How to Remove Mustard Stains from Clothes and Carpet

How to Remove Mustard Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Bailey Mariner

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 6 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to 25

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.

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Watch Now: How to Remove Mustard Stains From Fabric

 Stain type Tannin
 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.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spoon, dull knife, credit card
  • Clean white cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Small bowl
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum

Materials

  • Rubbing alcohol or ammonia
  • Stain remover spray or gel
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent

Instructions

Overhead view of materials needed to remove mustard stains

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

How to Remove Mustard Stains from Washable Clothes

  1. Remove Solids

    Remove any mustard solids on the stained fabric using a spoon, dull knife, or even the edge of a credit card.

    Warning

    Skip the swipe with a paper napkin because it will only rub the stain deeper into the fibers and make it harder to remove.

    Removing mustard from a shirt with a spoon

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. 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.

    Blotting the mustard stain with a wet towel

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. 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. 

    Using rubbing alcohol to remove the stain

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. 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.

    Warning

    Drying the item on high heat if it is still stained will make the stain even harder to remove, if not permanent.

    Treating the mustard stain with stain remover

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. 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.

    Tip

    This type of bleach is safe for natural and synthetic fabrics that are either white or colored. 

    Soaking the garment in an oxygen bleach solution

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    How to Remove Mustard Stains on Carpet

  6. Remove Solids

    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.

    Warning

    Do not rub, as that will push the mustard deeper into the fibers.

    Removing mustard solids from carpet

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  7. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent in 2 cups of warm water in a small bowl.

    Mixing a dish soap cleaning solution

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  8. 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.

    Applying cleaning solution to the carpet stain

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  9. Rinse the Stained Area

    Finish by dipping a clean white cloth in plain water to rinse the area. Blot dry with a clean cloth.

    Warning

    Rinse well to remove any suds as any soapy residue remaining will attract more soil to the carpet.

    Rinsing the stained area with a wet cloth

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  10. 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.

    Vacuuming the carpet after stain removal

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

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.