In the aftermath of Christmas baking I needed to know how to get food coloring stains out of clothing thanks to my son and a little incident with an exploding frosting bag. I won’t go into details (mess! everywhere!) but let’s just say I will never again wear a light-colored shirt while frosting cookies. Yes, I should have thought of that beforehand but it’s one of my favorite shirts… and that made getting the food coloring stains out even more important.
Maybe you’re not big on baking — that’s okay. There are still many other ways you might find yourself needing to know how to get food coloring stains out of clothing, and most of them have to do with kids: popsicles, Kool-Aid or soda, and candy all contain food coloring that can leave stains behind. Or say you made homemade play dough for the kiddies, for instance. Great stuff, and it’s lots of fun on a rainy day, but wow does that stuff stain clothes!
Regardless of how the stain got there, here’s how to get it out.
Get Food Coloring Stains Out Of Clothing
As with most stains, it’s easier to treat a fresh spot than one which has already set in. Fortunately, getting either new or old food coloring stains out doesn’t require any special products or equipment, just basic things you should already have in your cleaning supplies or laundry room.
White fabrics can be immediately laundered with bleach if allowed by the manufacturer’s label. For dark or brightly-colored clothing, follow the steps below.
Fresh Food Coloring Stains
1. Grab a table knife and scrape off as much of the spot as you can.
2. Press a damp white cloth firmly against the stain to transfer dye from the clothing to the cloth. Rinse the cloth, using a new section, continue to dab away the dye. (The reason for using a white cloth is to ensure you aren’t transferring color from the cloth to your clothing!)
3. When you’ve dabbed away as much dye as possible, soak the stained area in a shallow bowl filled with 1 cup cool water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap. If necessary, weigh the fabric down with a coffee mug so it remains immersed in the soapy water.
4. After 15 minutes, rinse it under a cold faucet with the stained side down. The flow of the water will help pull additional dye out of the fabric. Once the stain is completely gone, launder as usual.
5. If the stain persists, move onto the next method without allowing the stain to dry.
Older Food Coloring Stains
1. Combine 1 quart warm water, 1 tablespoon of household ammonia, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent in a bowl.
2. Submerge the stained area in this solution, weighing it down if necessary. Allow the fabric to soak for 15 minutes then gently rub it from the back to loosen the dye. Rinse very well under warm water with the stained side down. Launder immediately.
Naturally, the frosting bag explosion that led me to find out how to get food dye stains out of clothing wasn’t limited to splattering just my favorite short. Oh, no: nothing in my life is ever that easy! The frosting landed on my laminate counter and kitchen rug, and some even got on our popcorn ceiling!
If something like that happens to you, I found out that rubbing alcohol cleans the stains off laminate counters super fast, and these steps to get stains out of carpet worked for my kitchen rug. Now, if anyone knows how to get the stains off of the popcorn ceiling, do me a favor and share in the comments. Please?