How to Dye Fabric Pink With Mere Avocado Pits

Five reusable cloth produce bags in varying shades of pink dry on a clothes line outside

Use this same method with onion skins.

I often think I’ll reach the bottom of the zero-waste rabbit hole any day now but keep finding fun and useful ways to repurpose “waste,” such as making a pink dye with avocado pits. After recently sewing produce bags out of plain white cotton fabric someone donated to the Reusa-Bags project, I thought they could use some color.

To dye the produce bags, I followed (mostly) instructions on NPR’s website from Eliza Wapner of Lil Bits Cloth. I didn’t use the optional vinegar, alum and soda ash, which would make the color last longer. But I’m dyeing produce bags not a prom dress so I’m not too worried about how long the color lasts.

At Christmas, I wrapped gifts in these bags and tied the ends closed with bits of yard my kids had left on the couch where they had been knitting. After everyone opened their gifts on Christmas morning, I tucked the produce bags back in the cupboard where I store them—no wrapping to toss!

Save your avocado pits

After eating an avocado or finding the remnants of an eaten avocado on the kitchen counter, I quickly scrub off any flesh sticking to the pit and set it on a dish to dry out on the counter over several days. Even if your pits seems dry, don’t store them in a closed container or pile them up in a bowl or open jar as they can develop mold in a crowd. These antisocial pits need their space.

You could also use fresh avocado pits for your dye. As much as my daughter and I love avocados, we don’t eat enough in one go to make dye. So I squirrel them away as I get them.

How to dye the fabric


  • 5 cotton produce bags
  • stock pot large enough for bags to float around in
  • metal spoon
  • clothes line or drying rack
  • large bowl
  • ½ teaspoon mild dish detergent
  • 6 avocado pits
  • water

Day One

  • Simmer 5 bags in a large stock pot of water with ½ teaspoon of mild dish detergent. Stir the bags continuously for the first two minutes, then every 10 minutes for an hour. The water turns quite yellow. This step washes the fabric and prepares it to take the dye.
  • Remove the bags, wring them out and hang them to dry on the line.
  • Start the dye in the now empty pot. Simmer 6 avocado pits in water for an hour. (You can also use avocado skins but I didn’t.) Turn off the heat and let the dye sit overnight covered.

Day Two

  • Wet the bags by soaking them in a large bowl of water.
  • Remove the avocado pits from the dye (and skins if you used them) and feed them to the compost bin. Bring the pot of dye to a boil.
  • Wring the water out of the bags. Set the bowl of water aside to reuse in the last step. Immerse the bags in the pot of boiling dye. Stir continuously for the first two minutes, then every 10 minutes for an hour.
  • Remove the bags, rinse them in the reserved bowl of water, wring them out and hang to dry. The color looks darker when wet. They’ll dry a lighter shade.

If you’d like to dye more fabric later, store the dye in the refrigerator for about a week. It won’t keep indefinitely there—it is made from food after all.

A reusable cloth produce bag dyed pink with avocado pit dye dries on a clothes line outside. Wooden clothes pins hold it in place.
Drying on the line
A pink produce bag filled with apples sits on a tiled backdrop. Two folded pink produce bags sit underneath the filled bag.
Dyed produce bag in action

Check out my award-winning cookbook!

My book won silver for single-subject cookbooks at the Taste Canada awards! It also won a second-place Gourmand cookbook award in the category of food waste. And it was shortlisted for an award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Learn more about my book here.

US Cover

14 Replies to “How to Dye Fabric Pink With Mere Avocado Pits”

  1. Interesting, although my least favorite color is pink and black but I do think they go together as per the 50″? I know that I was looking at another post for dyeing with something other than beets, can’t remember. The minute I mention I sew, people try to give me material, but I have put a stop to my piles, and I did make myself produce bags, so I don’t tend to use old t-shirts. My daughters have done some tie-dying which I did in high school. But thanks for the NPR link, as I am someone who needs help “To get it together so I subscribed to their Life Kits. NPR was my sanity when I drove in the US, like CBC is now here in Canada.

    1. Who would have thought that avocado pits would render pink. There must be other anomalies out there yet to be discovered. I am a sewist that lives in CA but hails from Canada. Years ago I donated fabric to the Textile Museum in Toronto for their annual sale. I seldom have to buy fabric. In Berkeley I shop at Reuse Arts & Crafts. This holiday season I made 27 MW soup cozies. All the recipients acted like they had won the lottery. It was a blast. I plan to make more for VDay. I like to gift friends who never expected a gift from me. Lol

      Recently on the KCRW Good Food show, Evan Klieman interviewed Naomi Duguid, author of SALT, and a resident of Toronto. Are you related?

