Staining or dying textiles with natural products such as tea is an inexpensive, non-toxic method for altering cloth. It’s an easy way to create a vintage look, or to disguise those badly stained kitchen towels; not to mention, the process smells a whole lot better than using commercial dyes! If you are looking for an inexpensive, natural dye for clothing or any fabric, try tea dyeing:


Things you need:

  • Textile to be dyed; either silk or cotton
  • Black tea
  • Boiling hot water
  • A bowl


Begin boiling water in a pot on the stove. When your water begins to boil, carefully pour this water into tub. Keep adding boiling water to tub until it has enough water to completely cover your fabric. Drop tea bags into the boiling water to steep for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until your water is entirely dark brown. Carefully remove tea bags using tongs. Using tongs, carefully add your fabric to the hot tea and make sure you completely submerge the fabric. Swish fabric around to remove folds or air-pockets. Allow fabric to soak in the hot tea for 1-2 hours, depending on the amount of fabric you are dying and your desired colour (you can’t really go wrong here; just use your sight to gauge the colouring). Stir occasionally to make sure no folds or air-pockets have formed. Remove fabric after 1-2 hours and wring it to remove excess water. Now dip the fabric in cold water for 30 minutes. The cold water helps the colour set into the fabric. After you are done with this, Air-dry or use a dryer to completely dry your fabric. Use clothespins, if desired, to hang and dry your fabric outside or in your shower. Once your fabric is completely dry, you may use it however you’d like.

Caution: For all future washes, wash the fabric in cold water to maintain its colour.

Related Articles