How to Remove Food Coloring Stains from Clothes

To make our boring-looking food interesting and fun, we all use food colors in various food items. Be it in cakes, drinks, desserts, etc., we love to have a variety of colors in them, and that is when we use liquid, powdered, or gel food colorings. While using food colors, we all stain our hands and sometimes our favorite dresses or shirts. If you have accidentally spilled some food color in your garments, do not worry- we are here for your rescue! In this article, you will find various ways to remove food coloring stains from your clothes. So, without any further delay, let’s begin.

Girl dropping food color in a bowl

Pre-treat the Stain Before You Begin

If the food color is in gel or powder form, use a dull knife or the back of a spoon to scrape the excess. Never rub it with your hands, as it will make the food color move deeper into the fabric. Now, in whatever form the food color be, quickly put the stained area under running cold water to flush out the stain from the cloth.

To pre-treat the food coloring stain, you have to mix 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in half a cup of warm water. Now, rub it gently on the stained area with your fingers or use a soft towel. Let it soak for a few minutes, and then wash your cloth as usual. The stain will either go away, or it will get lightened. Next, follow any of the methods mentioned below to treat the food coloring stain.

Various objects used to pretreat the stained cloth

Various Methods to Remove Food Coloring Stains from Clothes

Stain Remover/ Heavy Detergent: Apply some stain remover or any heavy-duty detergent directly on the stain. Scrub it using your fingers or any old toothbrush. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and lastly, wash the cloth as usual. This method will work if the stain is not so stubborn. If this method fails, try the other ones.

White Vinegar: Take one tub of warm water and mix two tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Allow the stained cloth to soak in the mixture for 30-45 minutes, and then scrub the stained area. Now, wash the cloth as usual. You can add some baking soda or a few drops of laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent for more effective results.

Bleach: Make a solution of any oxygen-based bleach with cold water. Soak the stained garment in the solution for at least 30 minutes. Take it out and rinse it with plain water. If the stain remains, soak the cloth in a solution of liquid detergent and water for 8-10 hours before you do laundry. 

Using bleach to remove food coloring stains

Ammonia: Mix one tablespoon of ammonia and one tablespoon of liquid dishwasher detergent in two cups of warm water. Dip a clean cloth in the mixture and dab that cloth on the stained area. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes, and then wash it as usual. This works best for stained white clothes.

Rubbing Alcohol: Put some rubbing alcohol directly on the food coloring stain and dab it with a clean cloth. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then wash the cloth as usual. If the stain does not vanish in one go, repeat the process.

When Should You Call a Professional?

If none of the home remedies, unfortunately, work out for you, you must take the stained cloth to a professional cleaner without any delay. Also, check the fabric care label before you begin. If it states “dry cleaning only”, you must not wash your cloth. Dab the stained area with a dry cloth or tissue and take the cloth to any dry cleaner as soon as possible.

Tips on How to Avoid Food Coloring Stains

Keep these few points in mind for the next time you use any food colors to prevent getting things stained:

  • While working with food colors, never forget to wear an apron or any old cloth, thereby, preventing the food color from coming in contact with your garments.
  • Wear gloves to avoid getting your hands stained by food colors.
  • Always put a newspaper or a paper towel on the surface where you are working with the food colors so that it does not stain your table or counter-top, etc.
Keeping a parchment paper on the table to avoid getting it stained

Frequently Asked Questions

Are food coloring stains permanent?

You will be glad to hear that food coloring stains are not permanent. They are absolutely easy to remove from synthetic materials, but with some extra effort, you can also remove them from cotton or other fabrics. Make sure you follow the steps properly, otherwise the stain will not get removed completely.

How to remove food coloring stains from the skin?

If washing with liquid soap does not remove food coloring stains from your skin, use white vinegar. Take some white vinegar, rub it on the stained area and wash your skin with body soap. White vinegar not only removes food coloring stains from clothes but also skin.

How to remove food coloring stains from carpets or upholstery?

Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of liquid dishwasher detergent in two cups of cold water. Dab the stained area using the mixture with the help of a clean towel. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes, and then sponge it with plain water. If the stain remains, blot the area with a few drops of rubbing alcohol and wait for at least 15 minutes. Now, dab it again with plain water and let it dry up using a clean cloth or a dryer.