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11 Ways to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

11 Ways to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Food coloring is an important part of the kitchen. Be it desserts or crafty projects – the coloring helps channel your inner creativity. You can add life to anything!

But the fun comes to an end when the food colors spill all over your favorite outfit. There are just gasps, oh-nos, and long cries for help.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t panic!

Food coloring may leave nasty stains and patches on the clothes, but they aren’t permanent. In today’s post, we will teach you 11 ways to get food coloring out of clothes. Let’s dive in!

Can Food Coloring Stains Be Removed From Clothes?

Yes, food coloring stains can be removed from clothes. (Don’t believe anyone who says the stain is permanent!)

A stain refers to discoloration that occurs when two dissimilar materials come in contact with each other. You can easily identify these marks from the surrounding material.

So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using powder, gel, or liquid food colors. Initially, the stain will stay on top of the clothes. It’s dissimilar to the fabric and won’t react.

However, if you let the stain go untreated for a long time, it’s possible for the stain to seep into the fabric and permeate into the individual fibers. When this happens, a reaction will occur between the food coloring stain and the fabric dye. This will make the stain long-lasting and difficult to remove.

11 Ways to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Now that we know, food coloring stains aren’t permanent. Let’s have a look at the ways you can remove them from your clothes!

Please note the level of difficulty increases down the list. So, try out the first few methods and if that doesn’t work for you, use the options at the bottom.

1. Detergent to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

If the stain is fresh, the easiest way to get rid of it is to put the clothes in the washer. But you need to be careful about a few things.

Detergent to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Firstly, the water quantity should be enough to submerge the clothes. Too much water is a waste of resources, whereas too less water will not clean the clothes properly. It will also put too much pressure on the motor.

  • Make sure you’re adding the right amount of detergent. Use 2-tbsps for big loads (8 to 12-pounds).
  • The water temperature should be slightly warm. This will allow detergent to break down the stain faster.
  • Avoid the gentle wash cycle to ensure the stain is removed in one go.
  • Use the right type of detergent. If you’re using a HE washer, select a HE detergent. Similarly, if you’re using hard water, the detergent should be compatible.
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If there’s just one article of clothing and you don’t want to use the washer, you can only treat the stained area too. Here’s how to do it:

Grab the soiled area in your hand and dip it into a bowl of lukewarm water. Squeeze the excess water, and rub detergent on both sides of the fabric. You can use a brush to rub off the stains thoroughly.

Let the cloth rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Brush again in a circular motion and then rinse it.

2. Shaving Cream to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

It may sound unbelievable, but shaving creams are a popular way to remove color stains. You can use it on clothes, upholstery, and even carpets!

Shaving Cream

To begin, spread a thick layer of shaving cream onto the stained area. The layer should be at least an inch thick. Next, wear gloves and scrub the area with a hard, bristled brush.

This will cause the cream to penetrate deeper into the fabric and lather up the stain. It also adds moisture to soften the fibers. So, when you scrub, the stain breaks down completely.

Let the shaving cream sit on the stain for around 15 minutes, and then rinse the area under a faucet.

3. Lemon Juice to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Lemon juice is a natural alternative for people who either don’t have cleaning agents at hand or want an environment-friendly option. In any case, it has a powerful effect on stains.

Lemon Juice

The juice contains citric acid, which breaks down the toughest of stains and dirt. It also has a whitening effect. But never pour lemon juice directly on the clothes.

Instead, make a mixture of ⅓ cup of lemon juice and ⅔ cup of water. Then, gently run the mixture on the stain. Once the soaked area dries, the stain will vanish automatically.

You can dry the clothes under the sun for an enhanced whitening effect (for white or light-colored clothes only). When the stain is gone, wash the clothes using detergent to get rid of lemon juice.

4. Nail Polish Remover to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Another amazing way to remove food coloring stains from your clothes is to use nail polish remover. This is a common household item and costs very little. Just make sure that you’re using an acetone-based nail polish remover.

Nail Polish Remover

Acetone is a colorless and flammable liquid. But it also has powerful bleaching properties. So, if you pour some nail polish remover onto the stains, it will effectively pull out the colors and ink.

That said, be quick in your action and never leave the clothes soaked in the remover for too long. It will not only damage the fibers but also bleach the color. It’s best to soak a cotton ball or pad in nail polish remover and gently dab the soiled area.

5. White Vinegar to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Distilled white vinegar consists of 4 to 7% acetic acid and 93 to 96% water. This composition makes a good stain remover from clothes. Be it sweat or color – the vinegar gets rid of stubborn blotches easily.

White Vinegar

Plus, it does not ruin the fabric like apple cider or other vinegar types. Your cloth material will remain intact and stain-free. White vinegar also comes cheaper than the rest.

Here’s how to use white vinegar to remove food coloring stains:

  • Pour vinegar directly onto the mark and let it seep in.
  • Gently scrub the area using a brush or toothbrush.
  • Rinse the clothes on a normal wash cycle.
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If the food coloring stain is old and tough, combine white vinegar with baking soda. Cover the stain with baking soda first, and then spray white vinegar over it. This will cause the mixture to bubble, and you’ll hear a slight sizzling sound. Scrub the area and then wash!

