Most people spend their morning commutes trying to keep their coffee from spilling and staining their clothes. Sometimes, however, it’s fun to dye clothes with coffee. It’s a natural — and effective dy. It’s also easy to dye clothing with coffee. Here’s how.
You’ll need the following:
This will work best with white, or at least light-colored, clothing. Coffee dyes often don’t show up well on darker colors.
You’re going to need to fully submerge the clothing that you’re dying in coffee, so you’ll need to brew a good amount of coffee. If you only have a two-cup French press or don’t want to make several pour-overs, you can easily make a big pot of either instant coffee or cold brew. Both are effective for dying. As you brew your coffee, place it in a large pot.
The strength of your brew will affect how dark the clothing is dyed. A stronger brew will make clothing darker than a lighter one.
(While instant coffee is fine to use for dying clothing, most of the coffee enthusiasts we know have old beans lying around. This is a great use for coffee that’s past its prime.)
With your pot full of brewed coffee, bring the coffee to a boil on the stove. Once the coffee is boiling, turn off the stove. You can put a lid on the pot and leave it on the burner to keep the coffee as hot as possible, but the coffee shouldn’t be boiling while you’re dying your fabric.
Put the clothing you want dyed in the pot of coffee. The clothing should be fully submerged, unless you only want part of it dyed. Once it’s submerged, stir the clothing with a spoon to eliminate any air pockets. All parts of the clothing that you want dyed should be in direct and full contact with the coffee.
Let the clothing steep for a while. The more time you leave it in the coffee, the darker the dye will be.
If you aren’t sure how much you want your clothing dyed, you can pull it out after one hour to see what it looks like. If you want it dyed more, just reheat the coffee and put your clothing back in.
Once you’re happy with the result, rinse off your clothing with cold water until the water coming draining from it is clear. This indicates that the clothing is thoroughly rinsed off.
Promptly dump the coffee out of your pot and wash the pot. Doing so quickly after the dying is done will keep the coffee from staining your pot.
While your clothing is thoroughly dyed, the dye isn’t colorfast. It’ll fade as you wash the clothing. To reduce how much the dye fades, wash your clothing in cold water and with a gentle detergent. Additionally, don’t wash it with whites, as any dye that comes out could stain them.
If you dye clothing with coffee, we’d love to see how it turns out. Send us a picture of you in your coffee-dyed clothing on Instagram.