Creating colorfully dyed Easter eggs is a tradition that crosses many cultures around the world. In the United States, it is typical to dye eggs with a simple water-based dye bath that is mostly made of simple food coloring. The technique works great until the dye lands on the tablecloth, a shirt, or the carpet. The key to successful stain removal is to treat them as soon as possible. Enjoy the fun of Easter egg dyeing and avoid worrying about the stains by learning how to remove the mess from your clothes and carpet. These same techniques work if you use natural dyes made from onion skins, beets, or other plants to dye eggs.
|Detergent type||Heavy-duty plus oxygen bleach|
|Water temperature||Cold to warm|
|Cycle type||Varies depending on fabric type|
Before You Begin
If the item is labeled as "dry clean only," blot the stain with a white cloth or paper towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. Head to the dryer cleaner as soon as possible and point out and identify the stain.
If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag but be aware that the stain will probably not come out. The dye needs professional treatment.
Equipment / Tools
- Washing machine or large basin
- Soft-bristled brush
- Small bowl
- White cloths
- Heavy-duty detergent or enzyme-based stain remover
- Oxygen-based bleach
- Dishwashing liquid
- Non-sudsing ammonia
- Paper towels
- Cotton swab (optional)
How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains From Clothing
Flush the Stain
Flush the stained area with cold water, as soon as possible. Hold the fabric wrong-side up directly under a faucet stream running at full force. If you can't get to a faucet, blot the stain with a cloth dipped in plain water to weaken the dye. Keep blotting until no more dye is transferred.
Treat the Stain
As soon as possible, work some heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide and Persil contain enough stain-removing enzymes to break apart the stain) or an enzyme-based stain remover into the stain. Work the stain remover into the fabric well with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush.
Wash As Usual
Allow the stain remover to work for at least 15 minutes before washing the garment or table linen usual following the care label instructions.
Check the Stained Area
If the dye stain remains, do not place the fabric in the dryer. The high heat could permanently set the stain.
Mix an Oxygen Bleach Solution
If the stain is still there, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and warm water following the product's directions.
Soak the Fabric
Submerge the entire garment in a basin and allow it to soak at least four hours or overnight. If the stain is not gone, repeat this step with a fresh solution of oxygen bleach and water. When no stain remains, wash as usual.
How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
The same cleaning techniques that are used on carpet can be used for upholstery. The key is to never saturate the upholstery fabric with the cleaning solution. Too much moisture can cause problems with mold and mildew growth in the furniture stuffing. If the upholstery is vintage or silk, call a professional.
Blot the Stained Area
Use a paper towel to blot up as much of the colored liquid as possible. Blot from the outside edges of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading the stain any larger. Continue until no more dye transfers to the paper towel.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of warm water in a small bowl.
Treat the Stain
Dip a clean white cloth or paper towel into the solution and blot the stain from the outside edges toward the center. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth until no dye transfers to the cloth.
Rinse the Stained Area
Dip a clean white cloth into plain water and blot to rinse the cleaning solution completely out of the carpet. Make sure you completely rinse away the solution or any soapy residue can attract soil.
Check the Stained Area
If color remains, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of non-sudsing ammonia mixed with 1 cup of cool water. Blot the stained area with the ammonia solution. Finish by dampening a clean cloth with plain water and blotting to rinse the area.
Ammonia can remove the color from some carpets and fabrics. Always check the color fastness of your carpet or upholstery before applying the ammonia solution to the stain. Apply the solution to a hidden spot with a cotton swab to see if it affects the color. If the cotton swab picks up color, do not use this solution to remove the dye.
Air-Dry and Vacuum
Allow the carpet to air dry completely away from direct heat and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.
Food coloring stains are fairly easy to remove, but an ounce of prevention is best to minimize future holiday stains, especially on your hands. Choose lightweight rubber or plastic gloves when dyeing eggs. But if the damage is done, the best way to remove the dye from big and little hands is baking soda and a bit of white vinegar.
Dampen hands with water and sprinkle with baking soda. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to create some foaming action then rub your hands together. The baking soda provides a gentle abrasive action to lift the dye. Rinse well with warm water and repeat if needed. This method is non-toxic and safe for all ages.