The bright yellow spice that gives curry its pungent flavor and color has been used in ancient and homeopathic medicine as an anti-inflammatory for years. Turmeric has risen in mainstream popularity thanks to claims that it can relieve GI issues such as indigestion and ulcers, prevent and treat cancer, ease inflammatory diseases like arthritis, and prevent neurological diseases like Alzheimer's.

Superpower: Phytochemical known as curcumin

Is there proof that it works? Curcumin has an anti-inflammatory effect which preliminary research suggests may help reduce heart disease risk, ease heartburn, and slow progression of neurological diseases. Turmeric's effects on the body are not fully understood, and much more research is needed before choosing turmeric over modern medicine for disease treatment.

Eat it or skip it? If you love curry, then eat it. All effects from consuming turmeric appear positive—not to mention that it adds great flavor and color to dishes. Don't feel guilty about skipping turmeric though if you're not a fan since there's not enough research to support any disease-preventing properties.

Photo: Iain Bagwell

That curry was delicious during dinner, but now it’s just you and the stained dishes. Who will win?

Arielle Weg
September 14, 2017

The other night I was cooking a delicious dinner for myself. I was chopping veggies, singing to the radio, and mixing up all the spices. Unfortunately, it ended in utter disaster. See, I was making a spin on the Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry. The sauce was spicy and creamy, the lentils and sweet potatoes were hearty, and the pickled red onion was the perfect, crunchy bite. What I didn’t expect was what happened during clean up — everything was stained.

One of the main ingredients in the dish, along with many other curry recipes, is turmeric. With a slew of health benefits like reducing risk of cancer, relieving arthritis, and increasing brain health, it’s a staple ingredient for any healthy cook. But the downside to the bright yellow root is that it has been used in the past as a dye, and rightfully so. The ingredient, fresh or dry, dyes everything it touches. And it’s definitely not easily removed.

I’m now not only left with a container of delicious red curry, but also a bowl, spoon, pot, cup, and plastic container dyed bright yellow as a reminder of my possibly too ambitious dinner. If you find yourself in a similar situation, try these tricks to remove turmeric stains from anything that touches the golden spice.

Bleach

Start by moving quickly, because the longer the stain sets the harder it will be to remove. Soak the containers or utensils in a two-part hot water and one-part bleach solution overnight. This will help pull the stains up and out of the material. Just be sure to wash it well with soap and water in the morning

Acid

This is especially useful if you don’t want to fade the natural color of a container. Similar to bleach, using an acid to remove a stain will help pull the coloring off of the material. Use lemon juice or white vinegar in the same ratio as bleach to water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda goes beyond making your cake rise. Mix equal parts water and baking soda to build a paste, and simply apply the paste onto the container. Allow for the paste to dry for about 15 minutes, and scrub away with warm water.

Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser can help clean every inch of your house, and it also works like magic on dishes. The sandpaper-like sponge gets under the stain, and wipes it away in one simple step.

OxiClean

The clothing stain remover is powerful enough to remove most stains, so why not the pesky ones on your dishes? Make a paste with water and the powder and let it sit like the baking soda mixture. You can also mix the powder into water to make a solution and let the container soak up to a half hour. Wash with soap and water when complete.

Sunlight

It seems strange, but sunlight has a way with stains. Simply leave your dishes out to dry in direct sunlight, and the color will fade. It may be a good idea to try one of the above methods first, and leave them out in the sun to dry after.