Can You Dye Fabric With Coffee? (Steps & Guide)

Last Updated on October 4, 2023

Have you ever considered using coffee to color fabric? The use of coffee dyeing to give materials a distinctive, natural appearance has grown in popularity with the rise of sustainable and eco-friendly techniques. So, Can You Dye Fabric With Coffee?

Dyeing fabrics have been around for centuries, using various natural materials such as flowers, berries, and even insects. However, coffee has recently gained popularity as a dyeing agent due to its availability and affordability.

Can You Dye Fabric With Coffee
Image Source: Shutterstock, Canva

Coffee might be the perfect solution if you’re looking for an easy and eco-friendly way to dye your fabric. Not only is it a sustainable option, but it also creates a beautiful, earthy hue perfect for various projects. Here, we’ll explore the ins and outs of coffee dyeing, including the materials you’ll need, the steps involved, and some tips to ensure your project succeeds.

Can I use coffee to dye fabric?

Yes, you can use coffee to dye fabric, but it’s most effective on natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, don’t absorb the coffee dye as effectively. Coffee can provide a light to medium brownish hue when used on light-colored fabrics.

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Is coffee dye permanent on clothes?

Coffee dye is not permanent on clothes. Although it may initially stain the fabric, regular washing will cause the color to fade with time. Certain measures, like washing in cold water with a gentle detergent, can help preserve the coffee dye. However, it’s still not completely resistant to fading, especially when washed with whites, as it can potentially stain them.

What color does coffee dye fabric?

What color does coffee dye fabric
Variety in Brown Shades Achieved Through Coffee Ground Dye Extraction on Different Fabrics
Image Source: LowaStateUniversity

Coffee can dye fabric to various shades of tan and brown. The specific color achieved depends on the coffee concentration, the soaking duration, and the fabric type used. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Light Tan: A few minutes of soaking the fabric in coffee will be sufficient for a very light tan color.
  • Dark Tan: To achieve a darker tan shade, allow the fabric to soak in the coffee dye for approximately 15-30 minutes or even overnight.
  • Deep Brown: You’ll need strong, dark roast coffee and a longer soaking time for a deep brown color. Let the fabric soak in the coffee dye for several hours, periodically checking the color until it reaches the desired shade of brown.

Remember to lift the fabric out of the coffee dye periodically to check the color, as the longer it soaks, the darker the result will be.

Is coffee a good natural dye?

Coffee can be considered a good natural dye for achieving an aged and vintage ecru/beige color on fabric. While it may not produce a strong chocolate brown color, it can create a soft and subtle hue, giving fabrics a unique and antiqued effect.

So, if you’re looking for a natural dye that imparts a vintage appeal, coffee can be a suitable choice.

Does coffee dye last?

When it comes to dyeing fabric with coffee, the longevity of the color will vary. Coffee is considered a natural dye, and while it can produce beautiful earthy tones on fabrics, it may not be as colorfast as synthetic dyes.

Coffee dye tends to be less permanent and may fade with washing and light exposure. To enhance the colorfastness of coffee-dyed fabric, you can use natural mordants like alum, which helps the dye bond better to the fibers and improve its longevity.

To maintain the color, it is advisable to wash coffee-dyed fabric separately or with like colors and avoid using harsh detergents or bleach. Keep in mind that repeated washing will gradually fade the color, but you can always re-dye the fabric with coffee if desired.

While coffee dye can create beautiful results, it may not be as long-lasting as synthetic dyes specifically formulated for fabric.

Does coffee make clothes black?

While coffee and tea can be used as natural dyes, it’s important to note that they typically produce shades of brown rather than black. The dark color of coffee or tea can help enhance and deepen the existing black dye on dark clothes, making them appear darker and more intense.

However, the result will still be a dark brown hue rather than a true black. To achieve an actual black color, it is recommended to use a specific black fabric dye designed for that purpose.

Can you dye fabric with coffee – How to Do it?

Dye Fabric With Coffee

Yes! You can dye fabric with coffee. To dye fabric with coffee, first clean and soak the fabric in water. Simmer coffee in water for an hour, then add the fabric and let it simmer for an hour. Rinse, dry, iron while damp to set the dye, wash again, and dry before use.

