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Dyeing Easter Eggs the Clean Way with Vinegar

Did you know that the tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs in Springtime actually originated before the concept of Easter? Eggs are a universal symbol of new life, and colorfully-decorated (sometimes hidden!) Easter eggs have long been a hallmark of the holiday.

Many commercial Easter egg dyeing kits contain chemical coloring agents including the potentially-dangerous Orange Number 2 and Red Number 2. The good news? It’s easy to make your own egg dyeing kit with clean ingredients! Here’s how.

What You Need:
1 dozen white eggs
Paper towels or newspaper
Various heat-proof bowls/cups for dunking
Tongs or a slotted spoon
½ c. boiling water (for each desired color)
2 tsp. white distilled vinegar (for each desired color)
Natural liquid food coloring*

*It’s possible to order natural liquid food coloring online or to purchase it at specialty food stores. You could also make your own coloring agents using organic ingredients like purple cabbage, paprika, and blueberries!

First place all the eggs in a large pot with enough cold water to just cover them. Bring to a boil on high heat then lower and allow to gently boil for 10 minutes. When the eggs are cooked, pour off the hot water then immediately cover the eggs with cold water and ice to cool them down rapidly.

Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, remove from the pot and allow to air dry. In the meantime, boil a large pot of water. To each heat-proof cup, add ½ c. of the boiling water, 2 tsp. white distilled vinegar, and 10-20 drops of coloring until you reach a shade you like.

Allow the color cups to cool completely, then dye away! For the most saturated color, allow each egg to soak for about five minutes in the egg dye then remove carefully with tongs or slotted spoon. Although they won’t taste very good, the egg dyes are totally non-toxic; they will stain, so be sure to wipe up spills quickly.

How does the process work, and why does Easter egg dye always smell like vinegar? In actuality, vinegar is the secret ingredient! The acetic environment created by vinegar allows the coloring agent to actually bond to the egg’s calcium shell. The ideal pH balance for perfectly-dyed eggs is around 3-4, and adding vinegar to the dyeing solution does the trick.

We’d love to see pictures of your best-ever Easter eggs – share them with us over on the Facebook page! And be sure to tell us which natural food dyes have worked best for you.