Get Curry Stains Out of Clothes

How to Get Curry Stains Out of Clothes and Surfaces

Curry is a firm favourite of households up and down the country. Curries are packed with bold, unique flavours, thanks to ingredients such as saffron and turmeric.

A curry might be a delicious meal, but as anyone who has dropped curry or missed their mouth will attest to, removing a curry stain can be a difficult task.

Whether you’ve spilled a tikka on a work surface or dropped korma on your white shirt, have no fear! By following a few quick tips, removing curry stains can be quick and easy.


How to Get Curry Stains Out of Clothing

The key to removing a curry stain is to act quickly, especially if the stain is in clothing.

The colours in spices such as turmeric and the oils in a curry can permanently dye fabric if you aren’t careful, so you need to tackle the problem as quickly as possible, regardless of the method you choose.


Top tips

  • Remove excess first – Before starting to tackle any curry stain on clothing, first remove any excess curry that is still on the fabric.
  • Use a sharp edge – Try to use something with a sharp edge, for example, a clean knife or spoon. Blot at the stain to remove as much of the moisture as possible, whilst being careful not to push it deeper into the fabric.
  • Prevent further damage – Whilst you are tackling any curry stain in clothing, place a clean cloth or paper towel underneath the stain so that the oils or spices in the garment cannot soak through to the other side of the garment.
  • Don’t dry until it’s gone – If the stain isn’t fully out when the item of clothing has come out of the washing machine, do not dry the clothing, instead, attempt to remove the stain again. If you dry the clothing before getting all of the stain out, it is likely that the heat will set the stain in the fabric permanently.


Lemon juice

You might normally use lemon juice to add a sharp twist to a dish, but it can be helpful in the war on curry stains too.

Simply slice a lemon in half and squeeze it onto the stain. Leave the juice to sit overnight, before washing the garment as normal.



If you don’t have a fresh lemon to hand, you can instead try toothpaste. Dab a drop of toothpaste onto the curry stain, and leave it for a couple of hours, before washing the garment as usual.



Glycerine can be a surprisingly helpful cleaning aid and mixing glycerine into a cleaning solution is easy as pie.

Wet the stain thoroughly with warm water and mix a solution of equal parts glycerine water. Apply the solution to the stain, before rinsing again and machine washing as normal.


Commercial detergents and stain removers

The market is full of commercial stain removers, such as those from Persil and Vanish. These chemicals can be a quick and easy way to get a curry stain out of clothing.

If you are using a liquid detergent, apply a small amount directly onto the stain and carefully rub it in. Make sure to start at the edges of the stain and work in towards the centre; this will prevent the stain from spreading further outwards.

Removing Curry Stain Using Detergent

Let the detergent sit for around thirty minutes (or as directed on the label), then rinse it out. If the stain is still there, you can repeat the process until you are satisfied. Once the stain is gone, wash the garment as normal.

If you have a powder stain remover, there are two ways to tackle the problem. You could soak the item of clothing in water mixed with the stain remover, or you can create a paste from the powder and water, before rubbing it into the stain like you would with a liquid detergent.


Hydrogen peroxide

Dropping curry on white clothing is a laundry nightmare. If you’ve ended up with a stubborn curry stain on a white shirt, you can tackle it using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Before attempting this, always check the garment’s care label to make sure the clothing can be safely bleached. You should also conduct a test on a small area of the garment to make sure the solution will not cause damage before going ahead with the full clean.

Removing Curry Stain Using Hydrogen Peroxide

To use this method, mix one part hydrogen peroxide (20% volume) and nine parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the stain and leave it to work for around four hours. Machine wash the clothing with your regular detergent as usual.

If you can, allow the garment to air dry in the sun. This can help the bleaching action. Be aware, however, that leaving a garment out in the sunlight for too long can cause it to discolour.


How to Get Curry Stains Out of Carpets and Upholstery

Spilling curry on a sofa or carpet doesn’t need to mean that it will never be the same again. If the fabric that has a curry stain in cannot be machine washed, such as a carpet or fabric furniture, follow these tips to tackle the stain safely.

Before starting the clean, make sure to use a clean knife to scrape as much of the excess curry off as possible, taking care not to rub it further into the fabric.

Liquid laundry detergent

Often, a curry stain in either a carpet or upholstery can be tackled with your regular laundry detergent. Simply rub a small amount directly into the stain and leave for a few minutes.

Using a wet, clean cloth, dab at the mark gently, rinsing the cloth and repeating the process until the stain has gone.


White vinegar

If you don’t have a liquid laundry detergent to hand and you’re in a hurry, you can use a mixture of washing up liquid and white vinegar.

Mix two cups of cold, clean water, with a tablespoon of washing up liquid and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Apply the solution to the stain using a clean cloth.

Removing Curry Stain on Upholstery

Use a clean sponge to soak up the excess liquid and repeat the process until the stain has been removed.

If you don’t have white vinegar, you could also use household ammonia in the same way.


Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an ideal option if the stain is particularly stubborn. Simply sponge the area with a small amount of rubbing alcohol until the stain is no more. To finish, blot the area with a clean, wet sponge to rinse away the rubbing alcohol.


How to Get Curry Stains Out of Surfaces

There’s nothing worse than discovering that your pristine kitchen surfaces have been stained yellow by curry. This is a particularly common problem if you make curry from scratch regularly.

Ideally, you need to clean up a curry spill on a surface as soon as it occurs. This will prevent the stain from taking hold and becoming a permanent blemish. If you didn’t catch the stain straight away, there are still steps that you can take to restore the surface’s original colour.

White vinegar and bicarbonate of soda

Make a solution from two tablespoons of white vinegar, a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda, and a cup of warm water.

Mix the solution thoroughly and apply to the stains. Leave the solution to sit for around half an hour, before scrubbing the area. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you may need to repeat the process. Try to always use non-scratch scouring pads to avoid damaging the surface.

Once the stain is gone, rinse the area well with hot water.


Wooden surfaces

If you have wooden work surfaces, or you’ve got a curry stain on a cupboard door, you need to tackle this carefully to avoid damaging the wood.

First, remove any excess sauce and moisture using clean paper towels. Take care to avoid rubbing the curry deeper into the wood.

Removing Curry Stain from Wooden Surfaces

Second, mix a solution of two cups of warm water, a quarter of a cup of white vinegar, and a teaspoon of washing up liquid. Using a clean sponge, wash the surface with the solution. Make sure that you regularly rinse the sponge as you work.

Once the stain has been removed, rinse the surface using a clean, damp cloth, before drying the wood with another cloth.

After removing the stain, apply a small amount of wood polish to the surface using a clean cloth. Make sure to rub the polish in completely, and buff away any excess with another clean cloth.