How to Remove Food Coloring Stains From Carpet

Removing food coloring solids

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to 10

Though food coloring doesn't seem like it should leave the kitchen, it is possible that it could stain your carpet or upholstery. Food dyes usually dry quickly, so it is essential to treat the stain as soon as possible. Fortunately, you can take at-home measures to remove the stains using supplies you likely already have in your cleaning arsenal.

We wrote a complete guide to remove food coloring stains from carpeting. Read on to rid your carpet of the stain.

Stain Type Dye-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water Temperature Cold

Before You Begin

Remove any solid matter as quickly as possible. Take care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture in the cushion or filling can cause problems. If dye or brightly colored icing lands on a kitchen chair cushion, you will use the same cleaning solutions and techniques recommended for the carpet.

Remember that you should never put the stained fabric into a hot dryer if the mark is still evident. The high heat from a machine dryer can make the dye nearly impossible to remove.

When to Call a Professional

If your stained carpet is vintage or silk, visit a professional cleaner. You don't want to unintentionally damage the fabric by attempting to clean it yourself.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 dull knife
  • 1 white paper towel or cloth
  • 1 vacuum (optional)

Materials

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 bottle Oxygen-based bleach

Instructions

How to Remove Food Coloring Stains From Carpet

  1. Scrape and Blot

    Scrape with a dull knife or spatula to lift away any solids. Do not rub the stain, as it will push the dye deeper into the fabric's fibers. Blot away as much of the stain as possible on liquid stains with a white paper towel. Add plain cool water to the stained area to dilute it (do not over-saturate) and continue blotting.

    Removing food coloring solids

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Treat with Oxygen-Based Bleach

    • Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and warm water per the package directions. This is usually one tablespoon per cup of water.
    • Stir to dissolve completely, and use a clean white cloth to apply the solution to the stained area from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep the stain from spreading.
    • Allow the solution to sit for at least 30 minutes, and then blot away.
    Using oxygen bleach solution to remove the food coloring stain

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Repeat if Needed and Allow to Dry

    Repeat your method of choice as many times as you see fit. Allow the area to air dry away from direct heat. If a bit of white residue appears from the oxygen bleach, vacuum it away.

    Vacuuming the carpet once the stain is gone

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Handling Food Coloring Stains

  • When using food coloring, always wear an apron or clothes you don't mind dirtying, and put down newsprint on surfaces at risk of coming into contact with the dye.
  • Take care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture in the cushion or filling can cause problems.
  • Begin by removing any solid matter as quickly as possible, then blot with a white paper towel dampened with cool water. Take care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture in the cushion or filling can cause problems.