How to Get Tie-Dye Off Your Kid's Hands

Got stained hands after a tie-dye project? Remove the discoloration with these five effective methods, ranging from DIY fixes to professional products. 

Young boy showing hands stained with paint
Photo: Daniel Grill/Getty Images

Kids love creating groovy, abstract clothing with the tie-dye technique. And while we recommend that DIYers wear latex gloves while tie-dyeing, accidents sometimes happen, resulting in stained fingers and palms. Don't fret—your little one's hands won't be discolored for long. These five methods should help you say goodbye to dye.

How to Get Tie-Dye Off Skin and Hands

After your project, wash your hands with soap as soon as possible. General-use hand soap or dish soap should work just fine. Dye that hasn't set into the skin should trickle down the drain, but stubborn dried-on spots might stay behind. In this case, try one of these five other methods to get the dye off the skin and hands safely and effectively. (Note that they're all safe for little ones, but parents should watch out for skin sensitivity and irritation.)

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda can break down the active ingredients in tie dye. To start, create a paste by mixing a coin-sized amount of baking soda with water. Diluted baking soda boasts mild abrasive qualities and it's less harsh on sensitive skin. Then rub the mixture over dye-stained hands and scrub them thoroughly under running water. The tie-dye paint should be lifted from the skin.

2. Exfoliation

If you don't have baking soda, you can get tie-dye off of your skin with other abrasive materials. For example, mix sugar with hand lotion, rely on a pumice stone or grab your facial exfoliant from the bathroom. Scrubbing your hands with these items, then washing them under running water, should fade or completely remove the dye.

3. Oil-Based Items

Oil-based products also break down dye on the skin. They're almost as effective as baking soda and less harsh, so they won't leave the skin looking red and irritated. Start by grabbing some olive oil, oil-based lotion, or baby oil from the cupboard. Massage the product into your dyed skin for several minutes; you can use a washcloth or cotton ball so your hands don't get oily. Wash it off and repeat if needed.

4. Vinegar

Prepare to smell like vinegar if you use this method for getting tie-dye off your hands! Vinegar harmlessly removes dead cells—including the tie-dye—from your top layer of skin. Apply the product to your hands with a cloth or cotton ball, massaging it in for a few minutes. Wash your hands and repeat as needed. Note that this method might irritate sensitive skin.

5. Professional Products

Parents can buy professional stain-removing products online or at the store. Choose an over-the-counter product that's safe for the skin and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Dye remover wipes (like these) may work especially well—and they can also tackle hair-dye stains on the skin!

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