Remove Food Coloring Stains

Food coloring dye is found in a variety of food and drinks. It can be very frustrating to spill something on a nice piece of clothing while eating lunch or dinner, or accidentally dumping food on the carpet. The good news is that you can remove food coloring stains off of just about any fabric, as long as you follow the necessary steps.

remove food coloring stains

Dealing with Food Coloring Spills

Since food coloring is a dye, you’ll need to act as quickly as possible to remove it from the clothing before it sets in. You’ll be glad to know that most everyday cleaning products will treat a large percentage of food stains without damaging the fabric.

Here are the basic steps for washable fabrics:

  1. First, you will need to remove the crud with a blunt kitchen knife. Gently scrape any solid material off of the clothing.
  2. When there is only a liquid stain remaining, soak the fabric for at least twenty minutes in cold or lukewarm water with a tablespoon of ammonia and half a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent. Cold water is usually ideal for food dye stains; hot water should only be used for grease.
  3. Try to loosen the stain by rubbing the stained area from the back. Place the stained side of the garment down on a flat surface over top of an absorbent material, such as a clean, white paper towel. Do not rub excessively or roughly; you don’t want to risk damaging the fibers. Change the paper towel when needed to avoid re-staining. DON’T use any colored cloth or towel.
  4. Rinse all of the cleaning solution off of the fabric. Let it air dry, and then launder as usual. Wait until the stain is completely gone before sticking the clothing in the dryer.

This might or might not be enough, depending on the severity of the stain and type of fabric.

For non-washable fabrics, such as triacetate or rayon, try these steps:

  1. With a dampened pad, lightly sponge the area. Do this immediately after the spill, using cold water. Begin with the center of the stain and work outward.
  2. Use a spot remover that is ideal for the type of fabric you are trying to clean. Apply it onto the wet garment and add a few drops of ammonia; use sparingly.
  3. Prepare a wet spotter that contains eight-parts water, one-part dishwashing liquid, and one-part glycerin. Pour it in a plastic squeeze bottle; shake well prior to each use.
  4. Cover the stain with an absorbent pad dampened with the wet spotter.
  5. Allow the pad to absorb the food dye from the fabric, and then change it with a fresh pad.
  6. Flush the remaining staining materials and residue from the garment with water.
  7. Repeat these steps if necessary.

Before using any type of cleaning solution, read the care instructions on the clothing. Some types of fabrics may be too delicate to attempt stain removal with a specific type of product. Always work on stain removal in well-ventilated areas.

Remove Food Coloring Stains from Carpet

Carpet cannot be replaced as easily as clothes. It’s a lot more costly and requires more care. If you get a food stain on the carpet, you need to get it out ASAP. It can be very embarrassing to have friends and family over when there is an unsightly stain right in the middle of the floor.

Here are steps for removing that stain:

  1. Try to blot out any excess spill with a clean paper towel. If it is a huge spill, use a wet vacuum to get up as much as possible.
  2. Next, wet the dry stain with a small amount of cool water. Wait a minute or so for the water to saturate the stain, and try blotting again with a fresh paper towel. Keep repeating this process until either the stain is gone or there is nothing more to blot out.
  3. Mix a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with white vinegar and lukewarm water to create a cleaning solution. Pour a little bit of this solution onto a white cloth and sponge the stained area of the carpet. Dab dry with a paper towel.
  4. If the stain is STILL on the carpet, moisten the area with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Leave it on for an hour or so. Blot it up with a paper towel. Keep repeating as necessary.
  5. When the food coloring is completely gone, pile several paper towels on top of the area, and weigh them down with something heavy, allowing the moisture to be absorbed out of the carpet.

Additional Tips to Remove Food Coloring Stains

If any food dye gets on your hands, or your child’s hands, you can use a clean washcloth soaked with white vinegar to remove it. You can add a bit of baking soda to the cleaning solution. Always rub gently; whether you are trying to remove food coloring stains from skin or anything else. DON’T use any bleach or ammonia on the skin.

To get food coloring dye out of upholstery, use the same technique as you would with clothing made from similar fabric.