AMES, IOWA – Researchers say they have found a natural way to dye fabrics for clothing - by using leftover coffee grounds.

Changhyun 'Lyon' Nam, of the Iowa State University (ISU), said his own coffee habit gave him the idea to experiment with the grounds in a bid to reduce the two million tonnes of chemical and synthetic dyes used each year by the textiles industry.

Under the guidance of assistant professor Chunhui Xiang, Nam dried coffee grounds for three days before boiling them in purified water to extract the dye. He then tested it on cotton, linen, rayon, silk and polyester and succeeded in dyeing the fabrics a variety of shades of brown.

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