How to Dye Clothes With Tea

tea bags and mint leaves image by Yekaterina Choupova from

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot
  • Tea bags
  • Wood spoon
  • Iron (optional)

Tea does not dye every type of fabric evenly and with good results. Before deciding to tea dye a piece of clothing, make sure it is made of a natural fabric, such as cotton, linen or muslin. Still, even when tea dyeing clothes made from natural fabrics, every piece will differ in shade when the process is completed. Wash your tea dyed clothing by hand, in a mild detergent, after the dyeing process. Many commercial laundry detergents are created to remove stains, such as tea, leaving the fabric faded.

Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot. Use a ceramic, stainless steel or glass container. Some metals will alter the chemical makeup of the tea. Remove the pot from the heat. Add 8 tea bags. Add more tea bags if you prefer a darker dye. Leave the tea bags in the hot water for 5 minutes.

Remove the tea bags. Place the garment in the tea water. Use a wooden spoon to completely saturate the piece of clothing. Stir the clothing around for several minutes. This will make sure the tea dyes the fabric evenly.

Take the clothing piece out of the pot, when it is a bit darker than you would like the final product.

Rinse the clothing under cold running water until the water is clear as it exits the bottom of the fabric. If you would like the item darker, just place it back in the pot for a longer period and then rinse.

Dry the clothing in the dryer, if it has been preshrunk. Otherwise, air dry the article and then press it with a hot iron to set the dye.


  • If your clothing turns darker than you like, simple wash it with a stain fighting detergent. This will take out most, if not all, of the tea dye and you can try again. Use an additional tea bag for every cup of water. Add more tea and water for several pieces of clothing.


About the Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.

Photo Credits

  • tea bags and mint leaves image by Yekaterina Choupova from