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How to remove curry stains

Vibrant spices in curry make it taste delicious but can also leave behind yellow staining. Read our how to remove curry stains guide for tips to help you remove a curry stain using household cupboard staples.

Updated Reading Time: 7 minutesBy Cleanipedia Team

A bowl of curry with curry spilled on blue tablecloth
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Known for its fiery flavour, vivid colours, and rich, creamy sauce, curry is a favourite of takeaway enthusiasts and discerning gastronomes alike. However, as anybody who has ever missed their mouth will tell you, curry stain removal can be a tough task.

Vibrant spices such as saffron and turmeric have the ability to stain everything they touch. This makes our guide a useful place to come and discover how to remove curry stains from a variety of fabrics and materials. Read on for our top tips and tricks to be able to remove a curry stain with ease.

The key to removing curry stains is to act fast. The colours and oily base of curries and spices such as turmeric can permanently dye a piece of fabric, so try and treat it while the stain is fresh.
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RequiredPersil Bio Liquid
Persil Bio Bottle
  • Spoon or knife
  • Washing machine
  • Lemon
  • Toothpaste
  • Glycerine
  • Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Baby oil
  • Cotton wool pad
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Removing curry stains: the basics

Before we show you how to get curry sauce out of clothes and other fabrics, it's important to make you aware of some key basics to curry stain removal.

  1. Remove any excess curry still on the fabric

    Use an implement with a clean edge (like a spoon or knife) to gently lift off any residue.

    Step 1: Using a knife to remove curry residue
  2. Blot the stain

    Do this to remove the majority of the moisture, being very careful not to scrub and smear it further and deeper into the fabric.

  3. Test your stain removal method

    Always test any stain removal method on a small area first to ensure you don't damage the fabric.

  4. Check the label

    Don't forget to check your garment’s care label.

  5. Follow the directions

    Follow the directions on the packaging if you're using a commercial product.

  6. Air dry clothes

    Always air dry unless you are certain the stain has been removed. If the stain isn’t fully out when you put it in a tumble dryer, the heat may set the stain for good.

Top tip: When removing curry stains, ideally place a clean cloth or wad of paper towels underneath the stain, so the stain doesn’t spread onto the fabric underneath during the treatment process.

How to get curry stains out of clothes

If you're wondering how to remove a curry stain from clothes, we've got you covered from natural solutions to using household staples like detergent. If you have curry stains on your clothes (particularly sleeves and laps), why not try these effective, easy-to-apply curry stain removal solutions?

5 steps to remove a curry stain with laundry detergent

Good quality laundry detergents are simple to use and are a go-to method for removing curry stains with ease.

  1. Apply detergent

    Apply a bit of liquid laundry detergent directly on the stain.

  2. Rub in the detergent

    Starting at the edge and working towards the centre gently rub it in.

  3. Allow to sit

    Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, or as long as directed on the product label. For more stubborn stains allow the detergent to sit on the fabric for longer – a few hours or even overnight.

  4. Wash your clothing

    Wash the garment at a lower temperature, using a quality detergent such as Persil.

How to remove curry stains naturally

Lemon is a handy ally for cleaning around the home and is a great natural choice for how to get rid of curry stains in just three simple steps:

  1. Apply lemon juice

    Slice a lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the stain.

    Step 1: Half a lemon in front of a stained top
  2. Let it soak

    Leave the lemon juice to soak overnight.

  3. Wash as normal

    Wash your garment as per the advice on the care label.

How to get a curry stain out with a homemade solution

Toothpaste is a staple product found in every home and is a great alternative method to clean things around the home - including curry stains. Follow these three simple steps to removing curry stains using toothpaste.

  1. Apply toothpaste

    Gently dab on a drop of toothpaste onto the stain.

    Step 1: Hand applying toothpaste to a top stained with curry
  2. Allow to settle

    Leave it for a couple of hours to allow the toothpaste to work its magic.

  3. Wash as normal

    Wash the garment as usual following the advice on the care label of your garment.

3 steps to removing curry stains using a glycerine solution

Glycerine makes for a useful cleaning agent and it's easy to create a mixture at home.

  1. Wet the stain

    Wet the stain thoroughly with warm water.

  2. Mix the glycerin solution

    Mix an equal solution of glycerine and water and apply to the stained area.

  3. Rinse then wash as normal

    Rinse again and then machine wash as usual with a biological detergent.

How to get curry out of clothes using hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a great option if you need to remove a curry stain from white clothing.

  1. Make the hydrogen peroxide solution

    Fill a spray bottle with one part 20-per-cent-volume hydrogen peroxide and nine parts water. Spray liberally onto the stained area.

  2. Allow to soak

    Leave to soak for around four hours.

  3. Wash the clothing

    Machine wash the garment with detergent, as directed on the care label.

  4. Allow to dry

    If possible, allow to air dry using sunlight, which will help with the bleaching action (though leaving a garment for too long in the sun can cause discolouration, so be careful).

Now you know how to get curry sauce out of clothes read our comprehensive guide here for more hints on how to get other stains out of clothing.

