I cooked using spices a lot, and I notice this problem most after cooking with turmeric. I wash the pan after I'm done using it, with dish soap, and allow it to soak, then scrub with a scourer or brush. Then I clean with tissue paper. Even after this, the next meal I cook is often coloured yellow. I don't think it tastes of the spices, but the colour is there for sure. How can I make sure the spices are fully off the pan before I next use it?

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    What are your pans made of?
    – Chris H
    Aug 7, 2020 at 18:44
  • I think aluminium but I'm not 100% sure. How can I check?
    – opr
    Aug 7, 2020 at 20:36
  • Aluminium looks metallic but duller than stainless steel and scratches more easily. The inevitable scratches could be the where the residue is hiding. A magnet definitely won't stick to aluminium, though it will stick to some grades of stainless.
    – Chris H
    Aug 7, 2020 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


As the coloured component Curcumin is soluble in oils not water it may help to wipe the dry and washed pan with oil. Hopefully the colour will be absorbed in to that oil rather than into the next dish you cook. You may leave the oil on while the pan is stored and wash that oil off before cooking the next dish.

Turmeric does not seem to stain the plastic (ptfe) of non stick pans but it does result in hard to remove stains on some other plastic utensils, containers and surfaces. Neat household Bleach works to quickly remove such stains on counter surfaces but would not be the first choice to use on a food pan.

Soaking with "Milton" eventually removes stains on plastic containers so may work on Aluminium. I have also seen suggestions that vinegar or lemon juice may work. They are both acidic and could theoretically corrode Aluminium, but I doubt it has a noticeable effect. My sweet and sour source will be acidic as will be Rhubarb but I have not noticed them damaging aluminium cookware.

(Although I do recall a health scare about aluminium leaching in to acid food which may have some scientific backing e.g. )


  • I must remember to search before answering cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/7639/… The thread includes methods besides chemical bleaching: Using UV light, lemon juice & Grinding salt in to the stain. An aluminium pan though develops an oxidised coating & grinding or heavy scouring will ruin the finish on a naturally aged aluminium pan. One site I linked to mentions health benefits of turmeric, as does the other thread; which suggests leaving the stain to help prevent dementia. Not a duplicate because that is granite pestle.
    – John99
    Aug 27, 2020 at 8:45

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