Can You Dye Fabric With Turmeric? – (DIY Methods)

Last Updated on August 5, 2023

Hi seamstress! Welcome to TheSewingStuffs craft corner, where we dabble with color and fabric to create excellent, vibrant results. Earlier, we tried fabric dyeing with Coffee, Tea, Hair Dye, etc. Also, we answered can you do this on Polyester, Polyamide, or Can you dye fabric to make it darker than the current color.

Today, we’ll dive into an exciting project of creating shades of yellow, all from a single ingredient commonly found in every household – turmeric! 

Can You Dye Fabric With Turmeric
Image Source: FiberArtsy, Canva

Using this remarkable natural colorant, we’ll walk you through a short DIY process that will yield a beautiful color palette and make for a fun and educational home experiment. 

Can you dye fabric with turmeric?

Yes, you can dye fabric with turmeric. Imagine turning your plain, natural fabrics into richly dyed masterpieces with varying hues, from a bright sunny lemon yellow to a deep tomato red, all from your kitchen’s spice rack!

Grab your stirring spoons, don your gloves, and ensure you have some water, baking soda, detergent, and turmeric ready. Let’s get started!

How to Dye Fabric with Turmeric: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turmeric, a common household spice, is a powerful natural dye that can color your fabric in varying shades of yellow and even a unique red tone. Here, in this guide, you’ll learn how to dye fabric with turmeric to create three different tones.

Tools and Ingredients

  1. Turmeric
  2. Baking soda
  3. Detergent powder
  4. Water
  5. Stirring spoons
  6. Gloves
  7. A piece of natural fabric (such as silk, cotton, or linen) – 100% pure.


  • Prepare Your Fabric: Begin by ensuring that your fabric is completely wet. This prevents uneven color patches from forming when the dye is applied.
  • Set up Your Bowls: You will need 3 bowls for this activity.
  • Bowl 1 – Lemon Yellow: Mix some turmeric with water in the first bowl. Stir the solution properly until the turmeric is completely dissolved.
  • Bowl 2 – Mustard Yellow: Add turmeric and baking soda to the second bowl, then water. This combination should create a darker, mustard-yellow color.
  • Bowl 3 – Tomato Red: Mix turmeric with your detergent powder in the third bowl, then add water. This should give you a deep red solution.
  • Immerse Your Fabric Swatches: Divide your wet fabric into 3 swatches and immerse each in one of the bowls. Ensure that the solution fully covers the fabric. Let the fabric swatches stay immersed for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Observe the Colors: After the 25 minutes are up, remove each fabric swatch from its solution and observe the color. The first swatch should be a bright lemon yellow. The second is a deeper mustard yellow, and the third swatch should be a deep wine-red color.
  • Rinse and Dry: Rinse each swatch and observe the final color. After rinsing, the deep wine red should have toned down to an orangish tomato red. Let the swatches dry to see the final set color.
  • Repeat if Necessary: If the color starts to bleed or fade from the fabric, don’t worry. Just re-dye it following the same steps.

Important Note

Keep in mind that the colors will bleed as these are natural dyes. Also, wearing turmeric-dyed fabric can be beneficial due to the healing properties of turmeric.

How long does turmeric dye last?

The longevity of turmeric dye on fabric can vary quite a bit, largely due to its nature as a ‘fugitive dye.’ This means that the dye doesn’t chemically bond with the fibers and infiltrate their structure, causing it to fade more quickly than other dyes.

In direct sunlight, the vibrant color imparted by turmeric can start to fade in as little as one day. In more favorable conditions, such as when the dyed fabric is kept out of direct sunlight and washed gently, the color can last up to 8 months.

How long does it take to dye fabric with turmeric?

The total time to dye fabric with turmeric can vary, but generally, you should allow the turmeric dye to simmer for at least 30-60 minutes to develop fully. Once the dye is ready and your fabric has been prepared with a mordant, you can then immerse your fabric in the dye. The fabric should sit in the dye for at least 15-30 minutes.

dye fabric with turmeric
Image Source: ScienceDirect

However, leaving it in longer can result in a deeper color. If you prefer, you can keep the turmeric dye on the stove on low heat the entire time the fabric is soaking. Therefore, the total process can take anywhere from about 45 minutes to over an hour and a half, depending on how deep you want the color to be.

