How to Remove Curry Stains From Carpet
Last Updated: February 15, 2023
Removing curry stains from carpet requires a unique stain removal method called an advanced oxidation reaction. This stain removal method really works, and I will tell you all about it on this page.
After attempting to remove spilt curry from your carpet, you will likely be left with a yellow stain. This yellow stain is thanks to a spice called turmeric, which is a key ingredient in curries. Turmeric has both tannin (brown color) pigments, and curcumin (yellow color) pigments in it. The yellow curcumin pigments happen to be extremely sticky, so if they even touch your carpet they will typically latch on to the fibers and never let go. This results in a permanent yellow stain.
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As a carpet cleaner, when I come across a spot or a stain in a carpet, the very first thing I do is attempt to take that contaminant out of the carpet. This is called spot removal.
Unfortunately, spot removal does not always work. Like with a curry stain, sometimes dyes or pigments become permanently stuck to the carpet fibers. When this happens, we need to use a chemical reaction to destroy the pigments that are stuck to the carpet fibers. This process is called stain removal.
My advice before using this stain removal method: read this entire page from top to bottom, and watch the video at the bottom of the page. If you don’t follow these steps closely, or if you overuse this method, you could end up causing discoloration to your carpet.
This stain removal method (advanced oxidation reaction) should only be used after attempting to remove the curry stain with a spotter, or carpet shampoo. Remember we want to take as much of the contaminant out of the carpet as possible before using a stain removal method.
There are a huge variety of spotters that can be used to remove spots from carpet. This includes store bought spotters like Resolve, Spot Shot, Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover or TriNova Spot Remover. You can also use my homemade spotter recipe; I call it DIY Spotter.
To use the advanced oxidation stain removal method, you will need 3% hydrogen peroxide or 6% hydrogen peroxide for the oxidizing agent. In the demo below, I will be using 6% salon grade hydrogen peroxide. 6% hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove many different types of stains, and it works significantly better than 3% hydrogen peroxide.
You will also need a 395nm UV light. The UV light causes the hydrogen peroxide to split into hydroxyl radicals (OH-). Then these hydroxyl radicals attack the yellow curry pigments causing them to break down and become invisible.
What if I do not have a UV light? Well, unfortunately you cannot create and advanced oxidation reaction without a UV light. The good news is that there are many affordable UV light options on amazon, or you can even use a UV nail light which is used for drying cosmetic gel nails (if you are into it!).
In the demo below, I will be using a 10-watt UV light. If you are shopping for a UV light, I recommend looking for one that can be plugged into an electrical wall outlet. Battery powered lights are typically not strong enough to remove carpet stains.
Remove Curry Stains From Carpet Step-By-Step Instructions:
Step 1 - Before using the advanced oxidation stain removal method, use a spotter to remove as much of the curry spot/stain as possible. As a first step, a spotter should be used to remove all the solids, oils, pastes, etc., from the carpet. Common well-known spotters like Resolve, Spot Shot, Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover, or TriNova Spot Remover will do the trick! Also, make sure you read this entire page from top to bottom, and watch the video instructions before trying this at home!
Step 2 - For the advanced oxidation stain removal method, I will be using 6% hydrogen peroxide and a 395nm UV Light. I am using 6% salon grade hydrogen peroxide, which known as 20 Volume Clear Developer.
Step 3 - After using a spotter, there will likely still be a light or bright yellow stain in the carpet. This yellow stain is caused by millions of tiny curcumin molecules/pigments that are permanently attached to the carpet fibers. Spray the 6% hydrogen peroxide liberally around the stained area. 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used instead of 6%, but it will take more time for the stain to come out of the carpet.
Step 4 - Cover the yellow stain with a UV light and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. Do not place the UV light directly on the carpet, as the heat form the light could damage the carpet. If you are using a stronger UV light, like a 30-Watt, or 80-Watt UV light, you should check the progress more frequently, as a more powerful UV light will speed up the rate of reaction.
Step 5 - After 15 minutes, you will see that the yellow stain is starting to disappear. UV light causes hydrogen peroxide molecules (H202) to split into hydroxyl radicals (OH-). Then the hydroxyl radicals attack (break down) the millions of tiny yellow curcumin molecules/pigments that are stuck in the carpet. As the curcumin molecules/pigments are broken down, they lose their color properties and become invisible.
Step 6 - Rearrange the carpet fibers to expose other parts of the stain. You may have to groom the tufts into a valley to expose the parts of the stain at the base of the tufts. Using the UV light, cover the stained area and allow it to sit for another 15 minutes (adjust the time intervals as necessary). For this stain, I repeated step 3 & 4 about 10 times before the stain was completely gone.
Step 7 - Once the yellow stain is gone, turn the UV light off. Leaving the UV light on for multiple hours, or days could result in permanent color loss from your carpet. Make sure you do not use this advanced oxidation method for longer than necessary. When you are done, use a towel to absorb any remaining liquid from the carpet. The hydrogen peroxide will turn to water and leave zero residue. ALSO! Make sure you check out my video instructions below!
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Remove Curry Stains From Carpet Video Instructions:
I only recommend using this method on turmeric, curry, or mustard stains. Normal/regular oxidation reactions, which are gentler on carpets, can be used for other types stains.
This advanced oxidation reaction is safe to use on colored carpets. However, if used long enough (many hours), it can cause permanent carpet discoloration.
Do not use this method on fine fibers like wool, silk, or other natural fibers. Advanced oxidation reactions can break down organic matter (like the yellow curcumin pigments), so it is best to not use this method on carpets that are made from organic materials. 99% of us have carpets that are made from synthetic materials, so this method should be safe to use for most of us!
This method should be tested before using to ensure that it will not damage the carpet or cause carpet discoloration. Testing should be done on a scrap piece of carpet, or in an inconspicuous area on the carpet (like in the corner of a closet). It is best to test this method in the same way, and same duration that you would when using it to remove a stain.
If the stain has not begun to come out after 30 minutes, stop using the advanced oxidation stain removal method, as more time will not help.
Be sure to adjust the time intervals as necessary. 15-minute time intervals are used in the demo above. However, time intervals should be adjusted depending on the stain removal progress. It is best to check the progress and rearrange the carpet fibers frequently.
This method should not be overused, as overuse can cause damage or discoloration to your carpet. Leaving or forgetting the UV light on the carpet for extended periods of time could cause discoloration or damage to your carpet. In my experience with 6% hydrogen peroxide and a 10-Watt UV Light, you will begin to see faint carpet discoloration after 8 hours. This varies depending on the strength of your UV light, distance the UV light is from the carpet, type of carpet, and strength of hydrogen peroxide.
Use this method at your own risk!