Remove Mustard Stains With 4 Simple Steps

woman using a brush on a tough mustard stain

The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri

Overview
  • Total Time: 60 mins

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.

supplies used to treat a mustard stain
The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
Stain type Tannin-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water temperature Cold
Cycle type Varies by fabric

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Washer or large sink

Materials

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

Steps to Make It

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.

remove mustard stain
The Spruce / J. R. Bee

Instructions for Washable Fabrics

  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.

    use a spoon to remove excess mustard from the garment
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  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. 

    rinse the garment with cold water
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  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.

    treat the stain with detergent
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  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.

    treat the stain with stain remover
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri

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.

    remove excess mustard with a spoon
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  2. Apply Dry Cleaning Solvent

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

    apply dry cleaning solvent directly to the stain
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  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.

    use a brush for tough resistant stains
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  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.

    blot the garment with vinegar
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri
  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.

    a still-visible mustard stain
    The Spruce / Sarah Gualtieri

    Warning

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