How to Remove Food Coloring from Walls and Hardwood Floors


Stephanie asked: How do I remove food coloring from white walls and hardwood floors? Kids!

Food coloring is a permanent dye and can be extremely difficult to remove, but when you’re working with hard surfaces like walls and hardwood floors the odds are in your favor that you’ll be able to clean it. Although there are many commercial stain removers available, this simple home solution might be one of the best.

You Will Need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Clean white towels
  • Soft brush or toothbrush
  • Clean spray bottle (optional)

Steps to Remove the Food Coloring:

  1. Before you begin, spot test peroxide in a hidden area on each surface you need to clean. Because peroxide is a natural bleaching agent, it’s particularly important not to skip this step on colored surfaces.
  2. Apply peroxide to stain. You can spray it directly onto the surface or use a towel to wipe it on.
  3. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to give it time to work. Be especially diligent during this step when cleaning hardwood floors, as any moisture left on them can leave a mark. If you don’t have a good (undamaged) seal on the floor, use at your own risk. (See tips and advice for helpful hints.)
  4. For textured wall surfaces, use the brush to work the peroxide into crevices. For other surfaces, wipe the stain with a clean white towel. As soon as you see color transfer, switch to a clean surface of the towel.
  5. Rinse by wiping with a clean cloth moistened with plain water. A mild soap or detergent can also be added to help clean the surface.
  6. Dry thoroughly.
  7. Repeat as needed until all the color has been lifted.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If your hardwood floor doesn’t have a good seal, you may find it necessary to sand the floor lightly with fine grit paper until the food coloring is gone. From there, simply reapply a wood stain and finish to protect the floor.
  • To avoid leaving water marks on hardwood floors, simply wet a towel with peroxide and scrub the floor with it. Turn the contact surface of the towel frequently to prevent the stain from spreading.  Dry the floor thoroughly when finished.
  • When determining how long to leave the peroxide to set on the stain, err on the side of caution. You can remove it early and reapply much easier than you can fix color removal from leaving it on the surface for too long.


  1. Only thing I’ve tried that worked! Absolute life saver!!!

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