Plant dyeing – dye clothes with avocado

Finally, the avocados are ripe, so you can make a decent batch of guacamole. But what about all the shells and stones? You don't have to throw them out right away. The avocado's shell and stone can be used to dye textiles.


During the corona pandemic, it has become a trend to dye clothes with plants. In addition to dyeing with avocado, you can also color with onion skins, spinach and red cabbage. But also with leaves, flowers, berries and nuts you have found out in nature. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the colors in the universe of plant dyeing. So if you have some old fabric or clothing lying around that needs to be given new life, here is a small guide to dyeing with avocado. What color will the avocado be then? When you dye with avocado, the fabric gets the most beautiful old pink color that goes perfectly with our ReCollector sorting box in Ash Rose.

All you need for avocado dyeing

  • A large pot (preferably 7-10 litres)
  • Soy milk or alum (it is used to stain the fabric so that the color lasts better)
  • Avocado peels and stones from 6-10 avocados (the more avocados, the stronger the color – you can easily freeze them and collect a good portion over a longer period of time)
  • Stock vinegar
  • A strainer or tea towel
  • A spoon
  • A bucket or tub
  • A thermometer
  • Fabric, eg. a shirt for dyeing (natural fibers such as wool and silk accept dye very well, but you can also use cotton, linen or viscose)
  • A good deal of patience (the whole process takes a few days)

Preparing avocados

The avocado skins and stones must be completely cleaned - no residues must remain. They must then be left to dry on the window sill. The shells can be advantageously torn into slightly smaller pieces, and the stones cut into cubes. If you can't use that many avocados at once, they can easily be frozen after they have been left to dry. You can color with both the shells and the stones, separately or together. The shells give a slightly browner color, while the stones give the beautiful pink color.


First, the fabric must be stained (for the impatient, this step can be skipped, but the color may not last as well after washing). For pickling, you can use alum or soy milk.

Alum: If you choose alum, take 15g and boil in one liter of water. Cold water must then be poured in until the water is about 30 degrees. The fabric is then put in, and the water is heated to 80-90 degrees. As far as possible, this temperature must be maintained, and the fabric must be stirred along the way, preferably for up to an hour. The substance must then remain in the liquid for a day. The fabric can then be taken up and dried so that it is ready for dyeing.

Soy milk: Pickling with soya milk is a little easier. Depending on the size of the fabric, the fabric must be rinsed in soy milk. For one t-shirt is approx. one liter is a nice amount. It is important that the substance does not absorb the soya milk well and that the liquid is distributed evenly. Therefore, make sure to wring some of the soy milk out of the fabric before hanging it to dry. The fabric should preferably hang to dry for 3-4 days. In the meantime, you can eat a little more avocados!

Now we are finally ready to dye with our avocados. The large pot is filled with water, and then the shells and stones are put in. The water is boiled, and after boiling for an hour, the shells and stones are sieved out. Now they have to be thrown out. After that, the beautiful colored water must now have a small boil. Then you turn off the heat and put the fabric in. It is important that there is not too much fabric in the pan, because then the coloring can become uneven. During the first quarter of an hour, it is also a good idea to stir the pan constantly, so that the fabric properly absorbs the liquid and the color distributes. Then take the pan off the heat.

Now the fabric must be allowed to lie in the pot and enjoy itself while it absorbs color well. About 24-48 hours is plenty. The longer the time, the stronger the color.

Post processing

When the fabric has rested for 1-2 days, it is picked up and twisted a little. Then put it in a water bath with a good splash of vinegar. After that, the worst liquid is squeezed off again, and then it is a good idea to iron the wet fabric a little. This process helps bind the color so it lasts better.

Finally, the fabric is hung to dry, and then it is probably a good idea to wash it once before using it. The colored water can easily be saved and used again and again, but it is a good idea to give it a boil once a day. Otherwise, it is also possible to freeze it for later use. The coloring water can also be used to make colored paper.

For this guide, we have dyed cotton and linen, but especially wool and silk take color well. We have also given new life to a set of old, white bed linen, which has been given a beautiful delicate pink colour.