How to Stain with Used Tea Bags

Using Used Tea Bags to Stain Fabric

Staining white fabric using tea is an inexpensive and natural way to transform the fabric's appearance. Plus, it is a simple dyeing process that you can do in your own home without using harsh chemicals.

To begin the fabric dyeing process, brew the tea by pouring boiling water over the tea bags. You can control how light or dark you want the color of the fabric to be, depending on how long you brew the tea. You may want to make the tea in a large glass bowl so you can see how dark it gets. Let the water cool down to a warm temperature and remove the tea bags.


Now that the tea bath is ready, prepare your fabric. Run the piece of fabric or clothing under warm water. Squeeze out the excess water and immerse the fabric in the tea. Stir the fabric with a wooden spoon to avoid wrinkling and to saturate every part of the fabric with tea. If the fabric wrinkles, it will result in odd staining patterns on the fabric. Soak the fabric for a few hours, or until it reaches a desired color [source: Stitching Cow].

When the fabric appears ready, remove it from the tea bath and rinse it in a solution of warm water mixed with a dab of dish soap. Note that your fabric will probably dry a lighter shade than it appears while wet [source: Spatone]. If the fabric is darker than you wanted, you can use a small amount of bleach to lighten the shade [source: Spatone]. Hang the fabric to air-dry and then use it for your sewing projects that require a rustic look!

If rustic wood is your preferred medium for crafting, read the next page to learn how to use tea bags to stain wood.