How to dye fabric with tea

Tips for cheaply dying your fabric using tea

Have you ever been disappointed because you spilled tea on your favorite shirt and now the stain won’t come out? This will tell you that tea is a very easy way to dye fabrics in different hues of tan and brown. It is also a very cheap method of dying fabrics. The result is that you have a very unique color of clothing that you won’t be able to buy in a store.

You do need to use tea bags for dying fabric with tea rather than tea leaves and you can experiment until you get just the right shade that you want for your fabric.


Step 1

Boil water and soak the tea bags

Bring three or four cups of water to boil and pour it into a large pot. Put in the same number of tea bags and let them steep out. If you wish you can use a spoon to push down on the tea bags to make sure all the tea seeps into the water.

Use a light colored pot so that you can be sure of the color of the water. You can also test the water from time to time to make sure that it is getting darker.

Step 2

Soak the item of clothing in water

Place the item of clothing that you want to dye with tea into a large container and add enough water so that the item is completely submerged.

Add the tea water slowly and stir it around in the water so that you are moving around the clothing as well. After you have all the tea water poured in, keep stirring the item of clothing through the water taking note of the shade of color that it is turning. If it is not dark enough to your liking, you can boil more water and add a larger number of tea bags and then add this to the water.

Step 3

Remove and rinse

When you are certain of the color and that the whole fabric has been dyed with the tea, remove it from the container. Rinse it under clear water until you don’t see any trace of the tea coming from the fabric.

Step 4

Dry the fabric

Put the dyed fabric in the dryer or hang it on the clothesline to dry.

When it dries it make be a lighter color, but it doesn’t take much effort to dye it once more to make it darker.

Things Needed
• several cups of boiling water
• an equal number of tea bags
• container for dying the fabric
• fabric to dye

Tips & Warnings
• If you want to get a good idea of what the result will be, dye a small swatch of fabric of the same color with tea before you use an item of clothing.
• If you are not sure how dark you want the fabric to be when it is dyed, start with a weak tea solution and gradually make it stronger until you have the desired color.
• Make sure that all of the fabric receives the dye. If not you will have patches of undyed material to contend with.


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