Fruits That Stain


Fruits that stain are important for us to know about because, well, I love eating them but hate sitting down afterwards. Save yourself the embarrassment and check out what fruits can leave a lasting impression on your clothing. If you love eating fruit, but hate the mess left behind, this will be an article that saves your clothes from occasional stains by listing the natural dyes from food.

Which fruits and vegetables produce the strongest natural dye? In this article we take a look at some of the fruits and vegetables, like turmeric and beets, that you can use to make your own DIY, natural dyes. You will also learn about the health benefits of fruits below.

Fruits That Stain

While we constantly obsess about healthy eating in Singapore and getting our fix of delicious fruits, some of those choices might be doing more than providing vitamins and nutrition to our daily diet. 

What actually causes tooth stains?
Chromogens are chemical compounds that give certain foods and beverages their dark pigments while acids can wear down your teeth, resulting in higher chances of stains setting in. In general, highly acidic and dark coloured  fruits can stain and discolour your teeth over time.

Let’s take a closer look at these fruits, which can cause your pearly whites to lose their shine and become stained.

1. Berries 

While berries are awesome and one of the more antioxidant packed foods, they can cause staining of the teeth when eaten regularly due to their darker colour. To avoid potential stains, brushing right after eating them helps as particles can easily get stuck between the teeth.

2. Cherries

Just the same deal with berries, cherries are richly pigmented and their juices also risks discolouration of the teeth. Furthermore, the high amount of sugar in fruit juices can lead to more dental damage in the long run by propagating bacteria

3. Red wine

A little off topic from grapes, red wine contains the stain causing tannin, a naturally occurring macromolecule found in plants, seeds, bark wood and fruit skins. Pairing your glass of Merlot with some hard foods like nuts can help to scrub away plague from the teeth and alleviate staining. 

4. Lemon & Lime 
Lemon and lime are highly acidic citrus fruits which can weaken and erode the enamel on your teeth, revealing yellow tissue below the surface. Minimise your teeth’s exposure to acidic foods. 

What can you do to avoid tooth staining? 

– Brushing your teeth straight after consuming a tooth staining food or drink. If you cannot get a toothbrush right away, rinsing your mouth with water can help wash off some of the substance.

– Drinking through a straw prevents the dark coloured liquid from making contact with your teeth.

– Eating non-staining and crunchy fruits & vegetables like apples, carrots and celery can act as natural stain removers by scrubbing your teeth and boosting saliva.

– Staying away from smoking and tobacco products  

– Good and consistent oral hygiene of correct brushing and flossing.  

– Using a peroxide-free teeth whitening kit regularly is an affordable way to achieve and maintain a whiter smile that will not wear away the enamel or cause tooth sensitivity in the long run.  

Which Fruits and Vegetables Produce the Strongest Natural Dye?

All dyes came from plants, animals or minerals before William Perkin invented synthetic aniline dyes in 1856, according to Rajbir Singh in “Synthetic Dyes.” People grew or harvested plants needed for dyeing. Examples are woad or indigo for blues, madder for red, weld for yellow and tree bark for brown. Chemicals called mordants bind dye to fabric and also modify the color. Some fruits and vegetables can give strong, lasting dyes. Often the color of the plant doesn’t indicate what dye color will result.


Walnut hulls produce a brown dye. The color is permanent and will stain skin or anything else it touches. Whole fruits can be used, but the hull has most of the juglone, the active dye. Walnut dye is so strong that a mordant does not have to be used to get a good brown color. Intensity and shade of color is influenced by length of time in the dye bath, use of a mordant, and by the kind and age of walnuts gathered. Walnuts have been used as a hair dye, according to Mother Earth News.

  • All dyes came from plants, animals or minerals before William Perkin invented synthetic aniline dyes in 1856, according to Rajbir Singh in “Synthetic Dyes.”
  • Some fruits and vegetables can give strong, lasting dyes.

Onion Skins

Onion skins produce long-lasting dyes ranging from yellows, orange and brown for yellow-skinned onions to red-orange to dark tan for red-skinned onions. Variations in color depend on the type of mordant used. Unmordanted materials will accept onion skin dyes.


Strong reddish purple results from mulberries. Ripe fruits are put in water, then simmered with the material to be dyed. Alum and tin are the mordants. This makes a long-lasting, very color-fast dye.

  • Onion skins produce long-lasting dyes ranging from yellows, orange and brown for yellow-skinned onions to red-orange to dark tan for red-skinned onions.
  • Unmordanted materials will accept onion skin dyes.


Fresh ripe tomatoes give a reddish brown color to unmordanted wool or silk. When alum is used as a mordant, light yellow results. Color fastness is fair to good.


Beets give a reddish to rusty color at first, but the color fades with exposure to light. The red color from the the heirloom ‘Bull’s Blood’ beet variety is the only red food coloring allowed in Sweden, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website.


Crushed ripe blueberries, simmered with mordanted materials, give a dark reddish gray color. However, like the dye from beets, the color fades with exposure to light.

  • Fresh ripe tomatoes give a reddish brown color to unmordanted wool or silk.


