Eco Living

Natural Dyeing with Avocado Seeds

Turn lemons into lemonade, or in this case, avocados into guacamole, and then into fabric dye. Our founder shares her first encounter with natural dyes, and step-by-step instructions for dyeing an old white t-shirt with the part of avocados that often gets thrown away: the seed.

How to Naturally Dye Fabric with Avocado Seeds Avocado Pits by Patricia Siman


If you don't already know, we love natural dyes at Half Asleep, and we love them even more when they are made with food waste. I first fell in love with natural dyes a few years ago when I was living in New York. I had read about them, but I had never experimented myself. I signed up for a workshop with María Elena Pombo, the founder of Fragmentario and the queen of all things avocado, and I immediately fell in love with the process. We used avocado seeds to dye scarves made with different fibers, each yielding a different hue of pink (pictured above). 

Earlier this year, we saw everyone tie dyeing at home - and we wanted to join in on the fun. So we did, in the best way we know how: using natural dyes. I had naturally been collecting my avocado seeds throughout quarantine, and decided to give it a go with an old white t-shirt that needed a refresh.

Back in May, we shared a TikTok tutorial on how to naturally dye clothing using leftover avocado seeds (now on our Instagram Reels). In case you missed it, here it is:

DIY eco-friendly tie dye with just one ingredient: avocado seeds! 🥑 ##fyp ##tiedye ##naturaldyes ##sustainablefashion ##diy ##diytiedye

♬ Buttercup - Jack Stauber


And for those who prefer written out instructions, we've outlined the process below. But before you read, a quick disclaimer: I've never been one to follow food recipes to a T, and the same applies here. I eyeball it, I experiment, I fail, I try again. It's all part of the process. This is how I did it, but there are several different methods and processes. Check out the resources at the end of this article to learn more about natural dyeing.

It is also important to note that water PH levels, the minerals in the water, and other variants such as the type of avocados used, can yield varying results. Have fun and experiment!


How to Naturally Dye Fabric Using Avocado Seeds


1. Make Guacamole 
Ok, maybe you're not a guacamole person, but you love your avocado toast. However you eat your avocados, make sure to save the seeds (or pits) and clean off any excess avocado. Let them dry before storing them together to prevent them from molding.




2. Make "Avocado Soup"
Boil avocados in water. The more avocados, the more saturated the color. 
My preferred method is boiling the avocado seeds for about 10-20 minutes, turning off the heat for about an hour, and repeating several times throughout the day.




3. Prepare Your Fabric/Garment
While your avocado seeds are boiling, wash the item(s) you are dyeing with a mild detergent and leave it soaking in water.



4. Strain it
Strain the seeds and particles out using a strainer and return the liquid into the pot.




5. Alter the Outcome (Optional)
You can add certain ingredients such as baking soda to alter the color of the dye. I added a bit of baking soda after draining the dye and gave it a quick boil before using. I found it gave it a deeper and redder hue. Experiment! 



6. Twist it 
Again, it's all about experimenting here. Wring the water out of your pre-washed and soak fabric. Once damp, twist or scrunch in the pattern of your choice. We went with a twist from the center to give it a swirl affect.



7. Tie it
Use rubber bands to tie your pattern. If you don't have rubber bands at home, we recommend saving rubber bands that come with your produce.



8. Dunk it 
Dunk your fabric into the hot dye bath.
Make sure both sides are fully immersed (if that is the look you're going for). 



About an hour in, I took it out of the dye bath and placed it in a bowl with a bit of the dye. I left it in there for about 6-8 hours, and flipped it to leave it overnight.



9. Wash it
After soaking your object in the dye, wash with mild detergent in cold water.



10. Untie & Dry
One of my favorite parts! Seeing what pattern and color comes out of your experiment.
Let dry on a flat surface or tumble dry low.




The final product.

After washing several times, the color has not faded. You may find that the color changes over time, but that's the beauty of the process. You never know exactly what you'll end up with - but I am sure you'll love it.


Not into DIY? Shop our naturally dyed sleepwear dyed using plant-based ingredients such as indigo, turmeric, pomegranate skins. 

I encourage you to read this article about María Elena Pombo, Fragmentario's founder, and learn more about her research, the natural dye process, and the beauty of this powerful fruit. For more information and tutorials on natural dyeing, check out these resources we love:

Instagram Accounts to Follow






Natural Dye Books:

The Wild Dyer by Abigail Booth

The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar

Botanical Colour at your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos

Let us know if you give it a try!  



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