Turmeric is often used as a natural way to dye clothes, so it makes sense that it would leave stains behind on clothing. But when cooking with turmeric, getting stains on your clothes is often unintentional. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. That’s why I’ve created this guide to explain how to remove turmeric stains from clothes.
There are various household products that you can use to remove turmeric stains from clothing, including bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, and even laundry detergent. But the best way to remove them just depends on if the stain is from turmeric powder or a liquid oil-based stain.
Removing liquid oil-based stains requires more work than removing just the colored stain alone. But don’t worry, as I’ll explain how to remove both types of stains in this article.
- Does Turmeric Stain Clothes?
- Are Turmeric Stains Permanent?
- Do Turmeric Stains Wash Out of Clothes?
- How to Remove Turmeric Stains from Clothes
- Does Vanish Remove Turmeric Stains?
- How to Remove Turmeric Stain From White Clothes
Does Turmeric Stain Clothes?
It’s very easy to get turmeric on your clothing when cooking or when eating foods that have turmeric in them. Turmeric usually comes in a bright yellow powdered form. The pigment that makes turmeric yellow is called curcumin.
Due to the curcumin pigment, turmeric can still leave behind yellow stains even when mixed with liquids, such as curry. And it’s because of this pigment, turmeric is often used as a natural way to dye clothing as well.
So yes, turmeric can stain clothes, especially white clothes in which the stain would be more noticeable. And because turmeric is used as a clothing dye, the stains can be harder to remove than other types of stains.
Are Turmeric Stains Permanent?
Although it may not be as permanent as chemical clothing dyes, turmeric can leave behind permanent stains, which is why it is so effective as a clothing dye. That means that even on a much smaller scale, such as a food stain, turmeric stains can still be permanent.
With that being said, it is important to act quickly if you want the best chance of removing the stain. Do not wash or dry the clothing without attempting to pre-treat and remove the stain. The heat from both the dryer and even hot water can set the stain and make it almost impossible to remove.
Even if you can remove the yellow color from the clothing, turmeric can also leave behind oily stains if used in food. Oil stains can be difficult to remove, especially when they dry. It may be necessary to treat the oil stain in addition to removing the color if you don’t want the stain to be permanent.
Do Turmeric Stains Wash Out of Clothes?
It’s not easy to get turmeric stains out of clothing by using water alone. The pigment curcumin is not water-soluble, so it can’t be removed with just water alone. Plus, water isn’t going to remove any oil stains left behind either.
But even washing the turmeric-stained clothing in the washing machine is not likely to be effective for removing the stain if you don’t pre-treat it first. Laundry detergent may help remove the stain some, but it’s not likely to remove it completely since it is diluted with water.
It is essential to pre-treat both the pigment stain and any potential oil stains as soon as possible before you toss the stained clothing into the washing machine. Otherwise, you may not be able to remove the stain completely, especially if it dries.
How to Remove Turmeric Stains from Clothes
Before treating the turmeric stain, you’ll want to try to remove as much of the turmeric as possible to keep the stain from spreading. If the stain is from turmeric powder, then try to dust off as much of the powder as you can either outside or over a trash can to prevent other surfaces from getting stained as well.
For liquid turmeric stains, use a paper towel to blot as much of the stain off as you can. Do not wipe or rub at the stain as this could cause it to spread or extend deeper into the fabric, which will make it harder to remove. After blotting the stain or dusting off the powder, try one or more of the following products depending on the type of stain.
1. Baking Soda
If the turmeric stain is oil-based, such as from curry or food containing turmeric, you will need to use a product to absorb some of the oil before you can remove the yellow color. For removing oil-based stains, baking soda is a very effective product.
To use baking soda to treat turmeric stains, sprinkle it on the stain and let it sit for several minutes to absorb some of the oil. The baking soda will form clumps when oil is absorbed. When no new clumps have formed, brush or rinse the baking soda off and check the stain.
If an oily stain remains, repeat the process until you’ve removed as much of the oil as possible. Then, treat the colored stain using another one of the methods below.
