How to dye fabric with instant coffee

instant coffee image by Aleksandr Lobanov from

Whether you are crafting, decorating, reupholstering or looking to spice up your wardrobe, you may want to consider using instant coffee as a dye. Dying fabric with instant coffee is both inexpensive and non-toxic. Natural fibres like cotton, muslin and linen that are white or off-white in colour are ideal for coffee dyes. Coffee turns fabric a rich shade of brown and often makes the fabric look vintage or earthy.

Wash and dry the fabric that you are going to stain. This will remove any stains, dirt and debris. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets, and wash as you normally would, with regular washing powder only.

Fill the basin you are using halfway with boiling water. The basin should be large enough to submerge your fabric. For larger pieces of fabric, this may mean using the bathtub. Caution should be used when dying with coffee, because it may stain the surface of the basin along with the fabric.

Add instant coffee to the basin of boiling water. There is no set amount of coffee you need to add. The more coffee you add, the darker the fabric will become. It is best to start with less and add more during the process rather than adding too much at once. Stir the desired amount of coffee into the water until it has dissolved.

Submerge the fabric in the coffee-filled basin. Stir with the spoon and push down the fabric so that it is completely saturated and stays under water.

Allow the fabric to soak in the coffee for at least one hour. After an hour check the fabric. If it has reached the desired colour remove it from the dye. If the colour is not yet dark enough, leave the fabric in the dye and check it frequently.

Rinse the fabric in cold water. If the fabric smells like coffee, you can hand wash it with a mild detergent. That being said, washing it will likely lighten the colour a shade or two.

Put the fabric in the dryer and allow it to dry completely before using.

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