A fairly color-fast purplish blue color comes from ripe blackberries when alum is used as the mordant. It takes a quart of berries to dye four ounces of wool.


Use mature well-colored carrots. Simmer them with variously mordanted wools to give greenish yellow with alum and pale green with chrome and ammonia. The colors have good light fastness.

Fruit And Vegetable Plant Dyes: How To Make Natural Dyes From Food General Vegetable Garden Care By: Amy Grant Printer Friendly Version Image by Rixipix Many of us have used dye at home to enliven, renew, or refurbish tired-looking old clothes. In recent history, more often than not, this involved using a Rit dye product; but before synthetic dyes, there were natural dyes made from food and other plants. Vegetable plant dyes (or fruit) have been around since ancient times and are enjoying a resurgence today, as more and more of us try to filter out the use of synthetic products. Interested in making dye from fruits and veggies? Read on to find out how to make natural dyes from food. How to Make Natural Dyes from Food Prior to the invention of Rit dye in 1917, people dyed cloth with aniline dyes primarily supplied by Germany, but the advent of WWII severed this supply leading to Charles C. Huffman’s invention. Rit dye was a home dye that included soap that would dye and wash fabrics at the same time. Rit dye was not a natural vegetable plant dye, however, and included synthetic chemicals – including a fixative to help the garment retain the color. Backtrack to ancient history and we can see that a lack of synthetics didn’t stop our forefathers, or mothers, from utilizing natural plant dyes. Making fabric dye with fruits and vegetables is relatively easy and inexpensive, especially if you have a garden or access to an area where you can pick them easily. 0 seconds of 0 secondsVolume 0%   So how do you go about making fabric dye with vegetables and fruits? Making Fabric Dye from Fruits and Vegetables First, you must decide what color you want to dye your garment. This may be at your own whim or depending upon what fruits and veggies you have available. Fabric can be dyed a dizzying array of shades of brown, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink, purple, red, and gray-black. A few of the produce that can be used as dyes are: Plums Red onions Carrots Beets Grapes Lemons Red cabbage Strawberries Blueberries Spinach Savoy cabbage There are many, many more options. The internet has some great lists with specific names of a fruit or vegetable and what hue it will become when used as a dye. Some experimentation might be in order as well. For instance, if you are dying a garment that really matters to you, I would suggest practicing on a swatch of that fabric to test for color beforehand. Once you have chosen your dye color and produce, chop it up and place it in a pot with two times the amount of water as produce. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and let steep for an hour. If you want a more vibrant, deeper color, leave the produce in the water overnight with the heat off. Strain out the produce pieces and discard, or compost. The remaining liquid is your dye. Before you jump in and begin dying, however, you will need a fixative to help the fabric keep its color. You can use either a salt fixative or a vinegar fixative. Salt fixatives are used with berry dyes, while vinegar fixatives are used for other plant dyes. For the salt fixative, dissolve ½ cup (120 mL.) salt in 8 cups (1.9 L.) of water, place the fabric in and simmer for an hour or longer. The vinegar fixative needs one part vinegar to four parts water. Add the fabric and simmer for an hour or longer. If you want a deeper color, go ahead and simmer for longer than an hour. Note: Use an old pot to dye in and wear rubber gloves when handling dyed fabric or you will likely have pink or green hands for days. After you have achieved your desired hue, rinse the material out well with cool running water, continually squeezing out the excess. Wash the garment separately from any other clothing in cold water. When dying with natural foods, natural fabrics such as muslin, silk, cotton, and wool work the best. The lighter the original color of the fabric, the truer the desired color will be once dyed; white or pastel shades work the best.

Natural Dyes From Food

For thousands of years, vegetables, fruits, and other plants have been used to make homemade dyes. Learning how to make natural dyes yourself is easy, eco-friendly, and fun. While artificial coloring is not usually considered harmful, it’s not nutritious, either, notes the Mayo Clinic, and more and more consumers are choosing to avoid it. Tint your food, clothes, and more with homemade plant-based colors.

glass of homemade beet dye

Getting Started

Homemade dyes are a great way to get more out of your kitchen scraps and teach kids about sustainability.

First, decide what color dye you want to make. Some of this might be dictated by what you have on hand. You’ll want about a cup of the fruit or vegetable scraps like onion skins, carrot tops, or squashed blueberries. Food52 shares some suggestions for what plants can produce what colors:

  • Red. Beets, red berries
  • Orange and yellow. Onion skins, turmeric
  • Green. Spinach and leafy greens (If you wear gloves to pick and handle it, the stinging nettle that grows in your backyard also makes a nice bright green!)
  • Blue. Red cabbage and baking soda
  • Purple. Blueberries
  • Brown. Used tea bags

Then, place your chopped vegetable or fruit into a small saucepan and cover with water. Use twice the amount of water to the amount of fruit or vegetable. Heat to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Let water cool to room temperature and strain. Now your handmade dye is ready to use!

Coloring Fabrics

Vegetable dyes are great for a summer tie-dye adventure or revamping a stained white shirt or towel. Make sure the item you want to dye is a white or pale cloth made of a natural fiber like cotton. Any fabric that looks shiny or feels slick like a raincoat is probably a polyester or rayon blend and won’t hold dye.