      Looking forward to seeing Anne-Marie on Sunday at the Sunnydale library.

      1. Thank you for coming to my talk, Sunny! It was nice to meet you in person. How did you make your soup cozies? Do you have a link to a pattern? I have so much scrap fabric :O

      2. I made 27. Here is what I did. The pattern came from Sew4Home. I printed a second pattern for the Wrap N Zap lining, which was one inch smaller around the perimeter. I sewed the lining to the outsides in all the directions. I rounded the corners as the Crafty Gemini did in her tutorial. The fabric used is 100% cotton. My only instructions were to MW no more than 2 minutes.
        Now that I have nailed it I am planning on making more. One recipient said that now she can stay longer in bed knowing that her 7 year old is safer making oatmeal.
        The cozies are often sold at craft fairs for $15-$25. My bf loves his 49er one.
        It was great to meet you. We enjoyed the presentation and are glad we bought your book so that we can bake the brownies.
        The discussion on dog poop caught me by surprise.Lol

  2. Who knew? But I do now thank you for sharing 🙂 Happy New Year 🙂

    1. My pleasure! Happy new year to you as well! 🙂

  3. Re: Naomi Duguid, no we are not related. I looked her up when I heard about SALT from an interview with Matt Gallagher on CBC. My sister, same last name, met her some years ago as she used to live in Vancouver for a short time, and I noticed when I got a copy of My Mexico by Diane Kennedy for my sister’s birthday as my sister now spends time each year in Mexico that Naomi endorsed the book on the back cover. So I rearched her again. My daughter’s had to in-depth ancestory for school project, and since there was well-known professor at SFU with our same last name who had done extensive geneology research, and my sister had contacted him, and he had compiled a large volume of records so we have a book of the lineage from 2 main families who immigrated to North America from Scotland in the early 1820’s. What is a MW soup Cozie?

    1. A MW soup cozie is a holder for a bowl that is 100% cotton and filled with Wrap N Zap. It facilitates removing hot items from the microwave. Less bulky than potholders. They are big sellers at craft fairs. I adapted the pattern from Sew4Home. It can also be used for ice cream. Moms love them because they can stay in bed as Junior makes his oatmeal in the morning. A godsend for anyone with arthritis. Soup cozies could save the world. Lol.

      My ancestors also immigrated to Canada from the Isle of Aran in the 1820s, and built the Rideau Canal. Many references and photos at the Bye Town Museum, Ottawa, helping construct my past. I have been doing Storyworth for the last year. A great way to record your memoirs and help you discover who you are. It has nudged me into contacting classmates that I last saw in 1964.

      Thx for the book suggestion. The inspiration for The Blue Sweater came from the author jogging in Rwanda and seeing a 10 year old wearing her sweater that she had donated to the Goodwill in the USA. I went to Ottawa’s biggest yard sale and met a seller who journeys to Nigeria yearly to bring back clothes that have been shipped there by the Goodwill in North America.What a waste of petrol.

      I am a big fan of Hasan Minhaj on Netflix for bringing us up to speed.

      Happy New Year.

  4. Re: the produce bags you sew: I am currently reading “All That She Carried”, I have taken it out of the libray 3x as the text is so rich in information that every paragrpah takes time to read, and it keeps being requested my dozens of people so it needs to be returned within a loan period. It is the story of 9 year old Ashley’s sack with a handful of pecan, a braid of her mother’s hair, given to her by her mother when it was known that Ashley would be sold at a slave auction in Charleston in 1850 to never see her mother again. It was further embroidered on her great-grandaughter living on a plantation in 1921. A women combing a flea market in 1970 for bargains she could re-sell on E-bay for higher price, realized she had a piece of history.
    It is now on. It is now on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washinton, DC. “Sack,Plain-weave, cotton ground: cotton lock stich fabrication; three strand-cotton embroidery floss, back-stitch embroidery”, for flour, seed, or staples. Weaving the story of 5 generations of indentured Black-American women.

  5. Never heard of this, but how wonderful! Do the colors stay fast?

    1. Hi Dorothy. They do if you add a mordant. I actually do have two of the three ingredients (soda ash and vinegar) listed in the NPR article to make it colorfast. I just need alum, which is apparently easy to find. I think I can get it at the grocery store.

  6. NYT article today: “Trying to Live a Day without Plastic”

    1. Thank you for sending this!

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