How to Remove Food Coloring Stains (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow) From Carpet
Last Updated: March 7, 2023
In this post, I’ll show you EXACTLY how to remove red, blue, green, or yellow food coloring stains from carpet in 2 steps MAX.
If you clean the stain immediately, or if your carpet has good stain resistance properties, you'll probably be able to remove the stain simply by cleaning the stained area with a spotter (step 1).
If the stain is old/dried, or your carpet has poor stain resistance properties, you will likely have to use a stain removal method after cleaning the stained area with a spotter.
Whether your food coloring stain is old, new, dried, big, or small, I'll show you how to remove it in two steps. Always start with step 1. If step 1 doesn't work, proceed to step two.
Step 1: Remove Food Coloring Stains With a Spotter
When someone asks me how do I remove [insert random spot/stain here] from my carpet, the first thing I always tell them is to start with a really good spot removal method.
Spot removal is the process of using a cleaning agent (spotter) to get the contaminants that cause stains (dyes/pigments) out of the carpet.
Basic spot removal can be done with common store bought spotters like Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover, TriNova Spot Remover, Resolve, or Spot Shot. When using these store bought spotters, simply follow the directions on the bottle.
These store bought spotters work reasonably well. However, if you are looking for a highly effective spot removal method, I recommend checking our my How to Remove Spots From Carpet Just Like a Professional Carpet Cleaner article.
Step 2 - Remove Permanent Food Coloring Stains From Carpet
If you were able to fully remove the food coloring stain in step 1, congratulations - your carpet is super stain resistant!
If you have completed step 1 but were left with a permanent food coloring stain, not to worry, you are not alone, and You'll be able to remove the remaining stain with this next step.
Whether your stain is red, blue, green, yellow, or some other color, the stain is caused by millions of microscopic dye molecules that have become permanently attached to the carpet fibers.
There is likely no way that we can get these dye molecules out of our carpet, so instead of removing them, we are going to destroy them using a chemical reaction.
Step 1 - Gather your supplies. 6% strength hydrogen peroxide - I am using salon grade hydrogen peroxide (also know as 20 volume clear developer). You will also need household ammonia cleaner.
Step 2 - Spray the 6% hydrogen peroxide liberally around the stained area.
Step 3 - Add a couple sprays of household ammonia cleaner to the stained area. The high pH of the ammonia will help activate the hydrogen peroxide.
Step 4 - Cover the stained area with a piece of plastic wrap.
Step 5 - Place a pot of hot tap water on top of the plastic wrap. The water temperature should be between 50C - 70C (122F - 158F). The hot water will help activate the hydrogen peroxide.
Step 6 - Check the stain removal progress every 30 minutes. These food coloring stains took 90 minutes to completely remove.
Step 7 - Using a white cotton towel, or a mini wet/dry vacuum, extract/absorb the remaining hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia from the carpet.
Step 8 - Allow the carpet to fully dry and voila, the stains are gone!
Do not dilute the 6% hydrogen peroxide or household ammonia.
Do not use this method on fine materials such as wool, silk, or other natural fibers. Contact a professional cleaner when cleaning such materials.
test this method in an inconspicuous area on your carpet before using. This can be done on a piece of scrap carpet, or in the corner of a closet.
Do not use this method in direct sunlight. Close the blinds in your home before using hydrogen peroxide on your carpet.
When using household ammonia, it is best to open a window for ventilation. Household ammonia has a pungent odor and can be slightly irritating on the eyes.
The odor caused by the household ammonia will disappear quickly as it dries and evaporates.
Household ammonia does not have to be rinsed from the carpet after cleaning because it completely evaporates (turns into ammonia gas) and escapes to the atmosphere.
Hydrogen peroxide does not have to be rinsed from the carpet because it completely breaks down into oxygen and water.
Hydrogen peroxide and ammonia will leave zero residue in the carpet after using (which makes this method very safe for children, people, and pets)
Never mix household ammonia cleaner with bleach. This mixture produces a toxic gas called chloramine that can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
Use these methods at your own risk!
Let me know if you have any questions by using the contact me page, or by commenting on the YouTube video above. I'm always happy to help!