How to remove turmeric stains from surfaces

Turmeric, the deep gold spice that gives mustards and some curries their characteristic yellow colour, creates lasting colour and works as a fabric dye. This won't surprise anyone who has ended up with turmeric stains on surfaces. Kitchen counters, the rubber seals of refrigerators, floors, tables, cutting boards and other household items are vulnerable to turmeric stains. Michigan State University suggests using nontoxic cleaning products in the home and recommends Borax for stain removal.

Sprinkle a generous amount of oxygen cleaner powder on the stain to cover it completely with 1/8 inch of powder. Apply one or two squirts of water from a spray bottle and leave the product on the turmeric stain for at least 1/2 hour.

Scrub the oxygen cleaner paste into the surface with a scrub sponge. If any trace of the stain remains, add more oxygen cleaner and squeeze some hot water over it from the sponge. Leave the product on the stain for 1 hour.

Scrub the area of the stain in all directions to assist in complete removal. Rinse the surface with plain water.


Always remove spills and stains from surfaces as soon as possible. Set-in stains and old stains may not come out entirely. Before attempting to remove stains from a soft surface such as a rug, floor mat or upholstery, scrape up turmeric spice, mustard or food spills such as curry with a butter knife. Remove as much of the substance as possible by gently scraping it off the surface. For stains on fabrics, treat with oxygen cleaner and add oxygen cleaner to the wash. If you don't have oxygen cleaner or Borax available, use 2 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp of baking soda or dish soap mixed with 1 cup of water. Cover the stain with the mixture and leave it on for at least 1/2 hour. Scrub and repeat if needed.


If you are uncertain about how a product might affect a surface, test the cleaning product on an inconspicuous location first to make sure it won't cause damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Powdered oxygen cleaner
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Scrub sponge
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About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.