There is rarely any week when I do not receive a panic email about “IT”.
In fact I believe that is the biggest side effect of turmeric I have found till today!
If you love turmeric you would know what I am talking – stubborn turmeric stains.
Interestingly the component which is responsible is the same which is majorly responsible for its amazing benefits – Curcumin.
Turmeric was used extensively as a dye for clothes in the past as it does not dissolve in water. This makes it a tedious task to wash off by simply soaking the garment.
So today, we have some super tricks up our sleeves which can get that stubborn stain off your clothes. Let’s see how.
Note – if your fabric is delicate and expensive; please go directly to dry cleaning option after step 1.
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Take action asap after the stain
- Step 2: Second line of defense – Pre-treating
- Step 3: Washing
- What if it does not work?
- In the end..
Step 1: Take action asap after the stain
Timing is extremely important when it’s about stains, else once the blotch sets in, it won’t be easy to remove.
The moment you notice the cloth is stained, immediately remove the excess amount.
Make sure that you remove the excess with a spoon and not rub, as rubbing may cause it to spread. Now wash the affected area with normal water and blot it with a towel.
Step 2: Second line of defense – Pre-treating
Once you have removed the extra stuff, there are several ways possible. I will discuss them step below:
1. Use Talcum Powder / baking soda powder / flour to absorb
You can keep some talcum powder handy which works wonders on turmeric stains. This works with fresh wet stains, like that of curry. This may not work if the stain is already dried.
Once you have scrapped the extra material, just pour some of your talcum powder to it and let it settle in. Make sure the powder covers everything nicely.
Flour also works as a quick remedy for the stubborn stains.
They work the same as the talcum powder, as an absorbent. It restricts the stain to spread further and soaks any excess of it. Once the powder sets in it get washed off easily.
I have tried this one for oil stains; it works very well to control the damage.
2. Use Lemon or white Vinegar as a mild bleach
This is a good idea if you are at a restaurant eating and you get curry stains.
Cut a lemon into half and rub the cut side of the lemon on the stain. Keep it absorbed as much as you can. Lemon may help here as it acts as a mild bleach and thus can prevent a stubborn stain.
If you do not have lemons then use white vinegar if available. It also works in the same manner.
In case of vinegar take 1-2 tbsp and mix in water (preferably warm) and then soak the stain. Once soaked, dry it using a cloth / napkin.
Repeat the process several times. You will notice that the turmeric stain starts fading.
Please note – you would still need to wash your cloth as soon as you can to get rid of stains. We are just limiting the damage here.
3. Use Detergent directly
One of the basic steps to remove turmeric stains for any color can be to use any detergent powder from a well-known brand.
Make a paste of the detergent powder or mix liquid detergent with some water and apply it on the affected area using fingers or a mild brush. Let the detergent set in for 20 minutes and wash the affected area.
Tip : Avoid rubbing the area after you have applied the detergent. Avoid using hard brushes, as scrubbing the area can further set the stain or increase the impact area.
4. Use baking soda paste
Another possible way to use baking soda is making its paste with water and applying directly over the stained area.
Do not rub it or use a hard brush. Just apply gently.
Keep it for some time and then follow the washing exercise.
This may not remove the stain, but would for sure help.
5. Using glycerin
Since glycerin is one of the chemicals used in making soaps, it is one of the ingredients that can help remove turmeric stains from cloth.
It is easily available in the local pharmacy, so grab one and form a mixture with a quarter cup of glycerin, water (2 cups), and a quarter cup of detergent.
Dab the mixture on the fabric with the stain and let it soak in for 10 minutes.
This should help your stain fade to a great extent.
Step 3: Washing
There are several washing options available. You can shoe based on the extent of stain, type of cloth and its color.
Tip: It is important to wash instructions on the cloth before choosing an option.
1. Use Warm Water & Sunlight
This is the most common way.
Soak the garment in warm water in a tub / washing machine and use normal detergent to wash.
If the stain is light, mostly it will get removed by now. But that’s not true with the stubborn ones. If the stain is still visible allow the garment to dry in direct sunlight.
