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Before I tell you about the ultimate skin stain remover, I want you to picture this scenario with me for a moment.

You get your kids ready for a family reunion, knowing full well that there will be many pictures taken. So you take extra time on hair, clothes, the works.

You get them carefully loaded in the car, watching closely for any hair-clip-pulling shenanigans through the rear-view mirror. You decline several whines for snacks, knowing that the minute you hand them food their carefully-selected outfits will be covered in all manner of mess.

Upon arrival at said reunion, you remind the kids more than once (kindly, and oh-so-patiently, I’m sure) that there is to be no playing until after pictures.

You have your back turned for a fraction of a second when a well-meaning relative hands your kiddo a cup of red Kool-aid. The face you so carefully washed before leaving home is now marred by a HUGE. Red. Mustache.

Thanks, Uncle Marv.

Now your kiddo will look like The Joker in all of the photos from the reunion.

Or WILL she??

I have come across many methods for skin stain removal in my days of motherhood. And MANY of them work! But I’ve found that toothpaste is one of the BEST options for removing anything from Kool-aid, to Popsicles, to Sharpie. Here’s why:

  • You always have it on hand at home.
  • It’s totally fine for use around the mouth (which is where most of my kids’ skin stains end up).
  • When you’re dealing with a situation like our little family reunion one above, you are more likely to have toothpaste stashed in your suitcase than rubbing alcohol!

So here is a quick rundown of how we remove skin stains using toothpaste:

skin stains before

(The Professor ate a popsicle with specific instructions to make a mess on his face.  He had a blast!) 

Note: As with anything that you put on your kids’ skin, be cautious the first time you try this.  My kids’ faces are not irritated by this at all, but that might not be the case for everyone.

toothpaste and washcloth for skin stain removal

All you need is a washcloth and toothpaste.  (I use whitening toothpaste.)

toothpaste on washcloth

Plop some toothpaste on the washcloth and add a little water.

lathering toothpaste on washcloth

Work up a lather and give the stains a gentle scrub. (You might have to repeat for the more stubborn stains, but I rarely need to).

skin stains after

And voila!  The stains are gone!

But that’s not all!

This method also works for removing Sharpie from skin.

A while ago, Ladybug decided that it would be a good idea to color all over her arm, belly, and face with black Sharpie.  (It never ceases to amaze me how much trouble a two-year-old can get into in such a short amount of time.)

toothpaste vs sharpie, before

Her wrist got the worst of it, so I snapped a quick “before” picture in case my skin stain removal method actually worked.  I must admit…I was a little bit skeptical.  I wasn’t sure that the end result would be worth an impressive “after” picture.

With nothing to lose (since I knew from previous experience that Ladybug’s skin isn’t sensitive to the toothpaste method), I grabbed a washcloth, tube of toothpaste, and went to work.  In less than 30 seconds, and with minimal scrubbing, Ladybug’s arm was clean.  No sign of Sharpie.

toothpaste vs sharpie, after

Fancy that! I was able to take an “after” picture after all.

The toothpaste also worked like a charm on her face.  For some reason, the Sharpie on her belly was a little more stubborn, but would have come off with some scrubbing (if Ladybug hadn’t been so ticklish).  Unfortunately, the mouse pad that she decorated with Sharpie did not fare nearly as well.

cherry pitter and bowl

In addition to Sharpie, toothpaste can also take care of berry and cherry stains left on skin. When the kids and I make our favorite cherry fruit leather together (click here for the recipe), I always pull out the toothpaste when it’s time to wash our hands afterwards.

And, if I haven’t convinced you of the awesomeness of toothpaste, here is one last testimonial:

VIPKId Teacher

Ever since I started working for VIPKid, I have been wearing bright red or bright pink LipSense to help my mouth be more visible on screen. After class, I usually just wait until it starts to flake off and then remove the remainder with a wipe. But there are some days when I need to get rid of the lipstick immediately after teaching and, as you know if you’ve worn LipSense before, this can be a challenge if you don’t have Oops Remover on hand.

One morning, my usual methods weren’t working and I didn’t want to get my new tube of remover all gross with SO MUCH lipstick to take off.

Toothpaste to the rescue.

With a little scrubbing, it worked like a charm. (Sorry, I have no pictures for you on this one. Maybe next time.)

I hope that this tip can help you save some minutes so that you can savor moments. (You can enjoy the family reunion instead of living in fear of Uncle Marv’s generosity.)


  1. OMG Stephanie, you just made me smile. I love reading your adventures and misadventures in you blog. So happy the Royer family is doing so well. Hugs to all! 😍 Mrs. Woody

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