How to Color Urine

Applying Color Chemistry to Change the Color of Your Urine

A toilet in a home bathroom

Siraphol Siricharattakul / EyeEm / Getty Images

Have you ever wanted to color your urine or wondered what causes urine to become colored? If so, you're in luck! Here's a little bit of applied color chemistry for your entertainment and experimentation pleasure:

Violet—Violet or purple liquid is not something you see in the toilet bowl every day. However, you can get violet or purple urine if you eat both beets (red) and methylene blue dye (blue), which is safe in low quantities.

BlueMethylene blue will turn your urine blue or greenish-blue. It can also color the whites of your eyes blue. The coloration of both urine and eyes is reversible. At one time, methylene blue was considered to be an effective treatment ​against malaria. As far as urine colorants go, this one is considered to be reasonably safe to eat, though you should be aware some people are allergic to it. Food coloring may turn your urine blue. A rare, inherited disease known as porphyria can also cause blue urine. King George III's blue urine may have been attributable to porphyria.

Green—Asparagus will turn urine green and also will give it a very strong odor (although not everyone can smell it). Food coloring can also turn your urine green, as can certain medications.

Yellow—Yellow is the normal color of urine. If your pee is too pale to detect the color, it means you're over-hydrated. If you have colorless urine yet want a yellow tint, you can take a vitamin B12 capsule. Another option, which is also extremely fast, is to drink a colored energy drink. Look for one that contains added B vitamins.

Amber—Dark golden urine often results from dehydration (not drinking enough water). A very dark color might indicate the presence of bile in urine, which is symptomatic of a medical condition. To safely darken yellow urine, try taking a B vitamin. Drinking an energy drink won't help because the caffeine acts as a diuretic, adding more water to your urine and making it colorful, but pale.

Orange—Eating rhubarb or senna can turn your urine orange. Senna is a dangerous herb to mess with. Stick with rhubarb (just don't eat the leaves, as they're poisonous).

Red—Eating beets or blackberries can turn your urine red. Blueberries can also tint urine pink. Even though the berries are blue, the pigment in them is a natural pH indicator that changes color. The normal pH of urine is slightly acidic first thing in the morning, trending toward slightly alkaline later in the day. The color of your urine resulting from foods you've eaten can be affected by the time of day you eat them.

Pink—Pink urine can result from a urinary tract infection or from eating smaller quantities of beets or blackberries.

Brown—Brown urine can be the result of kidney dysfunction, jaundice, or from an overdose of the herb goldenseal. Brown urine is not a good thing. You should probably avoid this color, if at all possible.

Black—Black is not a good color for your urine. Black urine results from Blackwater Fever, which is associated with malaria. The black color comes from the massive death of your blood cells, leading (usually) to death.

Milky or Cloudy—This results from blood, protein, or pus in the urine and usually indicates illness and is not an effect you can achieve by eating or drinking something non-toxic.

Clear—All it takes to achieve clear urine is to drink plenty of water. Don't go overboard, though, since even too much water can be bad for you.

If you decide to try any of these for yourself, make sure to closely read the safety information that accompanies the chemicals and use common sense. If you're concerned you have colored urine due to an illness, be sure to consult a health care professional.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Color Urine." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). How to Color Urine. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Color Urine." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 8, 2021).