Remove Mustard Stains With 4 Simple Steps

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Mustard is one of America's most popular condiments, and one of the most annoying stains to remove, especially due to the yellow dye of turmeric. Because it sets so quickly, dealing with it right away is necessary. If the stain is dried, your only chance of getting it out may be to soak it and use color-safe oxygen bleach. First, determine if your fabric item is machine washable or dry-clean only. There are two different sets of steps to follow depending on the fabric.

Stain type Tannin-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water temperature Cold
Cycle type Varies by fabric

Project Metrics

Working Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 to 2 hours

Before You Begin

If you get to a stain as soon as it happens, your chances of removing the stain from washable and non-washable fabrics are better than if you let it set. Dried mustard stains are one of the toughest stains on the planet to remove and there is a very good chance that you will need to soak the item several times for the best results. Dried stains need to be soaked in cool water with a color-safe oxygenated bleach like OxiClean or Clorox 2 for 30 minutes to one hour before following the steps for removing fresh mustard stains. This stain takes a lot of work to fully remove, but it can be done with patience and persistence.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • Liquid heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Stain remover stick, gel, or spray
  • Color-safe bleach
  • Cold water

Tools

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Washer or large sink

Instructions for Washable Fabrics

remove mustard stain
The Spruce / J. R. Bee
  1. Remove Excess Mustard

    Use a dull knife or a spoon to gently scrape away as much mustard as possible. Be careful not to scrape so forcefully that you damage the fibers of the clothing. Do not skip this step or you will risk getting mustard on other parts of the clothing and creating a new stain.

  2. Rinse With Cold Water

    Rinse through the back of the stain to force the mustard back out of the fabric. Heat is going to set the mustard, so cold water is a must. 

  3. Treat Stain With Detergent

    Rub liquid heavy-duty laundry detergent (Tide or Persil) onto the mustard stain and allow the clothing to sit for up to 10 minutes. Rinse the stained area thoroughly. Repeat this step until no mustard stain is left. If you do not have liquid laundry detergent, try a dish soap as a backup. Although laundry detergent is preferred on tough stains.

  4. Use a Laundry Stain Remover

Following the directions, apply a stain remover to the mustard stain. A gel or liquid stain remover is going to soak in better than a stick. Wash as usual with liquid laundry detergent. Before drying the clothing, check to make sure that all of the mustard has been removed. If any hint remains, repeat the steps above. It likely will not all disappear on the first try, you might need to repeat these steps.

Removing Fresh Mustard Stains on Nonwashable Fabrics

For materials like acetate, triacetate, rayon, silk, wool, and burlap you will need some additional steps to remove mustard stains.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Household ammonia
  • Cold water

Tools

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Toothbrush
  • White cloth
  • Sponge

Instructions

  1. Remove Excess Mustard

    Lift off any excess mustard with a dull knife or spoon.

  2. Apply Dry Cleaning Solvent

    Apply a dry cleaning solvent stain remover to loosen the residue.

  3. Brush and Blot

    If the fabric is strong, use a brush (a new toothbrush works well) to make light strokes on the fabric (tamping) and then blot the excess with an absorbent white cloth. You can also use a dull tool to scrape a dried caked-on stain.

  4. Reapply the Dry Cleaning Solvent

    Flush the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent.

  5. Blot and Treat With Vinegar

    If the stain remains, use a sponge or pad dampened with water and make light strokes, moving outward from the center of the stain. Then apply a wet sponge with few drops of white vinegar. Tamp again to loosen the stain and flush with water.

  6. Treat With Hydrogen Peroxide and Ammonia

If the stain is still visible on white fabrics, moisten the area with three-percent hydrogen peroxide plus a drop of ammonia (except on silk and wool). Do not bleach longer than 15 minutes, then flush with water and let it dry.

Warning

Combining hydrogen peroxide and ammonia can produce toxic fumes. Use with caution and only in a well-ventilated space.