled mustard on. Looks cool!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Some interesting ideas!

Informative. Thank you for posting.

Interesting article. Thank you for caring and sharing

Good info, thank you


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