How To Easily Restore Stained Baby Clothes using Natural Dyes

It’s Official!  The Cirque de Sole of baby food is performing in my kitchen.  Sweet potato and avocado soar through the air landing ever so gracefully on my baby’s head.  What a show.  Baby clothes go through some tough times.  There are only so many stain removal treatments you can try before you are stuck with a forever smudged garment that will no longer flatter your little one.  However, rather than tossing out the soiled duds, give them a makeover using natural dyes from fruits and vegetables!

White Onesies No More

As you sort through your laundry you may notice a few of your baby’s lightly colored onesies have accumulate a few splotches over time.  Despite your best efforts, these stains will not go.  Therefore, its time to whip up some natural dyes and restore those baby outfits to their former glory.

Get ready to Make a Marvelous Mess

You will need a few odds and ends for this project.  Lets set the stage for this natural tie dying adventure.

Materials

Clothing
Fruits, Herbs or Vegetables
Salt
Vinegar
Water
Rubber Bands

NATURAL DYES MATERIAL

Pick Your Poison

Depending on what colors you are aiming to achieve will determine how you prep the clothing for this natural dying process.  Preparing your fabric beforehand is an important step.  This allows the dyes to adhere to the material.  If you have decided to color your clothing using predominantly berries and fruits, you will need to prep for that particular dying process.  On the flip side, if you plan to use mainly veggies and herbs to concoct a color, there is a method for that process as well.

natural dye prep

Merry Berries

Preparing your garment for a natural berry dye is simple. All you need is salt and water.  See, nothing crazy.  This project called for 1/4 cup salt and 4 cups of water.  Seeing that the apparel to dye were onesies, there was no need to pull out the washtub.  You can adjust these measurements as needed depending on how many garments you plan to prep.

Mix the salt and water components over a stove and bring to a boil.  Simmer your clothing in the salt water for one hour before dying.

Vibrant Vegetables

If using a vegetable dye your preparation process is exactly the same, with the exception of one ingredient and differing measurements.  Once again, you will be over the stove.  Bring to a boil, 1 cup white vinegar and 4 cups water.  Then simmer your clothing in the mixture for an hour before they tie dying process.

natural tie dye using vegetable

This process is messy, so wear an apron.  You are about to dive into the wonderful world of natural dyes.  Preparing your natural dyes and simmering your clothing simultaneously will ensure this process goes smoothly. No waiting around for the fun part.

natural dye with berries

Begin creating your dye in a separate pot over the stove.  Use a ratio of 2:1.  Two parts water and 1 part ingredients.  Seeing how we had an abundance of raspberries from the garden, this was the main component for our natural dyes.  For this project, we used raspberries, blueberries and a dash of turmeric (to pull out the pink, these are boy onesies).

If you happen to be using Turmeric alone, the ratio is approximately 2 Tablespoons of spice for every 3 Cups of water.  Bring your veggie/fruit/spice mix to a boil and let simmer for one hour.  Let it all simmer while you sit back with a cup of tea (or wine, you can tie dye using wine too).

Lets Do the Twist

Once the hour is up, you will need to lay down some pretty designs before giving your clothing a natural dye dip.  Drain the pot with your clothing and rinse each garment with cold water thoroughly.  Wring out each piece as much as possible.  You can dye the clothing while damp.  No need for a tumble.

Time to get fancy and create some stunning patterns.  Easily achieve a spiral tie dye effect by folding an article of clothing in half.  Next, pinch the cloth where you would like the center of the spiral to be.  This will be the middle of spiral effect and it will grow outward from this pinched point.

natural dyes for clothes

Now, with the cloth pinched in your fingers, give it a twist in either direction.  As though you are turning a key in a door lock.  Continue this twisting motion until the entire garment is twisted in a spiraled circle.  Next, you will secure the twisted shape using several rubber bands.

Begin with a single band and stretch it over the entire twisted piece.  Repeat this step until the article is securely fastened in its spiraled state.  You don’t need to get too picky about your rubber bands.  The effect will be stunning even if the bands are not perfectly symmetrical.

Grid it Out

If the spiral is not quite your style or you would like to try your hand at something a bit simpler yet just as spectacular, use this method below.  Lie your garment out and begin securing rubber bands along the clothing as you would a pony tail, all along the length of the piece.  Super simple to do and I would say this tie dye effect is one of my favorites.

natural tie dye methods

Dip it in Some Dye

Time to color that array of apparel.  Submerge your clothing straight into the natural dye pot.  Don’t worry too much about berries or pieces of the foods directly on the clothing.  They will be removed later.  Depending on how deep you want your colors, will determine how long you keep your clothing in the pot.  Some like a faint color, some like it dark.

natural dyes coloring

Its best to start with 15 minutes and proceed from there if you wish the color to be richer.  The onesies imaged were submerged for an hour and a half.  I really wanted the colors to be deep and rich.

Natural Dyes for All to See

Remove the clothing as soon as you feel the color desired is achieved and carefully remove the rubber bands from each piece.  Rinse your clothing under cool water until the water rinses clear.  Next, air dry or tumble the clothing in the dryer.  Bam!  You have created your very own revamped clothing using natural dyes.

natural dyes results

The turmeric is one spice with a powerful punch.  If you choose to use this as one of your natural dyes, be sure to keep an eye on the saturation throughout the process.  That is one vibrant spice and I like it.

natural tie dye baby clothes

Rest assured these garments are chemical free and will not harm your little ones.  Not only will you have some groovy apparel to show off, you saved some dough by recycling those stained and drab onesies.  Way to go momma!

This is but one of many awesome project.  If you are on the look out for anther gripping adventure, be sure to check out this Vibrant Balancing Rock Art Craft!

How to Tie Dye Clothing using natural dyes made from foods you eat. Yes, all natural dyes made from foods. No toxins or chemicals. Safe for up-cycling baby clothes with stains that just wont come out. Click to read how! How to Tie Dye Clothing using natural dyes made from foods you eat. Yes, all natural dyes made from foods. No toxins or chemicals. Safe for up-cycling baby clothes with stains that just wont come out. Click to read how!

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10 Comments

  1. What a great idea! I’m thinking that it would be great for older kids too, who could really double down on their mess-making by testing out different dyes. How do the newly-dyed items work out in the wash? Do the dyes (esp. turmeric) end up staining other clothes or fading when you use strong detergents?

    1. The dye holds well if you set the fabric before you apply the dye. I did make a point to wash all the dyed clothing together and not mixed with other clothing just in case for that first wash. The dye held up well and did not bleed. Thereafter, I have washed all the garments mixed with our usual laundry with no bleeding onto other clothes. I believe that first wash with all the dyed clothing together is important, just in case there are any saturated spots that were missed when rinsing the dye out.

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