How to Remove Turmeric Stains

Water being poured from a glass onto a white cloth stained with turmeric, with a bottle of vinegar in the background

If you’ve ever cooked an Indian dish at home, you have probably used turmeric in the kitchen. This flavorful spice has also grown in popularity as a health supplement for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, allergies, depression, inflammation, and others. Whether you use turmeric for cooking or for your health, knowing how to remove turmeric stains is a good skill to know.

Turmeric is a powdered spice often found in curry powder. The main ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is why turmeric leaves yellow stains. Even though turmeric is an organic compound, it isn't water-soluble, so cleaning up stains requires a stain remover with more muscle.

While it adds a distinctive taste and luscious color to your food, turmeric stains are difficult to remove, whether fresh or powdered. For the best stain-removing results, you must act fast—treat turmeric stains as soon as you notice them. Follow this guide to remove turmeric stains from various household items.

How to Remove Turmeric Stains From Dishes and Counters

If running your dishes through the dishwasher doesn’t remove the stain, it’s time for plan B. Remove the turmeric stain with a solution of two parts hot water and one part bleach or vinegar. Let the dishes soak in the solution overnight. The stain should be gone by morning. This tip also works for plastic, glass, and ceramic dishes, blenders, and food processor bowls.

It’s easy to accidentally spill turmeric on the counter while making your favorite tea or recipe. If you notice the spill when it happens, wipe it up immediately! If you don't get to the turmeric fast enough, it can leave a stain. Here's how to remove turmeric stains from most countertops:

  • Combine baking soda and water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Scrub the stained area with a clean, damp cloth using circular motions.
  • Wipe the counter down with a damp cloth.

If baking soda doesn’t do the trick, try lemon juice or vinegar. Again, double-check that these cleaners are safe for your countertop material before using them. Finish up by giving your countertops a healthy cleaning to minimize bacteria and other germs.

How to Remove Turmeric Stains From Kitchen Cabinets

Curcumin, the stain-causing ingredient in turmeric, can sometimes stain your kitchen cabinets. Light-colored cabinets can be more of a challenge to clean than stained or darker cabinets, but baking soda will usually get rid of the yellow stains. Here's how to remove turmeric stains from kitchen cabinets that are painted or stained:

  • Mix water and enough baking soda to create a thick paste.
  • Rub the paste onto the turmeric stain and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Wash the stained area with dish soap and water to remove the baking soda residue and stain.
  • Wipe down the cabinet with a damp cloth.

If the baking soda paste doesn't remove the stain, dampen a magic eraser and rub the stained area gently. Denatured alcohol is another stain remover you can try if the stains are older and more stubborn. Whitening toothpaste can also work wonders on tough stains, and it's gentle enough to use on stained cabinets.

How to Remove Turmeric Stains From Carpet

When you're learning how to remove turmeric stains from a carpet, handling the spill right away is your priority. For fresh stains that are still damp, begin by blotting up what you can with a paper towel. Grab some dish soap, baking soda, and a damp cloth, and let's get to work.

  • Pour enough baking soda on the carpet stain to cover it completely.
  • Let the baking soda absorb the wet stain for five minutes.
  • Use a butter knife to scrape away the layer of baking soda.
  • Mix liquid dish soap and water and dip a cloth in the cleaning solution.
  • Scrub the area until the stain is gone, and wipe down the area with a clean, damp cloth.

Baking soda is also effective for removing dried turmeric from a carpet. Begin by dampening the stained area to rehydrate the turmeric, and follow the steps above. For stubborn dried stains on light carpets, baking soda can even help whiten the area naturally. You can learn more about keeping your carpets clean with our carpet cleaning guide.

How to Remove Turmeric Stains From Nails and Skin

Cookware, cabinets, and carpet aren't the only places you could find turmeric stains. When you're cooking with the spice, you may also find stains on your skin and nails. Vigorously washing your hands will help, but sometimes you need more firepower. Here's how to remove turmeric stains from skin or nails using safe, gentle ingredients:

  • Use rubbing alcohol to remove as much turmeric from your hands and nails as possible.
  • Make a paste using lemon juice and baking soda and rub it into the stains on your skin. Rinse your hands with warm water.
  • Soak your nails in a solution of warm water and dish soap for up to 10 minutes for stubborn nail stains.

All that alcohol, soap, and water should remove all the turmeric from your hands, but they can also leave your skin dehydrated. Follow up with a skin moisturizer to protect your hands and nails.

How to Remove Turmeric Stains From Clothes

If you ever get powdered turmeric or curry sauce on clothing, treat it ASAP. For the best chance of removing a turmeric stain from clothes, here's what to do:

  • Run cold water over the stain.
  • Soak the stain in cold water with mild detergent for 20 minutes.
  • Wash the clothing in cold water with regular laundry detergent.
  • Line-dry in the sun to help the stain fade.

If you’re at a restaurant, request a slice of lemon and apply it to the stain. Let the lemon juice work on the stain for 15 minutes before rinsing it with cold water. Once you are home, treat the stain using the steps above. Learn how to tackle more cooking stains on clothes with our helpful greasy stain remover guide.

Contact Molly Maid for Your Cleaning Needs

Now that you know how to remove turmeric stains, you may be eager for more cleaning tips. Whether you do it yourself or invest in our professional cleaning services, we can help. With decades of experience in the home cleaning business, we have learned everything it takes to keep a house clean and tidy. Get your free online estimate today and start enjoying a cleaner home and more free time to do the things you like.

Need more quality home services? Call any of our family of Neighborly® home service brands for all your home repair and maintenance needs.

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