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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alternatives to Getting Stains Out of Clothing - How to Tea-Dye Clothing

Turn a drab white shirt into a creamy vanilla dessert! :) This shirt was white, and it had some stains on it that wouldn't come out - even after repeated attempts.

Instead of giving up on a light-colored clothing item that has a persistent stain, why not go ahead and try tea-dying it? The chemical impact on the Earth is negative (put those used tea bags in the compost pile) and the results are great! :)

I brewed some strong tea - just the discount kind and in tea bag form - and got out my big turkey roasting pan and poured in the hot, strong tea and some more hot water. I took out the tea bags, but some people leave theirs in.

 Then I just put the shirt in and squished it down into the tea mixture (watch out! - it's hot!)

In fact, I put a couple of items in there together. So you might want to look around for any other clothing items this might benefit.

A few times, when I'd walk by the pan, I'd move the clothes around and squish them down again just for good measure. :)

After a few hours (you can experiment with leaving them in longer to get a darker color), I wrung out the water/tea mixture and put the clothing directly into the washing machine, where I ran a load of my regular, light-colored clothes through the wash. I threw them in the dryer, and they came out a wonderful mottled, imperfect, creamy color where any "flaws" in color just add to the appeal. 

Keep in mind that there will be mottling and spots and regularities, but for me, that's just part of the charm. On the shirt pictured, I also added hand embroidery and some wide satin ribbon to cover some problem areas (not associated with the tea-dying) and any darker spots that I thought needed some softening.

Also keep in mind that some threads may dye differently than the fabric itself, but that can be fun too. This shirt had all-over machine, thread embroidery, and the thread didn't take the dye/tea as well as the fabric. It only added to the charm, in my opinion.

It's up to you! Have fun! And let me know how it goes for you! :) Take care.

Save the Planet While You Shop! :)


  1. welcome to the blogosphere toots! fun altered work you are doing!! xo

  2. Good information. Another way to get environmentally friendly clothing is by getting used or vintage clothes and altering them into something more modern or by taking the existing clothing and transforming them into something new to wear.

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