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How to remove Curry Stains from clothing?

Laundry room in an Indian house should be equipped with Rubbing Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Glycerin, Shout, Borax, Rit, Chlorine-bleach, Oxygen bleach, and Heavy strength detergents

Curry stain is a dye-stain or a combination of dye-stain (primarily Turmeric) and oil-stain (cooking oil or Ghee). The best time to remove the stain is while it is fresh and still moist. Always blot the stain. Do not rub it to prevent it from spreading out. Longer you wait, more likely it will dye the fabric.

Bleaches are good in removing dye-stains, but can change the color of the fabric as well as the stain. First the stain should be pretreated and then thoroughly rinsed. Then the whole garment should be bleached not just the stained spot itself. Bleach damage is not reversible

Do not use Ammonia on curry stains, it reacts with Turmeric and makes the stain permanent

Do not use chlorine-bleach on wool or silk, the fabric will be severely damaged

Restaurant Scenario

If an accident happens at a restaurant you should make sure that the stain does not spread and control it so till it can be removed in a timely fashion. You should take the following steps.

1. Use a teaspoon to scrape off as much curry as possible

2. Apply water with a napkin, and then blot it with a dry napkin. Repeat to lift off as much stain as possible.

3. Get a fresh lime or lemon. Gently squeeze the juice over the stain. If the restaurant does not have lime or lemon, ask them for white vinegar. Lemon lime and White vinegar all act like a mild bleach. Leave the stain soaked for 15 minutes

4. Use water and napkin to rinse and then blot as much fluids as possible

5. The stain still needs to be removed within 24 to 48 hours


Fast Color Washables

Fast color washables can tolerate a mild bleach. We will use 3% Hydrogen Peroxide as a mild bleach. Standard Hydrogen Peroxide is sold as 20% by volume. So, we will dilute it

- Prepare a Hydrogen Peroxide solution by mixing 7 to 9 parts of water with one part of standard strength (20%)  Hydrogen Peroxide.

- Soak the article in Hydrogen Peroxide solution for 30 minutes or longer

- Rinse the article thoroughly in warm water. If needed, repeat the process

- Launder with the detergent you normally use for the garment.


Bleach Sensitive Color Washables

Use Glycerin to pre-treat the stain and then remove stain and wash in Biological detergent

1. Apply Glycerin directly to stain. Work glycerin into the stain with fingertips. Let it stand for 30 minutes or longer

2. Rinse with cool water

4. Launder with biological detergent


Alternatively prepare a pre-soak. Let the stain pre-soak for 30 minutes or longer. Rinse with hot water, and launder. You may choose one of the following pre-soaks

- Enzyme presoak solution of one teaspoon of enzyme soak (such as Biz, or Axion) in one cup of water.

- 3 parts liquid dish soap + One Part Rubbing Alcohol

- teaspoon of liquid dish soap + cup water + few drops of white  vinegar


Lift off stains on Non-washables

Borax can be used to lift the stains off the carpet or non-washable items

1. Prepare a solution by adding One Tablespoon of Borax to Two cups of water. Do not make the solution too strong. Strong solution will leave its own stain on the item

2. Apply Borax solution by a sponge to the stain. Do not get the article wet, just lightly damp.

3. Let the solution dry. Remove the dried out stuff. Repeat if  necessary.



The easiest solution is to take the garment for dry-cleaning. At home, you can use either Rubbing Alcohol (91% Isopropyl),  or Methylated spirits (denatured alcohol). Methylated spirits works slightly better

1. Form a pad out of a paper towel. Place the pad under the fabric where the stain is.

2. Use a dropper or other means to drip small amount of fluid on the stain, till the pad is soaking wet. Wait about 5 minutes.

3. Make another pad of the paper towel. Use this to blot the stain.

4. Repeat as necessary.


White Washables

The best alternative is to buy 'Dye Remover' at grocery stores in the Laundry Supplies aisle. Use Dye Remover (Rit, or Tintex) per instructions

You can also use oxygen-bleach, or Chlorine-bleach


Old Curry Stains

Sometimes, it is possible to revive the stain and then remove it. Use blunt butter knife to remove dried out crusted curry. Cover the old stain with some freshly made curry gravy. Let it sit for five minutes. This may revive the old stain and more responsive to one of the above methods to remove it.


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