Is turmeric a permanent dye?

No, turmeric is not a permanent dye. It is classified as a fugitive dye, meaning its color tends to fade quickly despite any measures taken to set it, such as mordanting.

Exposure to sunlight and washing can cause the color derived from turmeric to fade and run out rapidly. It’s important to note this if you plan to use turmeric dye for any fabric that will be frequently washed or exposed to sunlight.

How much turmeric do I use to dye fabric?

The amount of turmeric you need to use to dye fabric depends on the density of the yellow color you desire. You should add 1/4 to 3/4 cups of turmeric to the dye bath. The more turmeric you use, the deeper the yellow color will be.

After adding the turmeric, simmer the solution for about 20-30 minutes. Submerge your fabric in this solution, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for approximately 1 hour. This process will allow the dye to penetrate the fabric and fully give you a vibrant color.

FAQs on Dyeing Fabric with Turmeric

To further help, here are some answers to questions you may have about Dyeing Fabric with turmeric.

Can I use any fabric for this process?

Using natural, 100% pure fabric such as silk, cotton, or linen is advisable for the best results.

Will the color bleed or fade?

Yes, as these are natural colors, they will bleed. If this happens, you can re-dye the fabric.

Can turmeric dye harm my skin?

Not at all. In fact, turmeric has several beneficial properties for your skin.

Can I use different amounts of turmeric to achieve different shades?

Yes, you can experiment with the amounts of turmeric and other ingredients to achieve various tones and shades.

How long should I keep the fabric immersed in the solution?

The fabric swatches should be kept immersed in the solution for about 20 to 25 minutes. With this guide, you can experiment with natural dyes at home and give your fabrics a beautiful, vibrant makeover!

Can I dye synthetic fabrics with turmeric?

Turmeric dye works best on natural fibers like cotton, silk, and linen. While it can stain synthetic fibers, the color may need to be more vibrant and permanent.

How do I set the color to prevent it from bleeding?

Natural dyes like turmeric often bleed. You can rinse the dyed fabric in cold water until the water runs clear to help set the color. However, even after this, some color may still bleed during the first few washes.

How do I care for fabric dyed with turmeric?

Fabric dyed with turmeric should be washed separately from another laundry, at least for the first few washes, to prevent the dye from bleeding onto other fabrics. It’s best to wash it in cold water and air dry if possible.

Can I use other spices to dye fabric?

Yes, besides turmeric, you can use other natural substances to dye fabric, such as beetroot for a pink color, spinach for green, or onion skins for a golden brown.

Will the turmeric smell remain on the fabric?

Some scents may linger initially but should fade after a few washes.

Can I use this method to tie-dye my clothes?

Absolutely! You can use this method to create unique tie-dye effects on your clothes. Just remember to wet your fabric first and consider tying it with rubber bands or string before immersing it in the dye.

Will the turmeric dye stain my bowls or containers?

Turmeric can stain plastic bowls and containers. Using glass or stainless steel bowls when dyeing fabric with turmeric is recommended.

How can I get darker shades with turmeric?

The longer you leave the fabric in the dye, the darker the color will become. You can also experiment with adding more turmeric or using less water for a darker shade.

Video: Natural Dyes – Using Turmeric to Dye Fabric

Embrace eco-friendly fashion with Amandeep Narula as she unveils the magic of Natural Dyes using Turmeric! In an effort to combat pollution, she takes a step back to traditional methods, teaching us how to create three vibrant shades from an ingredient found in every kitchen – turmeric! Ready to color your fabrics the natural way?


And that’s it, folks! a simple, natural, and fun way to dye your fabric using turmeric and some everyday household items. Yes, these natural colors may bleed with time, but don’t let that deter you. The beauty of these natural dyes lies in their impermanence, their organic appeal, and the opportunity to rediscover and recreate the process. Remember, it’s about the journey as much as the final product.

These natural colors are superior to chemical dyes in more ways than one. They’re environmentally friendly, and when it comes to turmeric, it’s not just about the beautiful shades it creates. It also infuses your fabric with its healing properties and benefits. So each time you don a garment dyed with turmeric, you also wear a bit of nature’s kindness!

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