12 Effective Hacks To Help You Get Food Dye Off Your Hands

Food dye stains on the hands happen to the best and worst of cooks. And if you are working with your kids, be ready to deal with the big and small stains.

Stains are common household challenges. You’re working with dyes and paint and suddenly they are in unwanted places. Removing stains from surfaces like rugs, chairs, carpets, and clothes is much easier than removing stains from the skin.

Not to worry. I have put together a list of materials you can use to get food dye off your hands. Plus, these materials are inexpensive. A majority of them are somewhere in your kitchen cupboards and pantry and readily available in local stores. 

How to get food dye off your hands

1. Take a bath

Some food dyes are not so strong, and a warm shower with soap will be enough to take care of it. If it’s your kid who got the stain, you can quickly bathe them and wash their hands thoroughly.

2. Wash with laundry stain remover

For fresh food dye stains on your hands, wash them off with your laundry stain remover. Add some of the powder or liquid to a bowl of warm water and swish your hands in the water for up to 10 minutes. You can rub off the stain with a free hand at intervals.

3. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an award-winning household stain remover. It works for all surfaces including the skin, and it is easy to use. You can apply rubbing alcohol directory to your skin or with a cotton ball or old cloth.

For fresh stains, apply the alcohol over the stained area and rub gently. For older stains, apply the alcohol and leave it to absorb and loosen the stain for some minutes.

Afterward, wipe it off with a clean cloth. Make sure you wash your hands with a mild soap and water and moisturize generously.

4. Lemon juice and salt

As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to break the bank to get food dye off your hands. If you have lemon juice somewhere in your pantry, work it into the stain with salt to remove the stain.

Make a thick lemon juice-salt paste and massage it onto the stain using your fingers. You can rinse at intervals to check your progress.

However, keep in mind that lemon juice can be drying on the skin. When you are done, wash your hands with soap and water and moisturize.

5. Vinegar and baking soda

Vinegar and baking soda scrub is a good option for old food dye stains. Both substances are effective stain removers by themselves, together they do an excellent job.

Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and apply some to the stain. Scrub gently with a soft brush and rinse to see if you are making progress.

You may have to repeat this process more than once to finally remove the stain or fade it. When you are done, wash your hands with a mild soap and water and moisturize.

6. Scrub it off with vinegar and salt

If baking soda and vinegar scrub seems too harsh for your skin or if you don’t have baking soda, make a paste with vinegar and table salt. Dampen the stained area with water, then scrub it with the paste for a minute.

Rinse off the paste and check if the stain is still there. You can repeat the process if the food dye hasn’t gone off.

7. Rub it off with toothpaste

Any toothpaste will work but a non-gel toothpaste with baking soda will be a better option. First, wash your hands with warm water and soap, with more focus on the stain.

Don’t dry your hands after washing. Apply toothpaste to damp skin and rub on circular motions using your free hand or a clean washcloth.

Do this for about two minutes and wash off the toothpaste at intervals to check your progress. Repeat if necessary and moisturize.

8. Wipe it off with baby oil

If you have baby oil or any food-grade oil in the house, you should try it too. However, oils work for fresh stains. Soak a cotton ball with oil and wipe it over the stained area.

As the stain wipes off, the cotton ball comes off stained. Soak another cotton ball with oil and continue wiping until there is no stain. Afterward, wash your hands with a mild soap and warm water.

9. Sugar and lemon juice scrub

You can also make a scrub with sugar, lemon juice, and dishwashing liquid. Make the paste in a bowl and apply it to your hands. Rub it in with your free hand or a clean washcloth and rinse to see how much of the stain has gone off.

Apply more if the stain hasn’t gone off completely and wash your hands when you are done. Remember to moisturize your hand to keep it from drying.

10. Try shaving cream

Your shaving cream can also come to the rescue. Shaving cream contains peroxide, an active stain remover. Massage the cream into your skin and allow it to absorb the stain for about a minute. Afterward, wipe it off with a wet cloth. Repeat if necessary.

11. Hydrogen peroxide and soap

Put small flakes of soap in a small container and add hydrogen peroxide. Mix until you have a paste. Apply the paste onto the stain, massage it in, and wait for 10 minutes.

Wash the paste off with warm water. You can repeat the process if the stain hasn’t gone off completely.

12. Nail polish remover

Acetone nail polish remover is another powerful stain remover for food dye. Soak a cotton ball in the nail polish remover and apply the damp cotton ball over the stain.

Rub the cotton ball over the stain until it disappears. Afterward, rinse your hands with warm water and moisturize.

Tips to prevent getting food dye stains on your hands

  • Wear hand gloves when handling food dye
  • Wear long sleeves to protect your arms from stain
  • Always keep containers of food dye tightly covered to prevent it from spilling
  • Do not allow kids to handle food dry unsupervised
  • Use food dye progressively. Start with a small amount and build up gradually


Does hand sanitizer remove dye from your skin?

Hand sanitizer works just like rubbing alcohol to remove color stains from the skin. Moreover, it is tender and suitable for almost every skin type, including baby’s skin.

How long does it take to get food dye off the skin?

Without an external influence, it takes 24 to 36 hours to get food dye off your skin. But you can make it go away faster if you use a stain remover or any other agent that quickly wipes out stains.

Can food dye damage your skin?

Food dyes do not cause any permanent damage to the skin. However, they can interfere with the treatment of skin conditions like eczema. An example of such dye is yellow food dye.


If you are usually afraid of working with food dye with your kids, you can rest easy now. Food dyes are not permanent and do not pose any life-threatening risk whatsoever.

While you are shopping for your next food coloring adventure, get some gloves, and pick up some of these items as well.

It is better to be armed and ready before the food dye stains get you first. Most importantly, use these substances gently.

If anyone becomes too harsh for you or your kids, rinse it off and switch to another. Also, if you are dealing with an old stain and nothing seems to be working, wait it out. It will fade away eventually.

Another household hack to learn is how to get fish smell off your hands.

Thanks for reading.