Mustard is one of America's most popular condiments, and undeniably delicious on a hotdog or a sandwich. Unfortunately, though, it's one of the most annoying stains to remove, as turmeric, the spice that gives it its characteristic bright yellow color, is so persistent. Because mustard stains set so quickly, dealing with it right away is necessary for the best results. If the stain is dried, it becomes much more difficult to remove entirely, although it's sometimes still possible. Never put a mustard-stained garment into the dryer before treating the stain; the dryer's heat will set the stain permanently.
Before getting started, 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.
Watch Now: How to Remove Mustard Stains From Fabric
|Detergent type||Heavy-duty laundry detergent|
|Cycle type||Varies by fabric|
Equipment / Tools
- Dull knife or spoon
- Washer or large sink
- Dull knife or spoon
- White cloth
- Clean sponge (Optional)
- Liquid heavy-duty laundry detergent
- Stain remover stick, gel, or spray
- Color-safe oxygen-bleach (Optional)
- Cold water
- Dry-cleaning solvent
- Distilled white vinegar (Optional)
- Hydyrogen peroxide (Optional)
- Household ammonia (Optional)
- Cold water
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. Mustard stains are one of the toughest stains you are ever likely to face, and there is a very good chance that you will need to soak the item several times for the best results. Still, although this stain takes a lot of work to fully remove, it can usually be done with patience and persistence.
However, if the mustard has dried on a washable fabric, you'll need to soak the garment in cool water with a color-safe oxygenated bleach like OxiClean or Clorox 2 for 30 minutes to one hour before following the steps below for removing fresh mustard stains on these fabrics.
Removing Mustard Stains From Washable Fabrics
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.
Rinse With Cold Water
Rinse through the back of the stain to force as much mustard back out of the fabric as possible. Heat is going to set the mustard, so cold water is a must.
Treat Stain With Detergent
Rub liquid heavy-duty laundry detergent, such as Tide or Persil, onto the mustard stain and allow the clothing to sit for up to ten minutes. Rinse the stained area thoroughly with cold water. Repeat this step until no mustard stain is left. If you do not have liquid laundry detergent, try a dish soap as a backup.
Use a Laundry Stain Remover
Following the product directions, apply a laundry stain remover to the mustard stain. A gel or liquid stain remover is going to soak in better than a stick. Let the garment sit for five to 10 minutes.
Wash the Garment
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 of stain remains, repeat the steps above. Do not put the garment into the dryer until the stain is gone.
Chances are, you will need to repeat the steps at least twice. Once the stain is gone, go ahead and dry the clothing as usual.
Removing Mustard Stains on Nonwashable Fabrics
Use the following steps for materials that cannot be washed in a washing machine, such as acetate, triacetate, rayon, silk, wool, and burlap. Note that you cannot use dry-cleaning solvent on leather, suede, or velvet, however. If the mustard stain has dried, take the garment to a dry cleaner. These instructions are only for fresh stains.
Remove Excess Mustard
Lift off any excess mustard with a dull knife or spoon, taking care not to damage the fabric by scraping too hard.
Apply Dry Cleaning Solvent
Apply a dry cleaning solvent stain remover to loosen the residue, such as ForceField. Follow the package directions carefully for the length of time to let the product sit.
Brush and Blot
If the fabric is not too delicate, 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.
Reapply the Dry Cleaning Solvent
Flush the stain with fresh dry-cleaning solvent, and check to see if any traces of mustard remain. If not, let the garment dry. If so, continue to the next step.
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 then flush with cold water. Check to see if the stain is gone. If it remains, and the fabric is white, continue to the next step. If the fabric is colored, then you've done the best you can at home.
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, and then flush with cold water and let the fabric dry.
Combining hydrogen peroxide and ammonia can produce strong-smelling fumes. Use with caution and only in a well-ventilated space.
Additional Tips for Handling Mustard Stains
The best way to tackle mustard stains on fabric is not to have them to begin with, so take extra care when enjoying this bright yellow condiment. But should an accident occur and mustard plops onto your shirt or other fabric, follow the guidelines above as soon as possible. If the stain persists even after your best efforts, chance are it's permanent. However, it is possible that a professional dry cleaner can reduce the discoloration further. Explain the steps you've already taken and the products you've tried. The dry cleaner should be able to tell you if they feel they can remove the stain or not.