How do I remove turmeric stains from metal/plastic cookware?

  • As much as I value tumeric for its rumoured cancer-battling qualities, I find its tendency to stain anything it comes into contact with (including 'stainless' steel) discouraging to the point that I use it much less than I would like.

    In a previous question regarding a tumeric-stained marble mortar and pestle, it was recommended that bleach be used to remove the stain. Is this recommendation applicable across the board? Pots? Pans? Plastic colanders?

    I hope there is some other way to remove these stains because I am starting to accrue tumeric stained clothing that I can't bleach, as recommended.

    Cancer-battling qualities? I use it for its yellow-coloring qualities. (And flavor of course).

    For a mortar and pestle, I wouldn't worry about it. As long as you're not mashing up medicines in it (thanks a lot mom) the residue isn't a big deal. Mine is a complex arrangement of every dry herb, seed, bean, and nut known to man. It forms a nice patina, though if your mother uses it later to grind up horse meds, you should throw it away (no matter how expensive it had been. goddamnitsomuch).

    @Sobachatina if tumeric wasn't being hyped as an anti-oxidant I would never use it, *because* of its yellow-colouring qualities.

    Aside - one almost certainly won't be able to remove stains after microwaving plastic in contact with an oily dish which contained a highly powered colorant such as turmeric or paprika.

  • BobMcGee

    BobMcGee Correct answer

    9 years ago

    For hard, chemical-resistant surfaces such as marble, bleach or peroxide cleaners will help. On things like counters, pots and pans, a Magic Eraser will often take off the stain. Sometimes a harsher abrasive like Comet or Barkeep's Friend will be needed.

    Softer or porous materials, including cloth and many plastics often CANNOT BE UNSTAINED. In my kitchen we treat turmeric like a dangerous chemical -- isolate, contain, and plan ahead to limit exposure. It's just that destructive.

    You might as well tie-dye or bleach white any clothing you get turmeric on; it India it is used as a dye for saris because it will semi-permanently tint cloth. You can brush off the dry powder harmessly, but when it is moistened and allowed to sit for a moment, the color is pretty much permanent.

    Edit: UV+peroxide: I saw a patent for removing turmeric stains from upholstery using UV light and hydrogen peroxide. You might try soaking fabrics in peroxide or Oxyclean (which uses peroxide) and leaving then out in the sun. Can't hurt right?

    Edit: strategies to manage turmeric without making a mess

    1. Plan ahead where you'll use it, and which utensils and vessels will hold it, so you don't mess up anything you don't need to.
    2. Re-use already turmeric-stained items so you don't wreck anything new
    3. Mortars and pestles, tupperware, wooden and soft plastic utensils are a lost cause. At least the stain is purely cosmetic?
    4. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS wear an apron.
    5. Keep spilt powder dry (it won't stain) and brush it off with a paper towel into the garbage. Brushing away promptly keeps you from inadvertently spilling liquid on it, or wiping it with a wet towel during cleanup. That is, unless you want a neon-green counter and towel?
    6. Whenever you spill something containing turmeric, promptly wipe it off, to reduce staining.
    7. Hard ceramic and porcelain are immune to staining unless the surface is rough. Try to use these for storage. Glass will stain. Stainless steel is resistant but not immune.

    With these strategies, I find I can use turmeric regularly without problems.

    Having learned to remove turmeric stains from clothing from Indian folk wisdom found online, I recommend leaving the items out in the sun until the color turns slightly pinkish, then washing normally. Peroxide might help, as well, but I've never needed it once the color turned to something other than bright yellow.

    Anonymous commenter: "*Put/hang stained dishes/clothes outside in the SUN for an hour. * Tumeric will disappear. Indo-Fijian solution!!!"

    Sounds like another vote for UV as a solution to bleaching out turmeric stains.

    Add: Do not use knives that are too delicate in the edge region to take a scrubbing sponge :) Especially not rough finished carbon steel, it doesn't just become discoloured but sticky. Same solution as for rust spots works, though: toothpaste...

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM