Stubborn turmeric stains make their way onto countertops and dish rags quite easily. If you are preparing a meal using turmeric spices and end up with stains on your nails or hands, rest assured it is not permanent. Here are 9 easy methods showcasing how to remove turmeric stains from nails, and they all use items you have in your pantry. 

How to Remove Turmeric Stains from Nails

Applying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the first step to removing turmeric stains from nails. Gently rub the sanitizer on your hands to remove as much of the stain as possible. In the areas where the turmeric stains have not been released, place a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and spot-treat the nails. 

9 Best Way for Removing Turmeric Stains From Nails 

There is no reason to stop cooking with turmeric. If you cook with turmeric, it’s best to know how to remove turmeric stains from nails. Look out for turmeric stains and act quickly when they happen. 

If a beautiful curry is on the meal plan for tonight, prepare yourself with some easy cleaning agents. I recommend these 9 methods to eliminate the stubborn stains for good.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has natural cleaning properties that break down the pigment in Turmeric. I would put the lemon juice on a cotton ball or Q-tip and apply the lemon juice. 

Avoid this method if you have any cuts on your hands, as it can sting. Rinse your hands after to ensure you have removed the lemon juice. 

Baking Soda Paste

One of my favorite kitchen stain removers is a paste containing equal parts baking soda and water. Mix baking soda and water solution slowly, then place your nails directly in the solution. 

Let them sit for a few minutes, and then rinse the baking soda paste off. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the mixture. Apply this solution to your nails using a cotton ball and rinse off once dry.

I’ll warn you that this one does leave a little smell, albeit less harsh than white vinegar. If you are sensitive to smells, skip the vinegar cleaning methods. 


Coconut oil or castor oil can be applied to the stain with a cotton ball. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying oil so that you don’t transfer the oil to clothing or other fabrics. 

Honey and Lemon

Mix equal parts lemon and honey to create what will be a bit more of a paste. If plain lemon juice doesn’t work, the honey in this method can help stick to the stain and start to release it.  

Lemon and Sugar Scrub

Mix equal parts lemon juice and sugar to make a sugar scrub. The lemon juice breaks down the stain, and the sugar loosens it. I would scrub this using a cotton ball, but be aware that this could destroy a manicure. 

Again, wash with soap and water after, or your hands will be sticky all day. 

Toothpaste and Hydrogen Peroxide 

Mix a squeeze of toothpaste with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Place your nails directly in the paste or apply some with a Q-tip depending on how bad the stain is. 

Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer 

Finally, my favorite method and first line of defense is to grab some alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub it into your hands. Sometimes if you gently scrub with this, it eliminates the need for other cleaning methods. 

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Techniques Specific to Gel and Acrylic Nails 

If you have acrylic nails or gel nails, these methods can help ensure you don’t damage the nails while trying to recover their color. 

Nail polish remover

Like the natural one from Ella & Mila, a nail polish remover is an option, but it will also take the paint off your nails. I recommend this if you are already preparing to have your nails done again. 

If you are not, try a basic liquid dish washing detergent first to see if it helps release any of the stains from your acrylic nails.

Coconut or castor oil 

A few drops of coconut or castor oil on a cotton ball can help remove turmeric. Gently rub the oil in and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing off and washing hands. 

Shaving cream 

Shaving cream contains a bit of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a great solution for household stains, including blood. I like putting a little shaving cream in a container, submerging the nails, and letting them sit for about five minutes. 

Then rinse to see if the turmeric stains have been released. You can repeat this process more than once if necessary. 

Preventing Turmeric Stains on Nails

Turmeric stains are annoying whether you have natural nails or acrylic nails, but you don’t need to change your meal plan. A combination of a little prevention and some easy removal methods will leave you well-prepared. 

Cooking with Turmeric 

When I cook with turmeric, I do like to wear gloves. Stained nails can sometimes become sensitive if you have to apply things like lemon juice or vinegar to remove the stains; I would rather avoid some of this and keep gloves on while cooking. 

Nail care and maintenance 

Tumeric stains will come out, but they could ruin the finish on your nails. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, keep your nails a little shorter. The surface area where a stain can occur will be smaller. 

In addition, wash your hands while cooking; acting fast is one of the best methods for removing stains quickly. 

Bonus: Removing Turmeric Stains from other Surfaces 

If you have turmeric on your fingers, chances are it made it to your clothes or other surfaces. Here are a few quick methods to help you remove those stains. 

Clothes – Laundry Solutions

As soon as you notice turmeric on your clothing, remove as much of it as possible and apply cold water. Do not scrub the turmeric stain; it will only make this project more difficult. 

Apply a baking soda and water paste (with a few drops of liquid laundry detergent) and let it sit on the stain. Wash on a cold cycle with like colors and allow to air dry. Repeat the process until the stain comes out. 

Plastic – Dealing with Discoloration

Storing meals made with turmeric in plastic containers will leave behind stains and residue. Place white vinegar and water into the container and allow it to sit overnight. 

Then, put the container through the dishwasher and see if the coloration has improved. Some people like the Magic Eraser as a solution, but I find it better on countertops or backsplashes than with containers. 

Does turmeric stain come out of nails?

Turmeric stains are persistent stains, but they will come out. Use a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to release the stain, then rinse with soap and warm water. 

How do you get curry stains off acrylic nails?

Curry contains turmeric and is often best removed with rubbing alcohol. You can also use baking soda and water paste and let the nails sit for about five minutes before washing with soap and water.


Britt Olizarowicz