How to Clean Up Easter Egg Dye Stains (and Remove It From Your Hands)

You’ll need more than just soap and water.

<p>Tanja Ivanova/Getty Images</p>

Tanja Ivanova/Getty Images

Dyeing Easter eggs can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy, but Easter egg dye can leave a mess. Whether you’re using food coloring or making your own natural dye, this enjoyable holiday project can turn your fingertips into every shade of the rainbow and be hard to get off.

We chatted with a cleaning expert to learn the best ways to remove Easter egg dye from our hands and surfaces, even for the most persistent stains.

How to Remove Easter Egg Dye From Your Hands

If you’ve been decorating eggs with the kids and find your fingertips are now stained in all shades of colors, you’ll want to do more than wash your hands with soap and water. Instead, you'll need to incorporate vinegar to help get your hands clean.

“Soap is a surfactant, so its job is to lift grease and grime to the surface,” says Melissa Maker, cleaning expert, author, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube. “Vinegar will help break down the dye, which is why it should be the first line of defense.”

Maker says the best technique is to start by soaking your hands in equal parts white vinegar and water for about a minute to help lift the dye. Then, rinse with soap and warm water.

What About Persistent Stains?

If vinegar with soap and water doesn’t cut it, other options exist to help clean up stains on your skin. Maker explains you can “create a scrub with equal parts baking soda, olive oil, and hand soap” to scrub your hands with before you rinse well and dry.

If the stain still doesn't budge, Maker says rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad will do the trick for those stubborn dyes.

How to Remove Easter Egg Dye from Fabric

If you get Easter egg dye on your clothes, towels, tablecloth, or other fabric material, make sure to use a stain remover ASAP.

"Standard laundry stain remover should do the job," says Real Simple Associate Home Director Leslie Corona. "Though I'd add if fabric gets stained, treat it immediately with stain remover, let it sit a few hours, toss it in the wash, and don't put it in the dryer until you know for sure the stain is gone or else the dryer will set the stain," she explains.

"Hydrogen peroxide could work, too, though that can be risky because it might lighten the fabric too much. It's better for white or light-colored fabrics," she says.

How to Remove Easter Egg Dye from Surfaces

Be sure to keep your surfaces protected by covering your workspace properly. Whether you are dyeing eggs on the counter or your kitchen table, you’ll want to place something over the top, such as newspaper or paper towels to help catch any spills.

But if some dye does get spilled, the first step is to wipe up any excess liquid with a towel or paper towels so you can see the extent of the stain. Doing so quickly might prevent stains in the first place if you get to it before the dye sets in the surface. To clean a stain from wooden furniture, mix equal parts non-gel toothpaste and baking soda and rub that on the stain. Then wipe it off with a cotton microfiber cloth. "I've heard that Bar Keeper's Friend works on water stains, too," Corona says.

To clean stone countertops, you can mix water and dishwashing liquid or use a specially formulated cleaner for granite, quartz, marble, or whatever surface you have. Be sure not to use vinegar on stone countertops or tabletops, as it can damage them.

Tips on Staying Dye-Free

Using a spoon to pick up the egg once it's in the food coloring can help, just be sure you don’t use your other hand to help ease it off. There is also the wire whisk hack seen on Instagram from @mrs.happygilmore where you place the hard-boiled egg inside before dropping it into the dye so you aren’t touching it with your fingers.

Or, skip the dyeing altogether by using creative egg decorating ideas that include stickers, tape, or adhesive to attach shapes and designs to the eggs without any mess.

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