How to Remove Mustard Stains from Clothes, Carpets, Upholstery

How to Remove Mustard Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Bailey Mariner

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. 

How to Remove Mustard Stains from Washable Clothes

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.

First begin by removing any mustard solids remaining on the stained fabric using a spoon, blunt 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. After removing the solids, 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.

As soon as possible, sponge the stain with a bit of plain rubbing alcohol or non-sudsing household ammonia and rinse well. If some stain remains, treat the stained area with a solvent-based stain remover spray or gel-like Zout or Shout or Spray 'n Wash.


Watch Now: How to Remove Mustard Stains From Fabric

If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide or Persil are highly rated 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 stain remover into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and allow it to work on the fabric at least fifteen minutes. Next, wash the garment or table linen as recommended for the fabric on the care label. Check the stained area before drying. If the stain is not gone, 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 the mustard stain remains on the fabric after washing, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and tepid water following package directions and submerge the garment. Allow it to soak at least four hours or overnight and then launder as usual. This type of bleach is safe for natural and synthetic fabrics that are either white or colored.  If stain is not gone, repeat this step.

laundry in a basket
​The Spruce / Kori Livingston 

How to Remove Mustard Stains from Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, lift away as much of the mustard solids as possible 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.

dry clean only items
​The Spruce / Kori Livingston

How to Remove Mustard Stains from Carpet

First, move as quickly as possible to treat the stain. If it is dry, add a fresh dollop of wet mustard and let it sit for five minutes. Believe it or not, that will help speed the stain removal process and prevent the mustard from spreading when water is added.

Use a dull knife or the edge of a spoon to lift the blob of mustard from the carpet. NEVER rub because that will push the mustard deeper in the fibers.

Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent in 2 cups of warm water. Dip a clean white cloth in the solution and blot the stain. 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. Finish by rinsing the area with plain water. Dip a clean cloth in plain water and blot to remove any suds that may actually attract more soil to the carpet.

If the stain is gone, allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat. If the stain remains, mix a solution of oxygen bleach and cool water following the package directions. Use a soft bristle brush to work the oxygen bleach solution into the carpet. Allow to work for at least one hour before blotting away and rinsing with cold water on a cloth. Repeat until all of the stain is gone. Allow the carpet to air dry and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.

wiping a rug
​The Spruce / Kori Livingston 

How to Remove Mustard Stains From Upholstery

To remove mustard stains from furniture and car upholstery, use the same cleaning solutions and techniques as recommended for carpet. Be careful to not overwet the fabric because excess moisture can cause problems with the cushion fillings. Allow the upholstery to air dry away from sunlight and direct heat.

If the furniture fabric is silk or vintage, lift away the solids and then contact a professional upholstery cleaner.

vinegar and a cloth in front of a sofa
​The Spruce / Kori Livingston