Mustard is the number one condiment on hot dogs and sausages in America and a very popular flavoring in dishes from mustard glazed salmon to potato salad. No matter how you like your mustard—yellow, brown, spicy, or mild—the stains can be difficult to remove.
Mustard stains are caused by the yellow pigment in the mustard seeds or the turmeric added to most commercial mustard recipes. The yellow pigment can actually dye fibers, so it is important to remove the stain as quickly as possible. Your first reaction is to rub that stain, but don't do that, as you will only push the mustard further into the fibers of your favorite shirt. Don't panic! These simple steps—and some patience on your part—will show you how to remove mustard stains.
Watch Now: How to Remove Mustard Stains From Fabric
|Detergent type||Heavy-duty or stain remover|
|Water temperature||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
|Cycle type||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
Before You Begin
The care label on the piece of clothing will determine your next steps.
If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, lift away as much of the mustard solids as possible with a spoon or dull knife, and then blot with a paper towel dipped in plain water. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit for a small mustard stain, be sure to treat the area with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
Equipment / Tools
- Spoon, dull knife, credit card
- Clean white cloths
- Paper towels
- Small bowl
- Soft-bristled brush
- Rubbing alcohol or ammonia
- Stain remover spray or gel
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent
- Oxygen-based bleach
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
How to Remove Mustard Stains from Washable Clothes
Remove any mustard solids on the stained fabric using a spoon, dull knife, or even the edge of a credit card.
Skip the swipe with a paper napkin because it will only rub the stain deeper into the fibers and make it harder to remove.
Blot the Stained Area
Blot the area with a white cloth or paper towel dipped in plain water. This won't remove the stain, but it will dilute the mustard until you can properly remove the stain.
Treat the Stain
As soon as possible, sponge the stain with a bit of plain rubbing alcohol or non-sudsing, clear household ammonia using a clean white cloth, working from the outside in to prevent spreading the stain. Then rinse the stained area well with plain water.
Check and Retreat the Stained Area
Examine the area that was stained. If any stain remains, there are two options you can choose from to use.
Hit it With Stain Remover: Treat the stained area with a solvent-based stain remover spray or gel-like Zout, Shout or Spray 'n Wash, and allow it to sit 15 minutes before washing as usual.
Slap on Heavy-Duty Detergent: Or, if you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide or Persil are leading performing brands) to treat the stain. These detergents contain enough enzymes to break down the stain. Less expensive brands may not work as well. Work the detergent into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and allow it to sit for at least fifteen minutes, and once again, wash as usual.
Recheck the stained area again before drying. If the mustard stain remains on the fabric after washing, do not throw the item into the dryer and move to the next step.
Drying the item on high heat if it is still stained will make the stain even harder to remove, if not permanent.
Mix a Soaking Solution
- Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) in tepid water following package directions.
- Submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight.
- Check the mustard stain. If it is gone, rinse well, and then launder as usual. If the stain is not gone, repeat this step.
How to Remove Mustard Stains on Carpet
Move as quickly as possible to treat the stain. Use a dull knife or the edge of a spoon to lift the blob of mustard from the carpet.
Do not rub, as that will push the mustard deeper into the fibers.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent in 2 cups of warm water in a small bowl.
Apply the Cleaning Solution to the Stain
Dip a clean white cloth in the solution and blot the stain. Work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the mustard stain is transferred to the cloth.
Stop and blot up any moisture with a dry white cloth or paper towel, and repeat the detergent solution until the stain is gone or no more stain is transferred to the wet cloth.
Rinse the Stained Area
Finish by dipping a clean white cloth in plain water to rinse the area. Blot dry with a clean cloth.
Rinse well to remove any suds as any soapy residue remaining will attract more soil to the carpet.
Air-Dry and Vacuum
If the stain is gone, allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat, then vacuum to lift up the carpet fibers.
How to Remove Mustard Stains on Upholstery
To remove mustard stains from furniture and car upholstery, use the same cleaning techniques recommended for carpet. Be careful not to saturate the fabric because excess moisture can cause problems with the cushion fillings. Allow the upholstery to air dry away from sunlight and direct heat.
Before cleaning any furniture, always follow the manufacturer's care label on cleaning upholstery. This tag can be found under the sofa cushions or fabric skirt with letter codes that indicate how to clean the furniture.
If the furniture fabric is silk or vintage, lift away the solids and then contact a professional upholstery cleaner.
Additional Tips on Handling Mustard Stains
If the mustard stain on the carpet is persistent or older, you will need to tackle it with oxygen-based bleach. This process might have to be repeated again if any stain is still present.
- Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water following the package directions.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to work the oxygen bleach solution into the carpet. Work from the outside edge of the stain into the center, and do not saturate.
- Allow the solution to work for at least one hour.
- Dip a clean white cloth into plain water and blot the area to rinse.
- Allow the carpet to air dry and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.