How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains

Remove Festive Food Coloring From Clothes, Carpet, and Hands

How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains

The Spruce / Bailey Mariner

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 6 - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 10

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 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. Blot, never rub the stain, or you can push it further into the fibers of the material. And, never put a still-stained item in the dryer as the high heat can "set" the stain and make it permanent.

Thankfully, products that you probably have on hand will remove that stain. So, 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.

Stain type Dye
Detergent type Heavy-duty
Water temperature Cold to warm
Cycle type Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

Check the care label on the clothing, and 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. While you might want to use a home dry cleaning kit, the stain will probably not come out. The dye stain will need professional treatment.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine or large basin
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Small bowl (2)
  • White cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swab (optional)
  • Vacuum

Materials

  • Enzyme-based stain remover
  • Heavy-duty detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Non-sudsing ammonia

Instructions

Materials and tools to remove easter egg dye from clothing

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains From Clothing

As soon as you notice that some Easter egg dye has hit a piece of clothing, blot with a paper towel and then follow these steps to remove the dye stains.

  1. 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. This will force the egg dye stain out of the fibers. 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 to the white cloth.

    Clothing with easter egg dye stain flushed with water under sink

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  2. Treat the Stain

    Work some enzyme-based stain remover or heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide and Persil contain enough stain-removing enzymes to break apart the stain) into the stain and work it into the fabric well with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Allow the stain remover to work for at least 15 minutes.

    Easter egg dye stain scrubbed with heavy duty laundry detergent with soft bristled brush

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  3. Wash As Usual

    Wash the garment or table linen as usual following the care label instructions.

    Easter egg dye stained clothing set with laundry detergent next to cup of detergent

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  4. Check the Stained Area

    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. Move to the next step.

    Linen fabric checked for easter egg dye stain after spot treatment

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  5. Mix a Soaking Solution

    Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are OxiCleanNellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or ECOS OxoBrite) and warm water following the package directions.

    Oxygen-based bleach powder added to plastic container with hot water

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  6. Soak the Fabric

    Submerge the entire garment in a basin and allow it to soak for 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.

    Warning

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

    Stained clothing soaked in bucket of water with oxygen based bleach by gloves

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

How to Remove Easter Egg Dye Stains on Carpets and Upholstery

The same cleaning techniques that are used on carpets 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.

Before cleaning any furniture, always follow the manufacturer's care label on cleaning upholstery. This tag can be found under the sofa cushions or fabric skirt with letter codes that indicate how to clean the furniture. If the upholstery is vintage or silk, call a professional.

  1. Blot the Stained Area

    Blot up as much of the colored liquid as possible with a paper towel. Work from the outside edges of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading the stain any larger. Keep moving to a clean part of the towel and continue until no more dye transfers to the paper towel.

    Carpet stained with blue easter egg dye blotted by white paper towel

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of warm water in a small bowl.

    Dishwashing liquid added to glass bowl of water for cleaning mixture

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  3. Treat the Stain

    Dip a clean white cloth or paper towel into the solution and blot the stain once again from the outside edges toward the center. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth until no dye transfers to the cloth.

    White paper towel blotting carpet with easter egg stain

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  4. 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 area and if any color remains, move to the next step.

    Rinsing the stained area with a plain white cloth

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  5. Mix an Ammonia Solution

    Mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of non-sudsing ammonia and 1 cup of cool water in a small bowl. Check the color fastness of your carpet as directed in the Warning callout. If the carpet is colorfast, then proceed with this step. Dip a clean white cloth into the ammonia solution and blot the stained area. Finish by dampening a clean cloth with plain water and blotting to rinse the area.

    Warning

    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.

    Tablespoon of non-sudsing ammonia mixed with glass bowl of water

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  6. Air-Dry and Vacuum

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

    Cleaned carpet with vacuum to remove dry

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Additional Tips for Handling Easter Egg Dye Stains

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 with baking soda and a bit of white vinegar. This method is non-toxic and safe for all ages. Here's how:

  1. Dampen hands with water and sprinkle with baking soda.
  2. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to create a bit of foaming action, then rub your hands together. The baking soda provides a gentle abrasive action to lift the dye.
  3. Rinse well with warm water and repeat if needed.

Watch Now: Dyeing Easter Eggs Without a Kit