9 Easy Ways to Banish Food Coloring Stains on Skin

Those who know me know that I hate messy things like glitter and kinetic sand. Food coloring ranks right up there for me too. I just hate how long it takes to clean up food coloring projects, especially the food coloring stains on kid’s hands! So I’ve compiled my 10 best hacks to remove food coloring for your skin, because you cant avoid food coloring 100% of the time when you have kids.

Shaving Cream

After washing your hands thoroughly, rub a small dab of shaving cream into the stain for 2 to 3 minutes. Press firmly as you rub. Then wash thoroughly again. You can repeat if necessary!

Distilled White Vinegar

Wash your hands thoroughly first. It’s best to dilute the vinegar with water. I prefer equal parts water and vinegar (i.e. one tablespoon of vinegar, one tablespoon of water). Using a rag or a cotton ball, rub the food coloring stain until it fades.

Baking Soda

Create a paste with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and one table spoon of water. Rub the paste into the food coloring stain for about 90 seconds. Rinse with cool water. Repeat if necessary. If the food coloring stain is large, you can use more baking soda and water with a 2 to 1 ration.

Rubbing Alcohol

Wash your hands thoroughly first. Then pour a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and rub the food coloring stain for about 90 seconds. Rinse and repeat if necessary!

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Nail Polish Remover

I prefer to use a cotton swab with nail polish remover because it can discolor other surfaces. Just saturate the cotton swab, then rub over the food coloring stain. It should begin to fade quickly. Repeat if necessary!


First, wash your hands thoroughly. Use a non-gel, whitening toothpaste and rub it into the stain for about 90 seconds. If it starts to dry out or get crusty, add more toothpaste. Rinse, and repeat if necessary.

Salt + Lemon

First, wash your hands thoroughly. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and salt to form a paste. Rub the paste on your skin in a circular motion for about 90 seconds. Note this method may sting if you have cuts on your hands!

Hand Sanitizer

Saturate a cotton swab or cotton ball in hand sanitizer and rub it over the food coloring stain. If the cotton becomes saturated, throw it away and get another! Repeat until the food coloring has completely faded.

Baby Oil

Put a few drops of baby oil on a cotton ball or kitchen rag and press it into your skin for 10 to 15 seconds. Then rub the stain until it begins to fade. If the cotton ball or rag becomes saturated in color, discard and use another!

Tips for Working with Food Coloring

  • Consider using latex gloves.
  • Purchase natural, skin safe food coloring.
  • Wear long sleeves to keep food coloring off your arms.
  • Let kids use food coloring only under close supervision!
  • Keep in mind that acidic and abrasive items like lemon juice and salt may irritate sensitive skin.
  • Check your hands for scratches and cuts before using food coloring.

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Do you have any magic methods for removing food coloring stains from your kids hands? Please share them with me in the comments! I’d love to add to the list.


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About the Author: Tung Chi