That pink-purple stain won't be permanent, as long as you work quickly.
Hands stained with red on a designed background with beets
Credit: Getty Images / ballyscanlon / xamtiw

You know beets are good for you. These brightly hued root vegetables are a little earthy, a little sweet and packed with vitamins and nutrients. Though they're in season during the winter months, they can also be found in stores nearly year-round, making them an easy and tasty addition to your dinner table. Yet if you've ever cooked with beets or dropped a beet in your lap or on the floor, you've probably found yourself wondering, do beet stains come out? The good news is yes, they do—as long as you work quickly. Read on for expert tips on how to get beet stains out of clothes, skin and cutting boards.

How to Get Beet Stains Out of Clothes

Start the cleaning process ASAP after a beet stain occurs, says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a professional house cleaning company.

The first step is to scrape off any excess beet material on your clothes. Then, blot the stain with a clean rag dampened with water and a little dish soap. (Be careful not to press down on any beet pieces while you're trying to remove them, as that will only deepen the stain.) If your beet stain is accompanied by grease—as with roasted beets with olive oil, or a tossed beet salad with oil-based dressing—you'll need to absorb some of the oil as well by sprinkling with baking soda or cornstarch. See more on how to how to get greasy food stains out of clothes.

Next, Peterson recommends treating the beet stain with stain remover and letting it sit 15 minutes before tossing the garment in the washing machine using cold water. After the cycle is finished, examine the stain closely: You want to avoid putting the garment in the dryer until the stain is fully removed, or else the stain may be permanently set. If the stain does not come out after one wash, try soaking the still-damp garment in a solution of oxygen-based bleach with cold water for eight hours. (Note: While oxygen bleach tends to be safe for all fabrics, including colored, it's best to test it first on an inconspicuous spot to avoid ruining your garment.) Then, wash again in cold water.

Depending on your garment's fabric, there are a few things to consider when thinking about how to remove beet stains from clothes. Cotton clothing will offer the most stain removal options for beet stains, as this fabric can endure hot or cold water, repeated washing and scrubbing. Wool, on the other hand, is much more delicate than cotton and cannot endure repeated washing. It also needs to be spread flat to dry. If you get beet stains on silk, it's best to take your garment to a professional dry cleaner. Silk is a delicate fabric that can easily be ruined if your stain removal efforts are too hostile, says Peterson.

How to Remove Beet Stains from Skin

Roasted beets are delicious, but the prep work required to peel and chop them will leave your hands stained an alarming shade of purple. To avoid this, wear gloves. Or, if it's too late and you're trying to determine how to remove beet stains from skin, try one of two easy methods. Your first option is to make a paste using baking soda and a little water, then rub it vigorously into your skin over the stained areas and rinse. A second option is to cut fresh lemon in half and rub the cut side over your stained skin. Either option should remove the beet stains, and you can wash and dry your hands normally afterward. (If you have any hangnails, scrapes or cuts on your hands, you may want to avoid the lemon method.)

How to Get Beet Stains Out of Cutting Boards

If your beets turn your cutting boards bright pink or purple, all is not lost. Peterson says the best solution is using trusty lemons, along with a pantry staple: coarse salt. Sprinkle the salt liberally over the board, then slice the lemon in half and use it to rub the salt into the board. Let it sit a few minutes before rinsing off and running through the dishwasher.