How To Remove Turmeric Stains from Clothes?

Turmeric stains can be removed from fabric by directly applying the liquid detergent to the affected areas. Then, add a few drops of water and gently brush it with a soft-bristled brush. After pre-treating, put the clothes in the washer for a thorough wash.

Key Takeaways

  • Turmeric stains are the toughest to deal with, so you may need to spot clean as well as run a pre-wash cycle.
  • Treatment of stains as soon as possible is the key to eliminating them.
  • You can remove the turmeric stains by either using a liquid detergent, suitable fabric stain removers, or other home remedies.
  • Read the care label before using stain removers or putting your clothes in the washer.

Fact: Turmeric stains are considered as oxidisable stains, so applying a solution of an oxidizing agent such as hydrogen peroxide to the stained area and rubbing it gently can eliminate stains (1).

How to remove turmeric stains from clothes?

Turmeric in powdered or liquid form (curry) can leave adamant stains behind.

If these stains are not treated instantly, they are likely to stick to your fabric for a long time.

Here’s how you can get rid of turmeric stains on clothes.

Step 1: Read the Care Label

Reading the care label on your fabric or clothes helps you figure out the right way to wash them.

Some fabrics may allow machine washing, while others may only recommend dry cleaning.

So, spend a quick 30 seconds or so going through the care label.

This not only helps you to avoid ruining the fabric but also ensures that you get the right results post-wash.

Step 2: Pretreating the turmeric stains over the garment’s surface

In order to spot-clean the turmeric stains, apply some liquid detergent or diluted vinegar to the affected areas and gently scrub the stains with a damp towel or a soft-bristle toothbrush. Next, rinse the clothes under clean water before placing them in the washer.

Pretreatment is a crucial step to getting rid of turmeric stains from clothes. 

Turmeric stains caused by liquids, such as curries or gravies, should always be spot-cleaned right away.

Note: The oily or greasy substance can cause them to spread during the pre-treatment. Therefore, it is recommended to blot the stains using a paper towel or any other soft cloth.

Here are some well-known methods to pre-treat and spot clean turmeric stains.

things you can use to remove turmeric stains

Water treatment

This method can be used when you don’t have access to any other solution to treat them instantly.

In other words, “water treatment” simply means that you just treat your garment with water to remove excess turmeric stains.

Pour a few drops of water over the stained surface and place a napkin, handkerchief, or paper towel over it and let it soak for some time.

Apply more water and gently rub the stained surface with a cloth. Make sure you do not spread it around the surface.

Repeat the step a couple of times to lighten the stain and wash them later in a washing machine or simply hand wash the clothes.

Liquid detergent

Apply the liquid detergent directly over the stains and let it settle for a minute or so, then use a soft-bristled brush and rub the surface. You can use a few drops of water in this step.

Let it sit for a while, then rinse the stained area of the fabric in clean water.

Stain remover

Using a fabric stain removal solution is the best option to remove stubborn food stains from your clothes.

Apply the solution over the stained area evenly and leave it to settle for a couple of minutes.

Next, pour a few drops of water on it and rub it gently using a sponge or a toothbrush.

Lastly, soak the affected garment portion in clean water for ten minutes before you rinse it and put it in for the final wash.

Dishwasher liquid soap

Dishwasher soaps are specifically formulated to treat food stains. They not only work on utensils and cutlery but are also used to treat stains on clothes, especially food stains.

With that said, these types of solutions may not be suitable for some fabric types, such as delicates.

A dishwash liquid is quite effective in breaking down the stained particles caused by food or its ingredients, such as turmeric.

Distilled vinegar

Take a small bowl and fill it with clean water. Now add a few drops of distilled vinegar and liquid detergent.

Stir it well to mix the solution with water. Place the stained portion of the fabric into the solution and leave it to settle for a few minutes.

Remove the fabric and gently rub the surface using a soft brush or a toothbrush.

Apply a few drops of liquid detergent over the surface and let it settle for some time.

Rub the surface and rinse it with clean water before you put the garment in for washing.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can be quite effective in treating oil based i.e. liquid turmeric stains, from the fabric’s surface.

Make a paste of baking soda and apply the solution evenly over the stained surface.

Leave it to settle for at least 20 to 30 minutes and pour in a few drops of clean water.

