​Curry was first introduced to the UK way back in 1747. Since then, it has become one of the most popular dishes with Britons.

Unfortunately, as most of us know, getting vibrant curry stains out of clothes can be a difficult task.

In this article, we’ll look at Britain’s love of curry, the main culprit behind the stains, and how you can get remove curry stains to restore your clothing to pre-curry condition!

​Britain's Love Of Curry

​Curry is so loved by the UK that there is an annual National Curry Week. This year, in October 2018, the 21st National Curry Week will be celebrated country-wide to celebrate all things curry.

It’s not all about gorging on delicious curries though. National Curry Week also aims to raise money for charities that help to alleviate poverty and malnourishment.

During 2016’s National Curry Week, Sainsbury's conducted research that indicates that the average Briton spends over £30,000 on curry in their lifetime - that’s a lot of curries, and a lot of curry stains to tackle!

​Troublesome Tumeric

Tumeric may have cancer fighting properties, but it's also one of the reasons its so tough to remove curry stains.

Turmeric, in its natural form, looks a bit like root ginger (it comes from the same family) and is often dried and ground up into a yellow powder.

tumeric root

​The particular molecule within turmeric that causes stubborn stains is called curcumin and it responsible for the bright-yellow colour that turmeric has.

Throughout Asia, turmeric is used as a fabric dye for Buddhist monk’s robes and women’s saris, among other garments. Given that it’s used to dye clothes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it leads to tough-to-remove stains.

Despite being troublesome to remove, curries just wouldn’t be the same without it as it provides an earthy, mustard-like taste to the dishes. In fact, turmeric is included in most curry powders, so if even if you make your own curry, it’s likely to contain turmeric.

Turmeric has become increasingly popular in recent months due to the publication of data suggesting it is an excellent anti-inflammatory, can reduce the risk of heart disease, can help arthritis sufferers and those with Alzheimer's disease.

The advice on removing curry stains below, also applied to any other turmeric-based dishes, whether it’s a trendy turmeric latte or a classic spiced soup.

​How To Remove Curry Stains From Clothes

​The key to ​getting rid of curry stains is to treat them quickly.

Although it’s not possible to strip off your shirt if you’re in a restaurant, you can buy yourself some time by applying a little lemon juice (ask for a slice of lemon) to the stain until you get home.

Once you do get home, here are two different ways of removing curry stains.

How To Use Glycerin To Remove Curry Stains

What you'll need:

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    Dull knife
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    ​Kitchen towel
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    ​Glycerin
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    ​Laundry Detergent

​You can find glycerin in a small bottle in the baking aisle of the supermarket. It’s cheap, so it is worth keeping a bottle with the laundry supplies for when disaster strikes.

Follow these 5 steps to remove curry stains with glycerin.


​Step One - Blot Stain

Gently remove excess curry from the fabric using a knife. Take great care not to scrape the curry further into the fibres of the fabric.

Using clean kitchen towel, blot the stain very gently to get rid off as much excess as possible.

Step Two - Apply Glycerin

Put some glycerin on the stain and work it into the stain with your finger. Leave it to soak in for an hour.

Step Three - Rinse Fabric

Hold the back of the stain up against a running tap. Allow the tap water to push the glycerin and stain out of the fabric.

Use cold water, as warm water will make the stain harder to remove.

Step Four - Wash

Check the care label inside your garment and wash at the highest safe temperature with your regular laundry detergent.

Step Five - Dry Outside

The sun naturally bleaches and lightens clothes so be sure to dry your garment in the sunshine (if possible).

Here is a great video showing this method, and notice how she also applies lemon to the glycerin to get it some extra cleaning power.


​If the stain persists, do not tumble dry the garment as this will only set the stain further. Instead, try the following method.

How To Use ​Oxygen Bleach To Remove Curry Stains

​If glycerine hasn’t worked, it’s time to step it up a notch. Oxygen-based bleach, also known as sodium percarbonate is a more gentle bleaching option than chlorine bleach.

What you'll need:

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    Dull knife
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    ​Kitchen towel
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    ​​Oxygen-based bleach, e.g. “Oxiaction”
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    ​A tub or bowl
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    ​Laundry Detergent

​Many supermarkets stock their own version of oxygen-based bleach alongside the branded versions. Check the label for “sodium percarbonate” to be sure you’ve grabbed the right product.

Follow these 5 easy steps to remove curry stains with oxygen bleach.

Step One - Blot Stain

Use a knife, or similar instrument, to remove the excess sauce on the garment.

Then, being gentle ​to not embed the stain further, blot it lightly with some clean kitchen towel.

Step Two - Apply Oxygen-Based Bleach

Make up a solution of one scoop of oxygen-based bleach with warm water in a tub large enough to submerge the garment in.

Step Three - Soak the garment

Soak the garment for at least 6 hours, but overnight is preferable.

​Remove the garment from the tub and see if the stain remains. If it persists, repeat step two and three with a fresh solution.

Step Four - Wash

Add another scoop of oxygen-based bleach to your washing machine.

Check the care label within your garment for the highest safe temperature. Wash the garment at this temperature with your usual detergent.

Step Five - Dry outside

If possible, hang your item outside to dry on a sunny day. The natural bleaching effect of the sun will help lighten the stain if it is still present.


​We hope these tips have helped you save your favourite shirt or blouse, and you don't forget how awesome tumeric really is!