The Great Avocado Endeavour

This is my blog post on the infamous Avocado dye.

A quick over view of the dye is: You can use avocado skin (and pit but I will get to that later) to make a dye bath and the results are pink on cellulose fibres and cappuccino (or pink )colour on protein fibres.

(Here are some avocado samples, the left row is from a weaker dye bath and the right one is from a more substantial dye bath)

Before this endeavour I had only used avocado skin, which was what my teacher instructed me to do. Her method was to rinse the skins boil the dye for an hour, place in your fabric and let it soak for 24 hours.

I had many issues with this method, one it took way too long and two it took too long. After that I by accident found out that if you boil your skins for an hour and then store the strained dye for a week you can achieve a dye that will give you instant rosy results. And this is what I held onto as my method before I moved home. But enough about the past I present to you a method that is even quicker (well when you actually get to making the dye) method and an experiment debunked!

I guess I will begin with making the dye. My newest and most improved(ist) method is to save and freeze cleaned avocado skins and pits so that I have an accumulated stash. Which works out great because in my experience the older your avocado skins the deeper the colour. And freezing definitively encompasses this theory. And time wise this method is very effective despite the sort of prep work, if you can even call it that because  to make the dye bath with the frozen avocado it only takes 20-30 minutes. Now that is what I am talking about: instant results!


(On the left is the pit dye bath and on the right is the skin dye bath)

Moving on from the technicalities of making dye baths to the skin versus the pit. Okay, to start off I will say that I was not expecting the avocado pit dye to be a different colour from the skin dye, I expected both to be pink and this was true. However I did want to know if there was a difference in shade, a difference in time and difference in colour fastness. So I decided I would do a great avocado pit versus avocado skin face-off. In the left corner we have the tried and true skin and in the right corner we have the new-comer pit.

Round one: TIME! Okay the point goes to both players as they both took roughly the same amount of time to make and to dye with.

(the jar on the right has the avocado skin dye and the jar on the right has the pit dye)

Round two: (instant) COLOUR! So right out of the ball park I would say these two are about even, there is equal colour pay-off and shades when you use the dye baths right after making them. However looking at the dyes in the jars the pit is definitely the paler dye (see above photo) but that did not seem to affect the colour of the fabric as the two samples turned out pretty much the same (I cannot tell what is what)

(one of these is the skin and on is the pit… I think the top one came from the skin dye but I am not entirely sure as they are both pretty similar)

Round three: COLOUR FASTNESS! Again a draw…

This is a pretty boring competition so far… And it was. Point blank. I was pretty disappointed that the colours turned out so similar I wanted there to be at least some difference… But alas I do not lose hope because the final round is yet to come up…

Round four: STORAGE! For me this is the decider for which of the two is the stronger competitor as I tend to store my dyes in sealed jars for a couple of days just so I can see if the  colour alters in any way. For example, the colour may completely change (like my crabapple blossom dye, it shifted from pale green to a lavender purple colour), and some of the dyes mellow out and become softer shades, etc…

(Here are my crabapple samples, the pale green one at the top is the sample I got from using the dye straight away and the purple samples are from the same dye a few days later… Crazy!)

So how did the avocado pit and skin hold up? Well I knew that the skin would hold up (I have stored that dye for over three months and the colour remained the same and there was no mould) and the question was if the pit would last. I waited about three days to try the storage test. And I have to say that the dye from the pit lighten more and would only yield a very pale pink whereas the skin yielded its original deeper pink colour. And for that I have to award the winning point to the avocado skin.

So ultimately the two give the same results initially but for a long-term use the skin prevails. That is all for now… Anyeong!


4 thoughts on “The Great Avocado Endeavour”

  1. Thanks for this break down! I’m dying cheese cloth for a runner on my wedding tables and this helps a lot. So after I boil the skins I remove them and let the jars sit or leave them in? Also, do I need to add Alum?
    Thanks for any help you can provide!


  2. Bummer, I just threw out a whole bag of skins because I had read they dyed a more orangey color and I was going for pink. I’m also reading about Ph levels but it sounds like you didn’t have to mess with that. When you say store your dye, is that with the skins and pits in them or strained?


    1. It sounds like you are might be eating a lot of guacamole soon! And no I have never altered the pH of an avocado dye bath. And I store my dye by straining the pits and skins out in a jar out of direct sunlight. I have stored some dyes like this for up to a month, however more regularly I hold onto dye baths for only a week. Hope this helps, cheers!


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