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The truth about what turmeric will—and will not—stain

Thumbnail for The truth about what turmeric will—and will not—stain
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Photo: Stocksy/Natasia Mandic

Whether you’re blending it into a smoothieslathering it on your face, or using it to brush your teeth, chances are you’ve fallen in love with turmericAnd there’s a lot to love about the spice: It’s chock full of antioxidants that help quell inflammation everywhere from your gut to your skin, which can in turn reduce your risk for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Heck, even Starbucks is hopping on the golden latte train.

But turmeric does have one major drawback: its King Midas quality. Everything it touches turns to gold. So if you splash a little bit on your white counters or towels, are you doomed to mustard-colored stains forever? Not if you act fast, says Maeve Richmond, founder of the home organization company Maeve’s Method.

“People panic because it’s so bright at first, but it isn’t necessarily always going to look that way,” Richmond says. Quickly treat the spot with a mixture of baking soda and water (just dilute the baking soda until it becomes a paste) and let it set. After 10 minutes, wipe the area clean—if you still have a dandelion-hued splotch, try again. “When it comes to turmeric stains, the most important thing is patience,” Richmond says.

Keep reading to find out which body parts and household items turmeric will stain (and how badly).  
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What will turmeric stain
Photo: Stocksy/Alessio Bogani

Will turmeric stain….

Your nails? Yes
Unless “vaguely jaundiced” is the look you’re going for, snap on some rubber gloves before dipping your fingers into the turmeric jar, says dermatologist and nail specialist Dana Stern, MD. Your next #nailfie (and your still-in-tact manicure) will thank you.

Your teeth? No
In fact, it actually makes your pearly whites even brighter in the long run, as long as you’re down with sporting a dijon smile for a few minutes.

Your skin? Temporarily
If you’ve ever fumbled while spooning turmeric into your blender, you know that hell yes, it stains your skin. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to get off. Dermatologist Michele Farber, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City advises repeatedly wiping your skin gently with a (dark) towel soaked in warm water until the stain comes off. For an extra boost, add a few tablespoons of sugar to the mix.

White towels and clothing? Yes
Long before it was a wellness world obsession (as in, centuries before), turmeric was used for one very specific purpose: Dying fabrics. So, ipso facto, it will certainly dye your fabrics if you’re not careful. Richmond advises treating the stain immediately with lemon, which will act as a natural bleach.

Bathtubs and sinks? Yes 
A turmeric beauty treatment will likely leave your skin and teeth looking porcelain, while your actual porcelain might be left a little worse for wear. If it happens in your house, grab some baking soda, lemon juice or vinegar, a sponge, and get scrubbin’.

Counter tops? Yes
Your dark counters are probably fine (what you can’t see won’t hurt you), but white or light-colored marble ones are at risk.

Mugs and dishes? Yes
You can expect the goldenrod shade to linger when you finish your turmeric milkshake, but it’ll fade after a few washes.

Now that you’ve got the whole turmeric thing on lock, try this other clear-skin inducing spice. And down some of these detoxifying teas for your glowiest complexion yet. 

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