Natural Dyes: What And Why?

Natural Dyes: What And Why?

June 30, 2018 0 By alexender

Natural dyes are the fabric dyes which are extracted from the natural resources like plants, animals, fruits, insects, and minerals. Though most of the natural fabric dyes are extracted from vegetables or other plant elements such as barks, leaves, roots, berries and wood, they are many other natural elements which are used to extract bio-degradable dyes.

Let us look at some of the natural elements that are used to derive natural fabric dyes and what colors are extracted from them:

Natural dyes extracted from plant products

Colors extracted



Indigofera plant


Catechu or Cutch tree

dark mustard yellow

Gamboge tree resin


Kamala tree

red, pink, orange

Madder root


Himalayan rhubarb root


Larkspur plant


Pomegranate peel


Weld herb

yellow, green, black

Myrabolan fruit


Natural dyes extracted from animal products

Colours extracted


Indian yellow

Cow urine


Murex snail


Cochineal insect

red, violet

Lac insect

sepia brown



Benefits of Natural organic dyes

Sustainable fashion with Least Environmental Impact– Natural dyes are sourced from natural elements hence they ecofriendly.  These dyes are also biodegradable and disposing these dyes won’t cause pollution of any kind to the environment.

Extracted from renewable sources – Natural dyes are acquired from renewable bases that can be extracted without causing any kind of damage to the planet and atmosphere.

Unique colors– Natural dyes give fabrics very earth and soothing color tones. They are perfect to color the fabrics with softcolors or gentlehues; natural dyes can benefitthe look of the complete fabric.

Harmless – Being safe for the environment, Natural dyes are also harmless for the health. Few of these dyes are made using elements like carmine which is found in lipsticks.Hence, even these dyes are ingested they are pretty harmless.

Colors those are popular in natural dyes:


Yellow is a pretty popular natural fabric dye color. The most common sources for this color are turmeric, safflower, onionskins, pomegranate, saffron and weedy flowering plants. Yellow dyes are in demand in all parts of the world.


Many shades of red are can be extracted from alkanet or dyer’s bugloss (Alkannatinctoria), asafoetidaavocado pits, few types of lichens, henna, and dyer’s madder Rubiatinctorum. Red dyes are historically very popular in the Middle East and European regions.


Elements that give red and yellow color dyes also give orange hues. A mix of these elements is often used to result in orange dyes.


Blue dyes are generally derived from indigo plants, which are used to dye fabric in the shades of blue from centuries now. Indi is the top supplier of indigo and traditionally this color is associated with royalty.


Purples can come from few types of lichens, berries and mulberry (morusnigra) (with an acid mordant). Shades of purple can be extracted from indigo and mix of red dyes.


Brown is a very earthy and neutral color that can be extracted from cutch which a dye from acacia trees.

Natural dyes are not only precious, but they are also very eco-friendly. They are a perfect mix of fashion and sustainability.

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