How to remove stubborn curry stains

For stubborn stains, a bleach-based soak may be your only option. Always check any garment care tags before using the following steps.

  1. Use an oxygen-based bleach.

    Look for the ingredient ‘sodium percarbonate’ on the label to know you have the right product, and only use a bleach that is designated as colour-safe if you're soaking a coloured garment.

    Step 1: Stained top soaking in a basin
  2. Mix the solution following the instructions on the label.

    Take care to follow the safety guidelines on the product and wear protective clothing.

  3. Soak the garment in the solution.

    We recommend doing so for up to 8 hours (but no longer than the product instructions direct).

  4. Check the stain.

    If it’s no longer there, launder in the washing machine as usual.

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How to remove curry stains from your hands

It’s easy to get curry stains on your hands, but you’ll want to get it off as soon as possible to avoid the risk of spreading to your clothes. Here are some simple steps for removing curry stains from your hands using baby oil.

  1. Squeeze some baby oil onto a cotton wool pad.

  2. Use the pad to wipe your hands and nails. 

  3. Use as many pads as you need to get all the curry stains off.

  4. Wash your hands afterwards using soap and water.

How to remove curry stains around your home

It's not just your clothes and hands that can end up needing you to remove a curry stain or two. From tablecloths to carpets we'll show you how to remove curry stains from a variety of surfaces below.

Removing curry stains from hard surfaces

If you've noticed curry on kitchen tops, floors, or any other hard surface first try an anti-bacterial spray using the instructions on the bottle. Alternatively, try to remove the curry stain with a homemade cleaning paste.

  1. Mix water and baking soda together to form a paste.

  2. Apply the solution to the stain and rub gently with a soft cloth.

  3. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

For more cleaning advice using bicarbonate of soda, check out our uses and tips.

How to remove curry stains from furniture, table cloths and other household fabrics

Having a curry night in the comfort of your own home runs the risk of a few spillages and furniture stains. If you need to remove a curry stain from your furniture, follow the basic steps above before trying this method of curry stain removal.

  1. If possible, remove any stained fabric and launder them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  2. If you can't wash the fabric, take a liquid biological detergent and rub a small amount directly into the stain.

  3. Leave for a minute or so.

  4. Dab the mark gently with a cold, wet cloth to flush out the stain.

  5. Rinse the cloth, and repeat until the stain has gone.

Top tip: If you’re in a hurry and can’t get hold of a biological detergent, follow the same steps using a homemade solution. Simply mix together two cups of cold water, one tablespoon of a good quality washing up liquid, and one tablespoon of white vinegar.

Alternatively, if you are a curry fanatic, you can invest in a specialist furniture cleaner – just follow the instructions on the label.

How to get curry stains out of a carpet

If your curry happens to hit the carpet rather than your mouth, all is not lost. Just act fast, following these steps.

  1. First, follow the basic steps above.

  2. Create a homemade stain remover with one tablespoon of washing up liquid, one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and 500ml of cold water.

  3. Apply the solution to the stain, making sure to use a clean cloth.

  4. Leave for a few minutes. Then blot with a dry cloth (rotating the cloth so you are always using a clean area).

  5. Repeat until no colour is picked up by the cloth.

  6. Use a clean cloth dabbed in hot water to remove any remaining solution.

  7. Finally, dab out any wet spots with a dry cloth or paper towel. Leave the carpet to air dry.

How to remove curry stains from nails?

Removing curry stains from nails can be challenging, but there are a few methods to try. Start by washing your hands with soap and warm water, using a nail brush to scrub under the nails. If the stain persists, create a paste with baking soda and water and gently rub it onto the stained nails. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, you can try using lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide as natural bleaching agents. Soak your nails in a small bowl of either solution for a few minutes, then rinse and moisturise your hands. Eating in a state of high alert isn’t fun for anyone. Luckily, with these tips for removing curry stains from a number of different surfaces you can enjoy a delicious curry and relax, knowing that you’re prepared for anything. Now you know how to remove curry stains on your clothing, check out how to remove grease stains from clothes in our comprehensive guide.

Frequently asked questions on how to remove curry stains

Are curry stains permanent?

No, not necessarily. Using one of the methods above to tackle any curry mishaps should remove most stains. However, remember that you need to act quickly. Once the dye in the likes of turmeric and saffron have set they are next to impossible to remove.

How do you remove turmeric stains?

Turmeric is often found as an ingredient in curry. It is a bright spice that contains the yellow pigment, curcumin (which is also used as a clothing dye). Following the most suitable method for your fabric type above will provide a guideline on how to remove a turmeric stain.

I've dropped curry on my clothes in a restaurant, how can I prevent it staining?

Firstly, don’t panic. Gently blot the stained area from the outside in, before squeezing the juice of a lemon or lime over the stain and leaving it to soak for 10-15 minutes. Most restaurants will have a plentiful supply of these fruits for serving with drinks or meals, so don’t be afraid to ask. Don't forget to wash your clothing with detergent when you get home, preferably within 48 hours.

Originally published