Sun’s direct rays are proven to work as a bleaching agent on whites or colored garments alike.
However, avoid exposing the clothes too much in direct sunlight to avoid discoloration. Strong sunlight for too long may also harm the fabric, so be careful.
We get really strong sunlight around the year in India. I have ruined one of my t-shirts like this. I kept It hanging for 2 days, the result – the side facing the sun got badly discolored 🙁
If the stain is still persistent and stubborn enough to fade off, repeat the process by washing it again normally with detergent and drying in sunlight.
2. Bleach it (if the fabric is white)
If the fabric is light colored / white and is okay to bleach it then go ahead.
Bleach is particularly popular with whites as the stain is clearly visible and bleach does not have too much impact on color (as its already white!).
Rinse the affected area first with plain water, and then soak the cloth in water mixed with bleach.
Post 10-15 minutes wash off the cloth with plain water, and now again soak it overnight in a mixture of baking soda and water.
Wash it off. This is most probably take care of your stain.
I must again warn – it is not recommended to bleach colored clothes, silk, wool etc. As bleach can lead to discoloration or damage the fabric. Do check washing instruction’s before going ahead!
3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is basically a bleaching agent.
If you have it handy when you can use it. The chemical is easily available at the local pharmacies at a reasonable rate. Use 3% Hydrogen Peroxide.
Again, this works best for white and very light colored clothes.
The precautions I mentioned above are all applicable in this case too.
Rub the affected area with little Hydrogen Peroxide. Let it set in for 10 minutes, and then wash off for a cleaner garment.
What if it does not work?
In most probability, a turmeric stain on cloth should fade away by following any of the above procedures properly, however, if the stain is still persistent you can reach out to a professional dry-cleaner for assistance.
Another issue is if your cloth is light in colour even a discolored stain will be visible. What to do now?
There is one thing —
Try some of these “out of the box” methods. 🙂 Here they are:
1. Dye whole or part of the garment
This is what my mom did when one of our white tablecloths got stained with turmeric and oil.
After a lot of effort, the stain was still visible (though dull).
She decided to get the whole cloth dyed in a bright colorful design. To me, it was a masterstroke which only moms can think of 🙂
2. Patch design
Have you seen clothes with patch design?
Basically, they have patches of clothes or embroidery of different patterns/colors over them. If you absolutely love something and cannot dye it, this may be a great solution.
You may feel it’s odd, yes it is a bit and it may not work in all cases. But trust me, it can work for many.
For example, if you stain your blue jeans, this can be a great solution. Just add a patch design you love – you are not only making a statement but hiding your stain too!
Embroidery can be an option in many cases too. You will, in fact, enjoy it if you love stitching! Salvaging your cloth
when nothing else worked will be a great feeling for sure.
3. Print a new design
This is an awesome way if you have a t-shirt etc. You can just get some design printed which will hide the stain.
There are also DIY kits available which can help you print.
If you can use fabric paints, you can do this yourself too.
4. Remove the stained part
Again a great solution in case of certain kinds of clothing such as jeans, skirts, pants, etc.
You can make a skirt out of jeans, turn pants into capris, or a t-shirt into a tank top.
There are so many DIY websites which will help you do so with ease.
5. Hide the stained part
This is useful when you are dealing with stuff like carpets, sofa covers, table covers, etc.
In case of carpet find out a way it does not face the door or immediately available. In case of tablecloth put a show-piece, or something, on sofas, add cushions or an add-on sofa cover.
I have recently put up an add-on sofa cover when my son spilled pickle on the seat. There was no way to clean it, so I just hid it !
6. Fabric spray
This is one of my favorites and you would love it too if you love playing with paints. You can spray paint your cloth and give it a completely different look! It is not difficult at all.
The best part is this can be used in a wide variety of situations (table cloth, cushion covers, t-shirts, etc.)
In the end..
There are several ways one can try to remove turmeric stains, but it depends on factors such as type of cloth, stain intensity, prompt action, etc. how much success one will have.
In case the stain still remains, try some innovative stuff as mentioned above.
Have you faced turmeric stains, how did you remove them? Let me know through comments!