Next, gently rub the stained area with a soft brush.

Finally, rinse the garment with clean water before a final wash.

Rubbing alcohol

Apply a few drops of “rubbing alcohol” evenly over the stained surface and leave it to settle for 5 minutes.

Then, pour a few drops of clean water and liquid detergent over the stained area.

Now, use a soft cloth or a toothbrush and start rubbing the affected areas for a couple of minutes in a circular motion.

Once you are done working on the stained surface, soak the stained portion in a bowl of clean water mixed with detergent for at least 20 minutes and rinse it thoroughly.

Now put them in the washer for the final wash cycle.

Hand sanitizer

Similar to rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers too have alcohol-based properties and can be applied over stained surfaces.

Hand sanitizers are gentle on your skin as well as the fabrics. 


Standard white toothpaste is another home remedy to treat turmeric stains. In most cases, this practice is effective, and it is used by many.

Here’s how the toothpaste method works to remove stains.

  • Take a toothbrush and add some paste to the bristles.
  • Start by applying it over the stained surface in a circular motion for a minute or two.
  • Leave it to settle for another couple of minutes and pour a few drops of water.
  • Rinse the stained area with clean water and put them for a wash.

Bleaching Solution 

This method is only applicable to fabric suitable for bleaching. Avoid using bleaching compounds on delicate fabrics such as wool and silk.

Bleach will be the best and simplest method to remove turmeric stains.

The process of applying bleach is fairly simple. Here’s how it works.

  • Start by applying diluted bleach to the stained areas and letting it sit for 2 to 3 minutes, but not more than that.
  • Apply the liquid detergent, add a few drops of water, and work on the stains using a soft brush or cloth.
  • Pour clean water into the areas that you worked on.
  • Put the clothes in the washer for the final wash.

Lemon Juice

Pour a few drops of lemon juice over the stains and leave them to do their job.

Apply a few drops of water and a suitable liquid detergent, then spread them evenly over the surface.

Use a soft brush and rub the stained surface for a couple of minutes.

Rinse it with clean water and let the garment soak for 30 minutes in a bowl filled with a mixture of water and detergent.

Now, rinse the clothes and put them in the washing machine.

Note: Always refer to the care label of your garments before choosing any of the above-mentioned methods for pre-treating.

Step 3: Put your clothes in the washer for the final wash

Once you are done pre-treating the clothes, put them in the washer.

It is best to wash the stained items separately and not with other fabrics, as the other fabrics may attract stains.

Step 4: Set the right wash cycle

Depending on the fabric type, set the right temperature and wash cycle.

If you have referred to the care label, this should be easy, and if you are unsure, then try to stick to the cold water wash and delicate cycle.

Step 5: Run the final wash cycle

Hit that start button and let the washer complete the final wash cycle.

Step 6: Dry your clothes as per the recommended method

The final step is to dry the fabric as per the recommended method on the care label.

If you are unsure about the right method to dry the fabric, simply air dry them by hanging them on a clothesline and avoiding direct sunlight.

How I managed to remove turmeric stain from a white cotton T-shirt?

If you ever find yourself grappling with a turmeric stain, here’s a tried and tested method that worked wonders for me.

The Turmeric Stain Encounter

It all started with a culinary experiment gone wrong.

As I was preparing a delicious curry infused with turmeric, disaster struck, and a bright yellow splash of turmeric landed on my pristine white t-shirt.

Here’s what the t-shirt looks like before treating the stains.

turmeric stained portion of my t-shirt

The Vanish Oxi Action Savior

vanish oxi action

I prepared a bucket of hot water and added a little bit of Vanish Oxi action, a product known for its stain-fighting prowess.

Next, I dabbed the affected areas of the stain with Vanish Oxiclean mixed with warm water, ensuring the product was well-distributed.

After giving it a gentle scrub to work the magic, I was ready for the next step.

The Soaking Ritual

With the shirt thoroughly treated, I carefully immersed it into the bucket of hot water and let it soak for a generous 45 minutes.

During this time, I kept my fingers crossed, hoping the stain would surrender to the power of Vanish Oxi action.

The Scrubbing Ritual

After the nerve-wracking wait, it was time for the moment of truth.

I took the shirt out of the bucket and gave it another round of scrubbing.