If you don’t have baking soda or it’s proving to be ineffective, you can also use cornstarch as a way to remove oil-based turmeric stains. Cornstarch works similarly to baking soda in at it can absorb and draw out some of the oil in the clothing.
All you need to do is sprinkle the cornstarch on the stain just like you would with baking soda and give it a little time to work. You may have to let it sit just a bit longer than baking soda, but it should still form clumps the way baking soda does.
Once the cornstarch has formed clumps, wipe or rinse it off the clothing and repeat the process if necessary. Then, follow up with another method below to remove the turmeric color from the clothing.
Just like baking soda and cornstarch, all-purpose flour can also absorb oil from liquid turmeric stains. Again, it may not be as effective as baking soda, but it still does a good job absorbing oil because it will form clumps as the oil is absorbed.
Use it just like baking soda and cornstarch. Sprinkle it on the stain and let it sit. Once you feel that all the oil has been absorbed, rinse or knock off the residue and check the stain. Repeat the process if necessary, then follow up with another method for removing the color.
Vinegar is a great all-purpose product for removing stains from clothes because it can be used for both oil-based stains and colored stains. When removing oil-based stains, you should still try to absorb as much of the oil as possible using one of the methods above, and then let vinegar to the rest.
Vinegar is so effective at removing turmeric and other stains from clothes because it has strong acidic properties. The acid found in the vinegar helps to break down the stain first. However, you should be aware that vinegar can remove some of the dye from clothing, especially from clothes that aren’t colorfast.
Vinegar should be safe to use on white fabrics and can help to brighten them up. But you will want to do a spot test on colored fabrics first to make sure that the vinegar doesn’t discolor them. To do a spot test, dip a cotton swab or cotton ball into the vinegar and dab it on a hidden area of the clothing, such as inside or near the seam. Then, let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes, then check for any damage.
If the vinegar is safe to use, fill a bowl with water and add 1 to 2 cups of vinegar, depending on the size of the stain. Stir the water to evenly disperse the vinegar, then submerge the clothing in the water. Let the clothing soak for up to an hour, then rinse the clothing in clean water and check the stain.
Repeat the process if necessary, or follow up with another method if the stain wasn’t removed. Be aware that the vinegar will leave behind a smell on the clothing, but the smell should disappear after the clothing is washed and dried. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, but it may leave behind a yellow tinge on white clothing, so use it at your discretion.
5. Lemon Juice
If the turmeric stain is small, lemon juice can be used in place of vinegar. This is a very effective method, especially if you get a stain on your clothing at a restaurant and don’t have any other cleaning products available, but you can use it at home as well.
Like vinegar, lemon juice has strong acidic properties and whitening properties that enable it to break down stains on both white and colored clothing. Still, it shouldn’t cause any bleaching or discoloration if it is rinsed off afterward.
To use it, just apply some lemon juice to a paper towel or cotton ball and use it to blot the stain. Let the lemon juice sit on the stain for several minutes to give it time to work. Finally, rinse off the lemon juice with water and repeat the process if necessary or follow up with another method if the stain isn’t removed.
6. Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer can also be used in a pinch or if you aren’t at home and don’t have other products available to use. However, it may not be as effective at removing a turmeric stain as other products. But, hand sanitizer contains alcohol which can help break down the stain without further staining the clothing.
Be aware that if the hand sanitizer contains any dyes or pigments, then it can stain the clothing, so it’s best to only use clear hand sanitizer, which will dry without leaving behind any additional stains.
To use it:
- Apply a bit of hand sanitizer directly to the stain.
- Gently rub it into the stain and let it sit for a few minutes to give it time to work.
- Rinse off the hand sanitizer and check the stain.
- Repeat the process if necessary or if you’re out, follow up with another product when you get home.
- Wash the clothing once the stain has been removed.
