Turmeric’s Use As A Dye

Turmeric’s an incredibly valuable natural resource in the world, and you probably know how powerful it can be when used in food and drink. It has such a beautiful bright golden color that it may not come as a shock to discover that it’s been used as a dye for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

A light sprinkling of history

Turmeric has a well-established background in Ayurveda healing, and as such it has been used in Ayurveda dying for an awfully long time too.

Historically, it has also been used as a dye for any number of clothes, but most notably in robes worn by members of Hinduism. The dye has a bright yellow color, which would not fade anywhere near as rapidly as other dyes available at the time. With our modern laundry detergents, however, you may need to be a little more careful when washing items dyed with turmeric.

Turmeric used as a dye

What’s the method?

Well, thankfully, it’s quite simple. It’s very similar to a lot of other home dyeing processes and involves a simple stovetop method. Without further ado:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to simmering heat, not a violent boil.
  2. Add ¼ to ¾ cups of turmeric to the water, depending on how intense you want the colour of your end product to be.
  3. Submerge your fabric in the solution, taking care to wear gloves and an apron. Otherwise, you may end up staining your clothes and hands!
  4. Bring the pot to a boil and allow it to simmer for roughly an hour. Remove the pot from the heat, and remove the fabric too. Place the fabric in a stainless steel colander (ones made from other materials will work, but may stain), and allow it to fully drain.
  5. Rinse your fabric thoroughly to remove any excess powder from your end product.
  6. Hang your product up and allow it to dry.

How to make turmeric dye

This is a really simple method which leaves you plenty of room to improvise and make it your own! For example, you could follow an alternative method such as tie-dyeing by crumpling the fabric up and holding it in place with rubber bands before the boiling phase. That would allow you to have patches of the fabric which are slightly different colors than the other pieces, giving an eye-catching style overall.

Of course, please remember to take all the necessary safety precautions during the dyeing process. As much as this dye won’t be poisonous, it’s still a large pot of extremely hot liquid, so take care around it, and ensure you wear gloves and an apron to avoid staining anything that you don’t want to stain.

Turmeric dye is a really easy and fun little experiment that you can do at home. You could even do it to help keep some younger minds occupied, perhaps by tie-dyeing a t-shirt or two with them. Whatever you make on your adventures when dyeing with turmeric, reach out to us and let us know! Tag us on social media, we’d love to see what people can get up to when using our authentic Indian turmeric powder as a dye.