To my surprise and delight, the turmeric stain had visibly lightened!

The Result: Success!

When the dryer buzzed, I quickly retrieved my once-stained t-shirt, and to my astonishment, it was restored to its original pristine white!

The turmeric stain had vanished, leaving behind no trace of its vibrant yellow hue.

Here are the before and after wash results (Luckily I have the after wash image).

before and after turmeric stain removal

Different fabrics may require different approaches for treating turmeric stains

Different fabrics require different approaches for treating turmeric stains i.e., for cotton and linen, use mild detergent and water, you can even use oxidizing agents in the worst case while synthetic fabrics need caution with mild detergent.

On the other hand, delicate and sensitive fabrics like wool require gentle blotting with cold water and detergent.

Likewise, treat silk delicately with cold water and detergent.

Note: For delicate or vintage fabrics, consult a professional cleaner and avoid harsh chemicals or oxidizing agents.

Tips for Delicate Fabrics

  • Always test any stain removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to check for any adverse reactions.
  • Blot the stain gently instead of rubbing it to prevent spreading and further damage.
  • Use cold water for stain treatment, as hot water can set the stain.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, or strong oxidizing agents on delicate fabrics.

When to Seek Professional Cleaning?

If the turmeric stain persists after trying gentle stain removal methods, or if you are dealing with delicate or valuable fabrics, it’s best to seek professional cleaning services.

Professional cleaners have expertise in handling various fabrics and stains, including turmeric.

They can use specialized techniques and products to effectively remove the stain while preserving the integrity of the fabric.

Professional cleaners are especially recommended for delicate fabrics or valuable garments, as they can ensure the stain is treated properly without causing any damage.

Does Vanish remove turmeric stains?

Vanish not only helps to remove the turmeric and curry stains but also restores your clothes.

Just pour two teaspoons of Vanish into the sink or tub filled with cold water and put the fabric in.

Then, swish the clothes so that they soak properly and let them sit for 30 minutes. Next, wash the stained areas using a liquid detergent.

Once done with the cleaning, rinse them in clean water.

Final Thoughts

Pre-Treating helps to loosen the stain particles from the fabric surfaces and also eases the further cleaning process.

In some cases, turmeric stains may require multiple washes in order to eliminate them completely.

Lastly, do not use bleaching compounds on delicate or unsuitable fabrics to treat stains, and always refer to the fabric’s care label for care instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does vinegar remove turmeric stains from clothes?

Vinegar is acidic and acts by providing a chemical charge to the stain molecules. These chemically charged molecules help to pull the stains out. Just mix 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in a bowl of water and soak the stain-affected area in this solution for 30 minutes. Next, rinse with cold water. This should help to loosen the stains.

Does toothpaste remove turmeric stains?

Yes, toothpaste helps to loosen the stains and even remove them in some cases. However, you need to ensure that you are using toothpaste and not gel.

How to remove old curry stains from clothes effectively?

To remove curry stains from clothes, simply mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with warm water. Then, dip the stain-affected areas into the solution and let them soak for approximately 30 minutes. Next, work on stains using a liquid detergent and a soft toothbrush. Finally, rinse the stained areas in warm water. You can also use vinegar to make the cleaning solution even stronger.

How to remove turmeric stains from the carpet?

To remove turmeric stains from the carpet, simply prepare a paste using baking soda and water. Next, apply this paste to the stained areas and let it sit for a while. Finally, wipe the paste using a damp cloth. Alternatively, you can use a carpet stain and spot remover.

How to remove turmeric stains from jeans?

If the fabric of your jeans can tolerate bleach, simply pour one cup of bleach per gallon of water and then soak the jeans in the solution for 20 minutes. Next, work on the stained areas using a soft brush and liquid detergent. Lastly, rinse the jeans with clean water. If you are not comfortable using bleach, simply treat the stains with vinegar and liquid detergent.

How to remove turmeric stains from the sofa?

To remove turmeric stains from a sofa, you will need to spot clean it using a paste made from baking soda and water. Alternatively, use a stain remover appropriate for your sofa’s fabric.

How does baking soda remove stains chemistry?

Baking soda is alkaline, and when it meets with acid, it produces a reaction that forces the stain to move away. In layperson’s language, an acidic stain can be neutralized by using an alkaline substance like baking soda.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)