How to Dye Fabric With Tea Bags

    by Angela LaFollette

    About the Author

    Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.


    If you want to dye cotton fabric naturally, use tea bags. Dyeing fabric with tea gives it a new appearance, especially if the item has become old and faded. Tea-dyed fabric appears light and color-washed instead of opaque like commercially dyed fabric. The natural dye also gives fabric a vintage look and will mask stains, so you don't have to throw away beloved tablecloths, pillowcases and sheets due to staining.

    Things You'll Need

    • Large pot
    • Water
    • 8 Tea bags
    • 1 yard of cotton fabric
    • Bucket

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    Place four cups of water for each yard of fabric in a large pot. Put the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat.

    Boil the water. Add two tea bags per 8 oz. of water in the pot. As 8 oz. equals one cup, you will need eight tea bags for every four cups of water.

    Steep the tea for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the water to turn a dark brown color. Squeeze each of the tea bags carefully to release excess liquid and remove them.

    Pour the tea into a bucket. Place the fabric into the bucket of tea and move it around three or four times to make sure all of the fabric becomes saturated. If you are not sure how the fabric will take the tea dye, first place a small portion of the fabric in the tea to test it.

    Examine the fabric. Once it reaches the desired color, remove it from the bucket. Rinse out the fabric. If it does not appear dark enough, allow it to soak longer. The fabric will appear lighter after it dries. If you want a dark tan color, you may need to soak the fabric overnight.

    Place the dyed fabric in the dryer on a high heat setting. Tumble-dry the item to set the stain.

    • You cannot dye synthetic fabrics with tea bags.

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