Bleach should be one of your go-to methods for removing the colored stains from clothing, but the type of clothing you have determines what bleach to use. For white clothes only, and only if the clothes can handle being bleached, then chlorine bleach can be used to remove the turmeric color.
Do not use chlorine bleach on colored clothing, as it will also remove the dye from the clothing. You can give non-chlorine bleach a try instead to remove the turmeric stain, even though the colored stain may not be noticeable depending on how dark the clothing is.
In either case, make sure you follow the directions on the bleach for removing stains to make sure that you dilute it properly with water. Bleach, especially chlorine bleach, can be a dangerous chemical so make sure that you protect yourself properly when using it as well.
Another thing to be aware of is that while bleach will remove the color of the turmeric stain, it won’t do much for removing the oil from oil-based turmeric stains. Before using bleach, use one of the methods above to absorb as much of the oil out of the clothing as possible.
8. Laundry Detergent
Even though laundry detergent in the washing machine won’t be super effective at removing a turmeric stain from clothing, you can use laundry detergent by itself as a pre-treatment by applying it directly to the stain.
Regular laundry detergent will take some of the colored stains out, but you will need to use an enzymatic laundry detergent to remove an oily stain left behind. Or, you can use one of the methods mentioned above for removing oily turmeric stains before pre-treating with laundry detergent.
To use laundry detergent to remove turmeric stains, apply a little to the stain and use a soft-bristled toothbrush or scrub brush to gently scrub it into the fabric. Remember to do this before putting the clothing in the washing machine since water will have little effect on removing turmeric stains.
Also, before washing, rinse off the laundry detergent to see how effective it was, then repeat the process if necessary. Once the stain has been removed, then you can proceed with washing the clothing as you normally would.
9. Wash and Dry
Washing and drying alone will not remove a turmeric stain from clothing, but you can wash and dry the clothing once you’ve used one or more of the above methods to pre-treat the stain. Washing the clothing in the washing machine can help remove any remaining stain residue that has been loosened, as well as remove the pre-treatment product from the clothing,
When it’s time to wash the clothing, make sure you use a cold water cycle as hot water could set any remaining stain. You can use your normal detergent or an enzymatic laundry detergent for more cleaning power, especially if the stain is oily.
You can also add chlorine bleach to the wash as long as you only wash white clothing and the clothing can handle bleach. Otherwise, use non-chlorine if you feel that it is necessary. Once the clothing has been washed, check to make sure that all of the turmeric stains have been removed before you dry it.
If the stain persists after washing, repeat the pre-treatment process before washing a second time. Once the stain is gone, you can dry the clothing, but if you do so before the stain is gone, it can permanently set the stain.
Air-drying is the best option if you can’t tell whether or not the stain is gone, as the stain will be less likely to be set that way and you can continue to try to remove it if necessary. If you’re confident that the stain is gone, you can dry the clothing in the dryer.
Does Vanish Remove Turmeric Stains?
If you have some at home, then Vanish Stain Remover can also be very effective at removing turmeric stains. To use it, add a little to a tub of water along with some laundry detergent and let the stained clothing soak for a few hours.
After the clothing soaks, gently scrub the stain with a rag or a soft-bristled brush to remove it. Wash the clothing if the stain has been removed. If not, repeat the process or follow up with another stain removal method.
How to Remove Turmeric Stain From White Clothes
Although turmeric stains are the most noticeable on white clothes, they can also be easiest to remove, provided that the clothing can handle being bleached. Bleach is the most effective way to remove a turmeric stain from white clothes, but it should not be used on delicate fabrics, so check the care tag first to make sure it is safe.
Remember that bleach doesn’t remove oil stains either, so you may still need to pre-treat the stain with another product before simply bleaching it. If the clothing can’t handle bleach, you can also soak it in a mixture of water, vinegar, and laundry detergent or dish soap to remove the stain.
Turmeric can be one of the tougher stains to remove can clothes since it is sometimes used to dye them. But with quick action and the right products, you should be able to remove a turmeric stain and save your clothing from being stained permanently. If you enjoyed this article, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!