A second way of removing the color from an eggshell is using a soap or detergent.  Detergents and soaps act by linking molecules to water, and thus removing them from surfaces. The soap molecule itself has a hydrophilic end (water loving, which binds to water) and a hydrophobic end (not water loving, which can bind to oils and other molecules). 

Using a soap or detergent to remove dye is not as quick and easy as using bleach, but has two advantages.  First, the shell is not affected to the degree that it would be with bleach, and can often be dyed well after acidification (quick soak in vinegar).  Second, it does not cause yellowing of the white areas.

Soaps, like Ivory soap, have long been used to safely wash eggs. They can be used to remove color, too.  Apply a few drops of Ivory to the shell, rub it well along with some water, and watch the dye come off.  You may need to repeat once or twice, and it can be hard to get the dye right next to the wax lines.  Rinse thoroughly, until the egg is no longer slippery, and allow to dry.

Spray cleaners, like Simple Green and Mrs. Meyer’s All Surface cleaner, can be sprayed directly on the egg.  The color will drip off with the cleaner.  Rinse and reapply if necessary. Then rinse well, until the shell is no longer slippery, and dry thoroughly.

If you have the large economy size of either cleaner, you can dip the egg into a jar of it as you would into dye, instead of spraying.

In either case, you may wish to use a soft toothbrush to remove little bits of dye in nooks and crannies. 

If you plan to do further dyeing, you should acidify the eggshell with a quick dip into vinegar. I’ve not had good luck with dyeing after washing with soaps and detergents –– the colors tend to be muted or pastel –– but others swear by this technique.

And be careful–soapy eggs are very slippery eggs!!!  They can easily squirt out of your hand and fall and break.

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Washing the Dye Away