How to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Making delicious colorful desserts with food coloring is so much fun, especially during the holidays. Until you realize you’ve got a bright blue or red food color stain on your favorite shirt.

You must be wondering if it’s possible to get food coloring stains off your clothes. Yes, it is.

Food coloring does leave ugly stains on your clothes, however, several treatments help remove this set of stubborn stains before it becomes permanent. All you need is the right cleaning agent and a little patience.

10 Ways to Remove Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Food coloring comes in different forms: liquid, powdered, and gel forms. They are all highly concentrated and can stain almost all surfaces, including your clothes. While the stain may seem impossible to get rid of, there are several simple ways to get rid of it.

So, before you toss your favorite dress or shirt into a ragbag let’s go through these 10 ways to get food coloring out of your clothes.

1. Laundry detergent

Using laundry detergent is the easiest way to get rid of food coloring stains. This method is most effective if you get to the stain as quickly as possible.

Begin removing by soaking the fabric in cold water to rinse away as much of the stain as possible. Turn the cloth inside out and hold out the stained area under running water.

After this, apply liquid laundry detergent to the stain and use a soft brush or your fingers to scrub at it gently. Let the cleaning agent sit on the clothing for about fifteen minutes. Then, rinse and put in the machine to wash.

2. Baking soda and vinegar

Combining these two household ingredients creates for you a powerful stain-removing agent.

Lay your stained clothing on a clean towel on a flat surface, letting the stained spot face upward. 

Apply baking powder to the stained area and spray white vinegar over the baking powder.

Allow the mixture to foam and bubble for 10 minutes as they break up the stain molecules.

Make use of a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to scrub the area in a circular motion. Be careful not to spread the stain as you scrub. Now, hold out the fabric under cold running water to rinse away the cleaning solution and possible food coloring residue.

Check again after rinsing to see if the stain is gone. If there is still some coloring remaining, repeat the process and wash the cloth in a washing machine using laundry detergent.

Note: only white vinegar should be used for stain removal.

3. Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover is surprisingly one of the easiest ways to get both food coloring stains and hair dye stains off your fabric. However, it is necessary and important that you use an acetone-based solution if you want to get the best result.

Place a towel on a table or any flat surface and spread the cloth over it with the stained area facing upward.

Pour some nail polish remover on a piece of cotton ball, and press the soaked cotton ball on the affected area. Do this very carefully to avoid spreading the stain outward. Dab continually at the spot, using as much cotton as needed, until the stain finally disappears. Now, rinse the cloth under running water.

Check to make sure all food coloring is gone, and if not, repeat the process. When the stain is gone, wash in a machine with laundry soap.

4. Toothpaste or shaving cream

Unbelievably, there are several everyday tools stored up in your bathroom that can get rid of food coloring stains, like shaving cream and toothpaste. 

These two are handy solutions for stain removal, especially when you are in a hurry.

Apply on your stain non-gel or whitening toothpaste or shaving cream. Use a soft brush, or your fingers to gently scrub the affected area in a circular motion. 

Make sure you do not spread the stain as you scrub. Once done, hold out the fabric beneath cool running water to rinse. 

Repeat the steps if the stain has not completely washed off. Otherwise, put it in the washing machine using laundry detergent.

Note: they are to be used separately and not as a mixture.

5. Lemon juice

Citrus fruits like lemon contain citric acid that can break down several kinds of stains, from food coloring stains to slimy stains.

Place your fabric on a flat surface with the stained area facing upward. Soak a piece of cotton wool in the lemon juice, and dab at the stain with the wool. 

Continuously apply newly soaked cotton wool to it to get rid of the coloring as much as possible. If the stain persists, sprinkle some baking powder on it and scrub the spot with your hands in a circular motion. 

Rinse the cloth beneath cold running water, and cross-check for any remaining stains. Repeat the process if needed and wash the cloth once the coloring is gone.

6. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an essential liquid in a home and you most likely have a bottle or two of it in your medicine cabinet right now. 

You store it for disinfecting cuts and scrapes but what you do not know is that hydrogen peroxide has some bleaching qualities that can clean food coloring from your clothing, even blood.

Mix in a shallow dish a cup of water, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid dishwashing soap. Dip the colored spot in the solution and allow it to soak for twenty minutes. 

Then rinse under cool running water. Ensure that you turn the cloth over so that the water runs through the back of the stain.

Check to see if the stain is completely gone, if it is, put the cloth in the washing machine and use your regular laundering detergent. If the stain persists, try repeating the process.

7. Vinegar and dishwashing detergent

White vinegar is naturally acidic which allows it to dissolve most kinds of stains. It dissolves mostly stains that have also a degree of acidity in it like food coloring. 

Combined with dishwashing soap, it will most definitely get that stain off. Soak a clean white cloth in water; press firmly the cloth on the affected area. You might want to run but don’t, it will only spread the stain. 

Check to see if some color came out on your cloth. If it did, repeat this same process until you can no longer see any color coming off.

Next, mix in a bowl of cold water, white vinegar, and dishwashing soap. Soak the food stain completely in the mixture for twenty minutes. 

Now rinse under cool running water and if you are satisfied with the outcome, throw the cloth in your washing machine, and if not repeat the process.

8. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol removes stains easily and quickly even when the stain is dry. This magical liquid dissolves stains from anything, including your clothing and carpets.

Place your fabric on a flat surface with the affected area facing upward. Soak a cotton ball in the alcohol and blot the stain with the cotton ball. Renew the cotton ball and alcohol as it soaks in the stain.

Immediately the stain is gone, rinse the cloth under cold running water. Now put the cloth in your washing machine with your regular laundry detergent. 

9. Oxygen bleach

Oxygen bleach works well to remove stubborn stains like food coloring. However, before you use this method, you should note that it could destroy certain kinds of fabric. 

You must never use bleach on silk or wool. You should try to use the bleach and water solution on a hidden part of the cloth to see the reaction before trying this method.

Fill a bucket or basin or sink with warm water. You can either use liquid or powdered bleach. Read the package to know how much of the bleach you need based on the liters of water you used.

You must allow the bleach to dissolve before adding the stained fabric. Wear a rubber glove while you submerge the fabric in the solution. Leave the garment to soak for eight to ten hours. Rinse with cool water and pit in your washing machine as usual to wash.

10. Ammonia

Ammonia has strong dissolving abilities and does a great job getting rid of stubborn stains but comes with several disadvantages. It has a strong scent and can burn your skin if it touches it. 

So make sure you are wearing gloves and other necessary caution while using this product. You should also avoid using this solution with silk, wool, or nylon clothing.

Carry out this process in a well-ventilated area. Put in a bucket of cool water, a teaspoon of dish soap, and a tablespoon of ammonia. Soak the cloth in the solution and let it soak for fifteen to thirty minutes. Rinse the cloth with cool water.

Something to Note

If there are still traces of coloring, empty the bucket, fill it with water again, and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Soak the cloth again for thirty minutes then wash as usual.

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