How to naturally dye clothes – from the skins of avocados to water used to soak old copper coins

In the world of fast fashion, it’s often easy to ignore old clothes that sit in your drawers and snap up brand new versions instead. 

However, Ireland-based online magazine MetDaan Fashion has come up 11 DIY home dyes – using ingredients you might have in your cupboard or fridge – that promise to breathe new life into tired garments.

The expert tips help people dye clothes using natural resources, including drawing out colours from herbs, spices and berries to get a hue that sticks to clothes. 

Here’s how to do it:  

COPPER COINS FOR BLUE

Soaking copper pennies or cents in water releases a blue dye which can be poured over clothing to transform it.

Once added to the coins, the water will begin to turn blue and leaving them in there for as long as week can create a brighter colour. 

Once the water turns a deep blue colour, clothes can be left to soak in the liquid before rinsing it off when you’ve achieved your desired hue.  

Soak a large collection of pennies in water will release a blue substance into the water and create a blue dye

Pouring the blue liquid over the clothes helping spruce it up

Soaking a large collection of pennies in water will release a blue substance into the water and creates a dye which can be poured over clothes 

AVOCADO SKINS FOR RED

Instead of throwing away your avocado scraps, you can make a beautiful red dye for your clothes. 

First remove all the flesh and rub the stones with a damp cloth then boil the leftovers in a pan.

Once the red dye has been released, dunk your clothes into the mixture until you achieve your desired colour and rinse it in cool water before hanging to dry. 

Save your avocado scraps and use them to make clothes dye

Once boiled in water, the leftovers will release a red substance, making a perfect reddish dye

Once boiled in water, avocado leftovers will release a red substance, making a perfect reddish dye

PURPLE GRAPES FOR PURPLE 

Place a bunch of purple grapes inside a pair of old tights and pour boiling water over them in a bowl or tub. 

The pigment from the grapes will be drawn out and create a purple clothes dye. 

Leave the clothing in the mixture overnight and wake up to find your rejuvenated clothes.  

Place a bunch of grapes inside a pair of tights

Pouring boiling water over the grapes releases the pigment from the skin

Create natural purple dye by placing purple grapes inside some tights and pouring boiling water of it

ROSEMARY SPRIGS FOR YELLOW 

Put your clothes in need of a makeover into a saucepan with some sprigs of the herb rosemary.

Once the mixture begins boiling, a yellow substance will begin to seep into the boiling water and dye the clothes. 

Clothes should be left in the liquid for at least 45 minutes to give a yellow tinge.  

Place your item of clothing in a saucepan with some rosemary

Pour boiling water of the rosemary and clothes to dye it yellow

Boiling clothes in a saucepan with some rosemary sprigs will turn the fabric yellow and give it a new look

SPINACH FOR TURQUOISE 

As well being a good source of iron, spinach can also be used at home as a DIY hack to turn clothes turquoise. 

Simply boil clothes in some water with spinach leaves in for one hour and let the colour be drawn out. 

Once your timer goes off, turn the heat off, let it cool and strain it well.  

Place the clothing in a saucepan and cover it with boiling water before adding spinach

The spinach will wilt and release a turqoise dye into the water and onto the clothes

Adding a some spinach leaves placed in boiling water will turn items of clothing turquoise

RED CABBAGE FOR PURPLE 

Red cabbage can transform your clothes to not just purple but pink and blue. By simply adding warm water, clothes will be tinged purple. 

Throw in some vinegar too and they will turn hot pink or if you’re looking to make your clothes blue, add baking soda to the water. 

In just half an hour your dye will have set in to your clothes and they will be transformed to a brand new wardrobe staple. 

Red cabbage can be used to dye clothes three different colours

By simply adding warm water clothes will turn a shade of purple

Red cabbage can be used to create three different colour dyes suitable for transforming clothes

After creating the purple dye, adding some vinegar creates a hot pink colour

And by adding baking soda, the purple is transformed to blue

Baking soda and vinegar can be added to the water to create hot pink and a deep blue too

TURMERIC FOR BRIGHT YELLOW 

Mixing together a spoonful of the ground spice turmeric, some water and baking soda will create a bright orange liquid. 

The easy natural dyeing process is perfect for turning your favourite discoloured white t-shirt yellow. 

Leave your clothes in need of a spruce up in the yellow water for at least three hours or up to a day depending on how yellow you want to make it. 

Adding a spoonful of tumeric to clothes can help dye it a different colour

By adding baking soda to the tumeric water, a red dye is made

Using some tumeric and baking soda it is possible to create a red dye perfect for rejuvenating clothes 

EUCALYPTUS LEAVES FOR ORANGE 

Removing the leaves from a eucalyptus plant and covering them in boiling water will release tannins – making an orange pigment.

In order to create your own deep red dye, boil the leaves for a few minutes and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 50 minutes. 

To then make the ultimate red garment, leave it to simmer in the water for a further 50 minutes.  

Eucalyptus leaves will release taninis when covered in boiling water

Adding the water creates a red watery liquid perfect for dying clothes

Eucalyptus leaves will release taninns when covered in boiling water, turning clothes into a deep red colour 

COFFEE FOR INVIGORATING JEAN COLOUR 

If your jeans have faded over time, leaving them to soak in coffee for half an hour can give them a much needed pick-me-up. 

As well as perking you up in the morning, coffee can also perk up jeans – with the darker the roast the better the finish. 

Once your favourite pair have been soaked for 30 minutes, rinse them off before placing them on a delicate cycle in your washing machine.  

Bring your faded jeans back to life by sitting them in coffee for 30 minutes before putting them in the wash

Bring your faded jeans back to life by sitting them in coffee for 30 minutes before putting them in the wash

BLACKBERRIES FOR DEEP RED 

Crushing some blackberries and adding some water will release the colour from the fruit, making the perfect bottle of spray dark red dye.

Combining the blackberries and water and bringing it to a a low simmer for 20-30 minutes – ensuring it does not boil over or overheat – will make the deep red dye. 

Making sure to stir it every so often, allow the clothes to sit in the water for 1-2 hours or even overnight.  

Crushing blackberries released a vibrant dye from the skin

Adding the mushed up berries to water makes it perfect for spray painting clothes

Adding mushed-up blackberries to water is perfect for spray painting clothes

WOOD CHIPS FOR PURPLE 

Cut a plastic bottle in half and create a makeshift funnel, and it’s possible to dye clothes purple. 

As with many of the other DIY hacks, simply adding hot water will create the perfect dye. 

Let it sit in the water mixture for at least two hours and watch as your dull T-shirt becomes a purple beauty. 

Cut a plastic bottle in half to create the funnel and add logwood

Pouring hot water over the wood released the colours and creates a purple dye

By creating a makeshift funnel at home, people are able to use the colours in logwood to create the perfect purple dye by simply covering it in hot water

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