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Rodion Kutsaev Unsplash Source: Rodion Kutsaev Unsplash

30 unusual ways to naturally dye your clothes

In today’s zero-waste world, we are more careful about what we release. We constantly look for more natural alternatives and DIY methods to do it.

One practice that a lot of people have adopted is dyeing their clothes. A lot of us get tired of our clothes eventually and we want something new to wear. But a lot of us don’t want to or can’t buy new clothes.

So what’s the next best thing?

Dyeing our clothes! It gives our old clothes a new identity with minimal cost. Shall we get started?

Two quick but important reminders though. First, scouring. Scouring deep cleans the fabric, especially the new ones. This will also ensure that color will be even and help achieve truer color by holding maximum natural dye molecules.

It’s easy but takes two hours to complete. Worth it though.

For cotton fabrics, use a big non-reactive cooking pot. Add a lot of water then add baking soda (2 to 3 tsp per gallon of water) and 1 to 2 tsp of fabric detergent without a lot of additives and unknown chemicals. The more natural it is the better. Add the fabric, turn on the heat and bring it to a simmer. Stir constantly so that scouring is even throughout the fabric. Rinse in cold water when done.

Second, soak your fabric in a fixative to help the set the color and won’t wash off every time you do the laundry. If you’re using berries for your dye, boil and simmer fabric in salt fixative (dissolve 1/2 cup of natural salt in 8 cups of cold water) for an hour. If you’re using other plant-based materials, use vinegar fixative (mix 1 part vinegar with 4 parts cold water). Rinse with cold water when done.

Add the dye to a pot of water, then the fabric and boil for an hour. Turn off the heat once you’ve achieved your desired color. You can opt to let it soak for an hour or overnight. Rinse with cold water.

If you want to use solar dyeing, with no simmering, place in a basin, pot, or jar and top up with the dye water. Let it sit out in the sun for a few days.

Okay, are you ready to dye your clothes now? Here are 30 examples for you to try.