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Turmeric is a staple ingredient in Indian kitchens, we consume it almost every day. The flavour and colour that it adds to a dish are nothing less than amazing. However, the same colour becomes a yellow stain when it gets on to clothes. And, let’s admit it is quite a task to remove turmeric stains from clothes. Because turmeric contains a small amount of tannin (a natural compound that binds the colour to other compounds). Due to this reason, it is even used as a dye to give an intense yellow colour to fabrics. But that’s a different thing, here, we will tell you how to deal with unwanted yellow stains of turmeric from your clothes.
Turmeric stains are of two types:
Just like you try to remove excess ink, mud or any other stain-causing product from the fabric, remove excess turmeric or product (curry, dal, etc.). You can use a paper towel, knife, or finger nail to scrape the turmeric and lift it up from the garment. If it is liquid, you have to be careful. Because you have to remove it from the fabric without wiping or rubbing.
Some delicate fabrics such as silk and velvet require special care. Whereas, some clothes have delicate embroidery or embellishments. In such cases, manufacturers put some guidelines on the garment care label. You should check it out.
Just in case the garment care label says “dry clean only”, you should refrain from washing the stain at home. You can send it to a dry cleaner or use a home dry cleaning kit if you have a clothes dryer machine.
Every stain remover may or may not be suitable for all fabrics. Hence, you should do a spot test before using the stain remover directly on the fabric (even after choosing it carefully). Apply the stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the garment like the inside of the collar or hem. Wait for 10-15 minutes. Check the fabric, if you notice any adverse effects such as discolouration, you should not use that specific stain remover any further.
While all other products are suitable for almost all washable fabrics, bleach is an exception. You can use all types of bleach (chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide) to remove turmeric stains. However, you have to be careful while using bleach.
You should not use any type of bleach on woollen clothes as it may damage the wool fibres. Fabrics like acrylic, nylon, acetate, polypropylene, etc. exhibit strong colourfastness when they are contacted with bleach. You should not use chlorine bleach on any coloured clothes as it may fade the colour.
To know when you should use bleach or not you can refer to our other article: All About Using Bleach In Laundry.
Now, let’s move to see the ways to remove turmeric stains from clothes:
Pro-tip: Do not use hot water to remove turmeric stains irrespective of the method you choose. Hot water will make the stain set even more strongly into the fabric.
This method is more effective on tough powder-based turmeric stains.
Dampen the stained area with water. Pour, 4-5 drops of liquid detergent on the stain. And rub it gently with your fingers for 2-3 minutes or until the stain lightens and wash it away with clean and cool water.
You should dilute bleach before using it on your clothes. So, take a bucket with 10 litres capacity and fill it with cold water. Add ½ cup of bleach to the bucket. Soak the garment having turmeric stain in the bucket for 20 minutes.
Rinse the garment with cool water and wash it as usual. The stain will go away at this point, if still persists you can treat it with your regular detergent as explained in step 1 and wash it again.
Can’t identify the type of fabric to pick a stain remover?
This method is suitable for oil-based turmeric stains.
Dampen the stained area with water. Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Baking soda and cornstarch both draw out oils.
If you have to remove a powder-based turmeric stain with this method, you can skip this step.
Pour 4-5 drops (or pour enough detergent to cover the stained area) on the stain. Rub it vigorously with your fingers to get it into the fabric. Leave the fabric for 30 minutes.
Rinse the stained area or the whole garment with clean and cool water to get rid of detergent. Keep rubbing the stained area with your fingers gently to loosen the stain.
If the stain is still visible, then take a paper towel and soak it in white distilled vinegar. Dab it on the stain until the stain goes away completely.
Once the stain goes away you should rinse the stained area to remove the detergent, vinegar or baking soda residue completely. Then wash the garment as usual.
What if we say you can get rid of turmeric stains instantly?
Take 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish wash in a bowl. Put the stained area of the garment into this mixture and soak it for at least 30 minutes. This will loosen the stain.
Take out the garment of the bowl. Then, take a toothbrush, dip it in powdered laundry detergent and scrub the stain gently in a circular motion until it fades or vanishes completely. It generally goes away in 2-3 minutes.
Once the stain goes away, you should rinse the garment with clean water. Rub the cleaned area gently with your fingers to rinse the remaining detergent completely. Then, wash the garment as usual.
If all of these fail you can take the final resort to professional dry cleaners. They have special stain removers to treat turmeric stains and they can definitely help you.
If you know the right ways to treat a turmeric stain and treat it as soon as it occurs it will not set permanently. However, if you will use hot water on the turmeric stain or dry the stained garment in a clothes dryer machine, it will be very tough to remove turmeric stain.
Many people try it as a hack to remove turmeric stains. In general, you can apply white-coloured toothpaste directly on the stain and leave it for a while. It may or may not remove turmeric stains. Toothpaste is mildly abrasive, hence, sometimes it helps in lifting up stains from fabric. Do not try using gel-based or ayurvedic toothpaste for this purpose.
It depends on which soap you are using. Detergent soap bars like Rin, Tide, etc. can definitely help in lightening the stain. However, if you are using face or body soap it may not help as it is not formulated in a way to clean clothes.
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