Disappearing Colors

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In this challenge, learners figure out how to make a juice stain disappear. (Younger learners will definitely need assistance, and safety instructions are included in the PDF.) First they experiment with cleaning solutions (vinegar, dishwasher detergent, and bleach) and types of juice (beet, purple grape, and cranberry). The experimental surface is a laminated paper grid (grid design in PDF) on which they drop solutions. A cloth used to blot up juice from the grid becomes the surface for learners to test which solution they think will best make stains disappear. Some background information is provided about how some cleaners work by adding and removing hydrogen atoms (acid and base reactions, e.g. vinegar and dishwasher detergent), and others work by removing and adding electrons (oxidation-reduction reactions, e.g. bleach).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 5 plastic laminated paper grid templates
  • Sponges to wipe off plastic sheets
  • 30 plastic dropping bottles
  • bleach, vinegar, detergent solution
  • About 25 ml each of beet juice, purple grape juice and cranberry juice (not artificially colored)
  • Pieces of white muslin fabric to stain
  • Vinegar
  • Powdered dishwasher detergent
  • Clorox or uncolored generic bleach
  • Paper towels for spills
  • A container of clean water
  • A safe container to dump solutions into and seal (waste container)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
      • Solutions
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Sciencenter,

Funding Sources:

  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.
  • American Chemical Society