6. Dish Soap & Ammonia to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Up till now, we have mainly discussed acidic substances to remove food coloring stains from clothes. But you can also use alkaline solutions like ammonia.

Dish Soap & Ammonia

Ammonia is present in almost every other cleaning product. It’s very effective in cutting grease, dirt, and ink blotches from a variety of surfaces. Only a teaspoon of ammonia will break down the toughest of stains.

To use, mix 1 teaspoon of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of dish soap in 2 cups of warm water. Now, soak a clean white rag in the mixture and use it to dab the stained area on your clothes. If the complete garment is stained, soak it in the prepared ammonia mixture for some time and rinse.

7. Oxygen-Based Bleach to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Oxygen-based bleach is a safe product that doesn’t contain any chlorine. Instead, the solution is made from sodium percarbonate (a compound of hydrogen peroxide and some natural crystals). You can use it on clothes, bedsheets, carpets, and whatnot.

Oxygen-Based Bleach

The bleach will clean the surface, lift up any stains, and brighten the color. It will do all this without the toxic and hazardous effects of traditional bleaches. So, you can use it frequently in the house.

But, again, never pour a bleaching agent directly on the stained material. It might damage and weaken the fabric. A better way is to combine 1 tablespoon of oxygen-based bleach with 1 cup of water.

8.  Chlorine Bleach to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Chlorine bleach is a powerful laundry bleach.  It’s also called sodium hypochlorite bleach and liquid household bleach. So, when none of the above methods work and the stain is very stubborn, use this to treat the clothes.

Chlorine Bleach

Pour some chlorine bleach into a bucket of water and mix the solution using a stick. Now, put the clothes in the bucket and let them soak in the bleach for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the time has elapsed, wear gloves and take out your clothes.

Squeeze out all the excess solution and check whether the stains have vanished. If not, let the clothes soak for a longer time. But if you see no stains, rinse the clothes in clean water and hang them out to air dry.

Chlorine bleach is highly corrosive with brightening, whitening, and disinfecting properties. So, be careful in handling the solution. Don’t use it on your delicate dresses, wool, and silk.

Only use it on white and colorfast washable. If you’re not sure whether the fabric is bleach safe, soak a small corner in the solution to test the results.

9. Hydrogen Peroxide to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

Hydrogen peroxide is typically used in the medical industry. Since it’s a mild antiseptic, you can use it to prevent infections triggered by scrapes, burns, and minor cuts. It’s also a common part of mouthwash to remove mucus and germs from the mouth.

Hydrogen Peroxide

But this staple antiseptic is also great at removing different types of stains and whitening clothes. Perhaps, a more appropriate term would be; great at vanishing!

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Hydrogen peroxide works a little differently than most cleaning agents. Instead of lifting up the stain, it permeates into the fabric and breaks the chemical bonds making up the stain. As a result, the stain loses its color (though it’s still there!).

What’s more amazing is that the substance is safe on the majority of clothes. You can pour 1 cup of it directly into the detergent dispenser of the washing machine and get stain-free clothes.

10. Alcohol to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

There are two types of alcohol that you can use to remove stains from clothes, namely:

Alcohol to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

  • Denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol refers to ethanol mixed with additives. It’s poisonous, foul-smelling, and bad-tasting. The purpose behind additives is to discourage the recreational use of alcohol.

  • Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is just another name for isopropyl alcohol diluted in water. The ratio of water to alcohol varies from brand to brand. Some companies may even add essential oils.

Whatever you choose, be careful in handling them as alcohol is a flammable substance. Use them in an area where there are no chances of fire or heat. Also, don’t use alcohol on rayon, acetate, silk, or wool.

These materials may get damaged in the process. Here’s how to use alcohol for removing food coloring stains:

  • First, soak a cotton ball in the alcohol and dab it on a hidden part of the garment. This is to test whether there is any discoloration or not.
  • If no discoloration occurs, soak another cotton ball in the alcohol and dab it on the stained areas. Rub the area gently, and don’t saturate it.
  • Let it dry.
  • Now, put a drop of dishwashing liquid on the stain and scrub it with an old toothbrush. Rinse the cloth.

11. Dry Cleaning Kit to Get Food Coloring Out of Clothes

If the soiled clothes are delicate and valuable, you can’t possibly put them in the washer or use any of the methods above. You’ll need to do a special procedure called dry cleaning. Now, the decision is up to you about choosing a professional dry cleaner or DIY-ing.

Dry Cleaning Kit

We suggest that if the stain is large or stubborn, leave the task to an expert. But if it’s small, you can definitely clean it yourself.

All you require is a dry cleaning home kit. It’s easily available in all online stores at affordable prices. Inside the kit, there’s a stain remover pen and a bag. Some kits may also include cleaning liquid or specially-treated pads.

Depending on which kit you have, first, inspect the clothes visually. Treat the stains using the pen and any other provided material (read the manufacturer’s instructions!). Put the clothes in the bag and place them in the dryer. Repeat if necessary.


Last Words

Up till now, we have discussed 11 different ways to get the nasty food color stains out of your valuable clothes. These methods are proven and bound to work. So, the next time a food color spills on your clothes, don’t panic and use this resource as your solution!

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