Below we have full process in in details.

Can you dye fabric with coffee
Image Source: Apartment Therapy

Dyeing fabric with coffee is a fun and eco-friendly way to give your old clothes a new lease on life. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Coffee (ground coffee or instant coffee granules)
  • Fabric (cotton, linen, or silk works best)
  • Large pot
  • Nut milk bag or similar (optional)
  • Spoon
  • Elastic bands (for creating patterns)
  • Water
  • Stove or hot plate

Step 1: Prepare the Fabric

Dye Fabric With Coffee

Firstly, ensure that the fabric you’re planning to dye is clean. Give it a thorough wash and allow it to dry. You can also scour the fabric for a more in-depth dye process. Once clean, soak the fabric in water for a couple of hours to ensure it’s fully saturated. This helps the dye to be absorbed evenly into the fibers.

Step 2: Prepare the Dye Bath

Add your coffee to the nut milk bag (if using) and place it in your pot. Fill the pot about a third of the way with water, then place it on a gentle heat. Allow the coffee to simmer for about an hour or until the color is as dark as you want it. Remember to keep the heat low to avoid burning the coffee, which can affect the color of the dye.

Step 3: Add the Fabric to the Dye

Dye Fabric With Coffee

Once your coffee dye is ready, gently add your pre-soaked fabric to the pot. Stir the fabric in the pot to ensure even absorption of the dye. If you plan to create patterns on your fabric, you can tie sections with elastic bands before adding them to the dye bath.

Step 4: Simmer the Fabric

Leave the fabric in the dye bath to simmer for about an hour or longer if you desire a darker color. Keep the heat low and stir occasionally to ensure even dyeing.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry the Fabric

Dye Fabric With Coffee

After dyeing, remove the fabric from the dye bath and rinse it thoroughly in warm water. Once the water runs clear, squeeze out the excess water and hang the fabric to dry.

Step 6: Set the Dye

Iron the fabric while it’s still a bit damp to set the dye. This helps make the color fast so it won’t wash out easily.

Step 7: Final Wash

Dye Fabric With Coffee

After the fabric is dry, give it a final wash to remove any remaining dye. Then, let it dry once more before using or wearing it.

Remember, the color will likely be a few shades lighter once the fabric is dry, so don’t be alarmed if it seems very dark while it’s wet. Experiment with different types of fabric and amounts of coffee to achieve different shades.

Can you dye cotton with coffee?

Yes, you can dye cotton with coffee. The resulting color varies based on the amount of coffee grounds used, resulting in shades of brown. For successful dye absorption, it’s important to use natural fiber fabrics like cotton, linen, or wool.

Video: How to Naturally Dye Fabric With Coffee

Dip into the world of natural dyeing with Kaylee from BillyNou! Learn how to give your fabric a unique, earthy tone using just coffee in this insightful tutorial. A perfect introduction to natural dyeing – it’s as simple as brewing your morning cup!

Which dye is better, tea or coffee?

Coffee tends to give a browner color when used as a dye compared to tea. Tea-dyed material usually results in a dirty brown color. The choice between using tea or coffee as a dye depends on your desired effect on your fabric.

Coffee would be a better option if you prefer a more brown shade. However, consider using tea instead if you prefer a different tone or hue. Ultimately, the decision between tea and coffee as dyes depends on personal preference and the desired outcome for the fabric.

What coffee to use to dye?  

You can use both spent coffee grounds and ground coffee when dyeing fabric with coffee. In the provided information, the person used ground coffee that was past its expiration date for their experiment. This suggests that using expired ground coffee is acceptable for dyeing purposes. Whether you use fresh or expired coffee, both can yield desirable results.

Will coffee stain dark clothes?

Yes, coffee can stain dark clothes due to the presence of tannins. Tannins are compounds found in coffee, as well as in red wine and chocolate, and they can bind to fabric and create dark stains.

However, it’s important to note that tannins bind loosely to fabric, meaning they can be removed promptly. Acting quickly and following proper stain removal techniques can help prevent a stubborn stain from setting in.


Enjoy your newly dyed fabric, and remember that this process can be used on clothes, bed linens, tablecloths, and more!

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