As much as we love food coloring, as a baker, chances are you ended up having a food coloring “incident” at one point or another. Food dyes can easily stain your hands, clothes or even carpet due to their highly concentrated nature. The good news is that those stains can almost always be removed with the right ingredients and some patience.

Regardless of where the dye ended, it is really important to start the cleaning process as quickly as possible. Food colorings dry fast. The longer you wait and the more difficult it will be to get rid of the stain.



If you end up with food coloring on your skin, rinse it right away with water and soap to easily get rid of the dye before it dries.

When rinsing is not sufficient, soak a piece of paper towel or a wash cloth in White Vinegar and rub gently over your skin. Chans the paper towel or rinse the washcloth regularly and repeat until the color is gone. Rinse well with water to avoid any skin irritations.

For more persistent stains, grab some Baking Soda and add a little bit of water to it to make a paste. Gently rub the mixture on your skin, alternating with a paper towel or washcloth soaked in White Vinegar. Make sure to rinse your skin really well with water when switching between Baking Soda and White Vinegar and after removing the stain. Do not rub your skins too hard. These precautions will help preventing skin irritations. 

You can get inspired by professional decorators and start wearing disposable gloves to avoid staining your hands too often, but be aware that gloves can make your hands more slippery and you might need time to adjust, especially when piping.




As soon as you notice food coloring on a piece of clothing, rinse it under cool running water to get rid of as much of the color as possible. It is important not to rub the stain as this might push the color deeper into the fabric.

If the garment material is machine washable, start by soaking it overnight in cold water mixed with a small amount of heavy-duty laundry detergent. Rinse with cold water and machine wash as usual.

If the stain is not completely gone after the first wash, soak the garment again, however this time use a solution of Water and Oxygen Bleach (1 part Oxygen Bleach to 10 parts Water). Let the garment soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Rinse with cold water and machine wash as usual.

For more delicate fabrics such as silk and wool, bring your clothes to dry clean.

Generally speaking, avoid wearing your favorite clothes when working with food coloring. Cake and cookie decorating is always is a great time to put all of the old t-shirts laying in the back of your closet and put them to good use.




Removing food coloring stains on carpet and upholstered furniture requires a lot more patience and time. It’s best to cover them with plastic before starting decorating if you can. 

In a well-ventilated area, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing 1 tsp Dish Washing Liquid Soap, 1 tsp Ammonia, and 2 cups Lukewarm Water. Exercise caution when handling the ammonia and make sure not to breathe near it. 

Once the solution is ready, dip a white cloth into it and use it to sponge the stain by very gently pressing back and forth on the stain. Do not rub the white cloth on the stain to avoid rubbing the color deeper into the fabric and the stain settling in. Use a clean paper towel to gently dry the carpet or piece of upholstery. Let dry for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with a clean side of your wash cloth and a new piece of paper towel until the stain is gone. 

Caution: When trying to clean any fabric (clothing, carpet or upholstery), always test your cleaning solution on a small hidden area first to make sure it will not damage your material.