How to Dye with Coffee: A Natural Way to Add Color

Coffee is not only an excellent drink that kick-starts your morning, but it can also be used as a natural dye to add color to fabrics, paper, or even your hair. The rich color and natural components in coffee make it an environmentally friendly way to dye your clothes and accessories, without any harsh chemicals or synthetic dyes. This article will guide you through the process of dyeing with coffee, including tips, tricks, and some fun ways to experiment with different color variations.

Getting Started

Before you start dyeing with coffee, it is important to prepare your materials and workspace. Here are some things to consider:

  • Gather your materials: coffee grounds, water, a pot, a spoon, fabric or paper, gloves, and a strainer.
  • Clean your workspace and wear old clothing or an apron to avoid getting stains on your clothes.
  • Prepare your coffee dye by boiling water and adding coffee grounds. Depending on how dark you want the color to be, you can adjust the amount of coffee.
  • Make sure you have enough water to cover the fabric or paper entirely.

Dyeing with Coffee

Now that you are prepared, it is time to start dyeing:

  • Wet your fabric or paper with water before submerging it into the dye. This helps the dye to spread more evenly.
  • Submerge your fabric or paper completely into the dye and stir it continuously for around 30 minutes. You can also leave it in the dye for longer if you want a darker color.
  • Take out the fabric or paper from the dye and rinse it with cold water. You can also add vinegar to the rinsing water to help set the color.
  • Hang or lay flat to dry. Once it is dry, you can wash it on a gentle cycle in the washing machine if necessary.

Tips for Successful Dyeing

Dyeing with coffee can be a fun and rewarding experience, but here are some tips to ensure that you achieve the best results:

  • Experiment with different types of fabric to achieve different shades of color. Natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, will absorb the dye better than synthetic fibers.
  • Don’t expect perfectly even results. The beauty of natural dyeing is the slight variations in color and texture.
  • Adding salt to the dye bath can help create a mottled effect on the fabric.
  • Try adding other natural ingredients such as turmeric, beetroot, or avocado to the dye to create more variation in color.
  • Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands.

Coffee Dye for Your Hair

Not only can you dye your fabric or paper with coffee, but you can also use it to add some color to your hair. Here is how you can do it:

  • Brew a strong pot of coffee and let it cool down.
  • Shampoo your hair and rinse it with the coffee. Make sure to apply it evenly throughout your hair.
  • Wrap your hair in plastic wrap or a shower cap and let it sit for at least an hour or overnight.
  • Rinse your hair with cold water and condition as usual.

Tips for Using Coffee as Hair Dye

While coffee can be a fun and natural way to color your hair, here are some things to consider for best results:

  • It is important to note that the results may not be as dramatic as using synthetic hair dyes.
  • The color will fade over time and with washes.
  • Dark hair may not see as much of a difference as lighter hair.
  • Avoid getting the coffee on your skin or clothes as it can stain.


Using coffee as a natural dye is a fun and eco-friendly way to add some color to your fabrics, papers, or even your hair. With these tips and tricks, you can achieve beautiful and subtle variations of color, all while avoiding harsh chemicals and synthetic dyes. So next time you brew a fresh pot of coffee, consider saving the grounds for a fun dyeing experiment.


Can I dye dark fabrics with coffee?

While coffee can create a beautiful light brown color on natural fabrics, it may not show up on darker colors. You can try using black tea or other natural dyes for darker fabrics.

Will the color fade over time?

Yes, natural dyes tend to fade faster than synthetic dyes. To make the color last longer, you can add a fixative such as vinegar to the dye bath.

Can I drink the coffee after dyeing with it?

No, it is not recommended to drink the coffee after it has been used for dyeing as it may contain chemicals from the fabric or paper.

Can I dye synthetic fabrics with coffee?

While you can try dyeing synthetic fabrics with coffee, the results may not be as successful as with natural fabrics.

Is coffee dye safe for the environment?

Yes, using coffee as a natural dye is a safe and eco-friendly alternative to synthetic dyes, which can be harmful to the environment and the people who produce them.


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