How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains

Remove Easter Egg Dye and Food Coloring From Clothes, Carpet, and Hands

Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains

Sue Barr / Image Source / Getty Images

Creating colorfully dyed Easter eggs is a tradition that crosses many cultures around the world. In the United States, we often dye eggs with a simple water-based dye bath that works great until the dye lands on the tablecloth, a shirt or the carpet. Enjoy the fun of Easter egg dyeing and stop worrying about the stains by learning how to remove the stains from your hands, clothes, and carpet.

Stain type Dye
Detergent type Heavy-duty plus oxygen bleach
Water temperature Cold to warm
Cycle type Varies depending on fabric type

Project Metrics

Working Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours

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. As soon as possible head to the dryer cleaner 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.

What You'll Need


  • Heavy-duty detergent or enzyme-based stain remover
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Non-sudsing ammonia
  • Paper towels


  • Washing machine or large basin
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Small bowl
  • White cloth


Easter egg dye is most often simple food coloring and the key to successful stain removal is to treat the stains as soon as possible. These same techniques work if you use natural dyes made from onion skins, beets or other plants to dye eggs.


An ounce of prevention is best, so choose some 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.

  1. Flush the Stain

    As soon as possible after the stain occurs, flush the stained area with cold water, 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Wash As Usual

    Allow the stain remover to work for at least fifteen minutes before washing the garment or table linen usual following the care label instructions.

  4. 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.

  5. Mix an Oxygen Bleach Solution

    Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener or OXO Brite) and warm water following product direction.

  6. Soak the Fabric

    Submerge the entire garment 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. Oxygen bleach is safe to use on all white and colored fabrics except for silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather.

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 over-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, you should call a professional.

  1. 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.

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix just one-half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water.

  3. 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.

  4. Rinse the Stained Area

    Next, dip a clean white cloth into plain water and blot to rinse the cleaning solution completely out of the carpet. If you don't rinse, the soapy residue can attract soil.

  5. Check the Stained Area

    If color remains, try a bit of nonsudsing ammonia mixed with water (one tablespoon per cup of cool water). Test the solution on the carpet in a hidden spot first because ammonia can remove the color from some carpets. Blot the stained area with the ammonia solution. Finish by blotting with plain water to rinse the area.

  6. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the carpet to air dry completely away from direct heat and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.