You need not be a heavy baker to have your clothes exposed to food coloring stains. Such unfortunate incidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. Before you get intimidated enough to throw out your favorite shirt or blouse, you might want to consider a few easy tricks that would help solve the nasty but colorful problem at hand. It would be best if you were time-cautious when searching for how to get food coloring out of clothes because the longer you wait, the tougher it will be to wear that same “wearable canvas” once again in public.
ProTip: White vinegar and regular dishwasher detergent are great at tackling food coloring stains. Another top tip is to mix salt with ammonia and some water, it removes food coloring stains from white clothes perfectly well.
Best Ways to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes
Whether the food color was liquid, gel, powder, it usually isn’t that difficult to get it out of your clothes, and the process can be done using regular laundry supplies available at home. Keep in mind that these food dyes tend to dry quickly, so it would be helpful if you treated the stain as soon as possible for easier removal.
If the garment is labeled “dry clean only”, you are required to blot the stained area with a dry paper towel and rush it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. However, if you happen to have a dry-cleaning kit at home, treat the stain with the allocated stain remover before throwing the garment in the dryer bag.
If the stain is still evident, avoid putting the clothing into a hot dryer because the high heat can make the dye almost impossible to remove.
Dealing with Fresh vs. Old Food Coloring Stains
- Cold water
- Warm water (For old stains)
- Liquid soap
- Soft brush
- Table knife
- Hydrogen peroxide
- White vinegar
Fresh Coloring Stains
Step 1. Scrape off the spot
Using a table knife, try to scrape off as much of the stain as you possibly can. If the food color happened to be powder or gel, try not to rub the stained area with your hand because you might end up pushing it deeper into the fabric.
Step 2. Press a damp white piece of cloth onto the stain
Firmly press a damp white rag onto the stained area to transfer the dye from the clothing to the rag until the spot is gone. Using a colored rag risk transferring color from the rag to your clothing; thus, a white rag is recommended.
Step 3. Soak the clothing in cold water
Soak the stained area in cool water and add white vinegar and liquid soap. You can weigh the fabric down using a cup or any other heavy item to keep it submerged in soapy water.
Step 4. Rinse and launder
After about 15 minutes, rinse it under a cold faucet and allow the water to pull any extra dye off the fabric. Launder once all the stain is out.
If the stain persists, you can treat it with the same method to get old food coloring stains out of clothes.
Old Coloring Stains
Step 1. In a bowl, mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and liquid soap.
Step 2. Soak the stained area in the solution and weigh it down to keep it submerged for about 15 minutes.
Step 3. Gently rub the stained area from the back to loosen the dye.
Step 4. Rinse under cold water with the stained side facing down and launder immediately.
How to remove food coloring stains from non-washable fabrics
- Cold water
- Sponge/absorbent pad
- Fabric spot remover
Step 1. Sponge the stained area with water. (Use light strokes working outward from the stain’s center)
Step 2. Spray fabric spot remover onto the stain.
Step 3. Use a dampened sponge to blot regularly.
Step 4. Use a wet sponge to keep the stain moist.
Step 5. Flush with water when no more stain can be blotted.
How to Get Red Food Coloring Out of Clothes
- Chlorine bleach (If safe for the fabric)
- Oxygen bleach
Step 1. Sponge the stain with cold water.
Step 2. Mix 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach for white fabric or 1/4 cup of oxygen bleach for colored fabric per gallon of cold water.
Step 3. Soak the stained clothing for at least 30 minutes.
Step 4. Rinse then launder immediately.
How to Remove Food Coloring Stains from Carpet/Upholstery
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- White vinegar
- Warm water
- Clean white cloth
- Rubbing alcohol
- Into a bowl, mix a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a cup of warm water.
- Sponge the stain with the solution in the first step using a white piece of clean cloth and blot it frequently using dry cloth until the stain disappears.
- Sponge the area with warm water and blot until the moisture is absorbed.
- Sponge the stained area using rubbing alcohol and blot until the liquid is absorbed.
- If the stain persists, mix a tablespoon of ammonia, soap, and two cups of water and sponge the stain with the solution.
- Leave the stain for at least 30 minutes while blotting it every five minutes.
- Sponge with cold water and blot dry the area.
If you happen to soak the carpet/upholstery fabric in water and leave it without drying, mildew could grow, which can be a real health hazard for your family.
The next time you spill food coloring onto your clothes, be sure to read the label and manufacturer’s instructions before looking for anyways on how to get food coloring out of clothes. There are many different ideas and opinions apart from the options in this guide but follow the instructions to the latter to avoid any unexpected damages.