First, boil the fabric in a mixture of one part vinegar to four parts water for about an hour. Rinse with cold water. Next, submerge the fabric in your homemade dye. Let it soak until it reaches the color you want.

Make Your Own Face Paint

When the kids in the neighborhood are calling for a face-painting session, you can make your own. Your face paint will be free of chemicals, and you’ll likely have everything you need without taking a trip to the store.

  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. of your favorite lotion
  • a small amount of homemade dye.

Stir together cornstarch and lotion. Add your vegetable dye a few drops at a time until the paint reaches your desired color.

dyed egg

Naturally Colored Eggs

Kitchen scraps and used tea blends are an excellent way to add color to your hard-boiled eggs. After you have strained your vegetables or fruits, add a splash of vinegar to your dye and allow to cool. Then, place your hard-boiled eggs into small jars filled with color and let them sit until the eggs are the color you want. For some, it will take an hour or two. If you are looking to get more vibrant hues, you may want to have the eggs soak in the fridge overnight.

Natural dyes are also great for tinting cake frosting, cookies, or even pancakes. As long as you add color sparingly, they shouldn’t carry over any vegetable flavors.

Learning how to make natural dyes is fun and costs nearly nothing. Plus, you are teaching your kids another way to be eco-friendly. Just remember, homemade dyes can stain. So wear your apron when you are ready to experiment!

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom’s of Maine.

Foods that Cause Stains

Tired of your teeth looking yellowed and dull, but not sure what’s making them that way? We made you a list of some of the worst teeth-staining foods that make it difficult to maintain a pearly-white smile. And, because we all like to indulge once in a while, we included a few stain-fighting foods that help ward off unwanted discoloration.

Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Tea and Your Teeth

Tea and Your Teeth

Tea is a healthy drink, but it may not be the best choice for keeping your teeth white. Dentists say the brew — especially the basic black variety — can cause more stains than coffee. Herbal and white teas can wear away the outer covering of your teeth, called enamel, and cause stains, too.

Sauces and Stains

Sauces and Stains

They may be tasty, but deeply colored sauces — think soy, tomato, and curry — also cause stains. Switch to light-colored or creamy sauces, and brush and rinse soon after eating.

Sports Drinks

Sports Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can also affect your teeth. Sports or energy drinks can erode enamel, setting the stage for stains. Drinking water during workouts is a better choice.

Wine and White Teeth

Wine and White Teeth

If a food or drink can stain a tablecloth, it can stain your teeth. It’s no surprise that red wine, an acidic drink known for its dark, rich color, will discolor teeth. But white wine, which has even more acid, also can.

Fruits and Berries

Fruits and Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and other vibrant fruits can stain teeth. So can juices and pies made from them. Paler fruits, like white grapes and white cranberries, are less likely to cause stains. But they do have acid that can soften or weaken your enamel.

Soda, Cola, and Other Carbonated Drinks

Soda, Cola, and Other Carbonated Drinks

Looking for a reason to cut back? Thanks to acids and dyes, these drinks — even light-colored ones — can lead to serious stains. Plus, the chemicals that add flavor can also eat away your enamel.

Foods that Help Remove Stains

Starting to feel like there’s no hope in keeping your teeth clean and stain-free? Don’t give up yet! Some types of fruits and vegetables actually help clean your teeth while you eat, which can help keep stains from setting in. Next time you eat stain-causing foods, follow it up with one of these naturally-cleaning eats:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers

Maintaining a white smile can be difficult. Fortunately, you can help yourself out by avoiding stain-causing foods and mixing in naturally cleaning foods to your diet. A little extra care will take your smile from conventional to confident!

Health Benefits of Fruits

1. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals. 

You won’t find a better nutritional source than fruits and veggies, which are packed with vitamins A, C and E, as well as magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid. For potassium, one of the most important minerals for your health, eat plenty of avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, prunes and even tomato paste puree.

2. You get to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures. 

With all their unique and interesting flavors, plant-based foods let you get creative in the kitchen.  You can try strong flavors like onions, olives and peppers, or milder options such as mushrooms and corn. For sweet flavors, fruits like pineapple, grapes or plums are great, while lemons and grapefruits are more sour.

3. Lots and lots of fiber. 

Most fruits and vegetables have plenty of fiber to fill you up and boost gut health, but some have more than others. Fiber-rich vegetables include artichokes, green peas, broccoli and cauliflower. High-fiber fruits include raspberries, pears, apples and pumpkin.

4. They’re low-calorie and low-fat.

On average, fruits and especially vegetables are very low in calories and fat, which means you can eat more to keep you feeling full without worrying about extra calories or fat. You can save more than  200 calories by eating half a cup of grapes versus a fourth of a cup of  M&Ms. That said, there are exceptions, such as avocados, olives and coconuts.

5. Protect against cancer and other diseases. 

Many vegetables and fruits contain phytochemicals, which are biologically active substances that can help protect against some diseases. That means you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer by adding them into your diet. Specifically cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli, cabbage, collards and watercress, have been linked to reducing cancer risks.

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