How to Get Food Coloring Out of Carpet

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

Food coloring is dye that's safe to eat. Food companies use it to so their products look nice. If you spill food coloring on your carpeting, you basically just poured dye on it! Don't worry. You can try getting the stain out before hiring a professional cleaner.

Here's how to get food coloring out of carpet:

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  1. Clean up any kind of stain in your carpet as soon as you notice it. The longer stains have to set in, the harder they are to get out.
  2. Gently blot any excess spill with a paper towel. If there's a large amount of spill, you can use a wet vacuum to get up some of it.
  3. Wet a dry stain with a little cool water. Wait about a minute for the water to saturate the stain, and then blot gently with a paper towel. If the stain is coming out with just water, keep dampening and blotting until you get the stain out, or nothing more is coming out.
  4. Make a solution of one tablespoon white vinegar, one tablespoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and two cups (473 milliliters) of warm water. If your food coloring stain is red, use ammonia instead of vinegar [source: Goodhousekeeping]. Pour some of this solution onto a clean, white cloth and sponge the stained carpet. Dab the carpet dry with a paper towel. Repeat until the stain is gone, or nothing more comes off.
  5. Sponge any remaining stain alternately with a little rubbing alcohol and small amounts of warm water. Blot it dry after each time you wet it.
  6. Moisten the stained areas with three percent hydrogen peroxide. Let the hydrogen peroxide stand for about an hour. Blot and repeat as necessary.
  7. Pile a bunch of paper towels over the area when the stain is finally gone. Weigh down the paper towels with something heavy, like a stack of books. This will absorb all the moisture in about an hour.
  8. Sprinkle a little carpet freshener on the dry carpet, to make your cleaned carpet smell nice [source: Goodhousekeeping, FabricLink, Hilton].

If these suggestions don't work, you can always hire a professional carpet cleaner.

Originally Published: Jul 7, 2011

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Clean Food Coloring FAQ

How do you get food coloring out of carpet?
First, gently clean the color off your carpet as much as you can, using a white cloth to avoid further spread. Next, mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 2 cups of warm water. Mix well and pour some of the mixture onto the stained area. Dab it with a sponge until the whole color comes off. This might take a few tries to clean up completely.
Will hydrogen peroxide take the color out of carpet?
If you’re using diluted hydrogen peroxide of 3% concentration, that’s going to work fine to remove color stains off your carpet. Hydrogen peroxide solutions with concentrations of 6% or higher can damage your carpet and may even bleach out its dyes.
Does baking soda remove colored stains from carpet?
Yes, baking soda is a good cleaning agent. Just pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda on the stained area and leave it for about 4 to 6 hours. Then clean the spot using a damp rag or vacuum it.
Does vinegar remove food coloring?
Yes, the acetic acids in vinegar can clear off stubborn stains on your clothes and carpet. Pour some vinegar on a clean towel with microfibers. Simply rub the stained area. Rinse and reuse the cloth if the coloring doesn’t come off in one attempt. Repeat the process until the stains are gone.