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 absolutely 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.

What You Need to Remove Mustard Stains

Gather these household tools to remove your mustard stains:

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain remover stick, gel, or spray
  • Color-safe bleach

Fresh Mustard Stains on Washable Fibers

If you get to a stain as soon as it happens, your chances of removing the stain are better than if you let it set. If your stain occurs on machine washable clothing, do the following steps right away:

  1. Remove as much mustard as you can: 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 in 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. Add liquid laundry detergent: Rub liquid laundry detergent 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. Add a 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 normally 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 again.
    remove mustard stain
    Illustration: J. R. Bee © The Spruce, 2018 

    Removing Fresh Mustard Stains on Non-washable Fibers

    Follow these steps for materials like acetate, triacetate, rayon, silk, wool, and burlap. You will need some additional tools to clean non-washable fibers.

    1. Remove as much mustard as you can: Lift off any excess mustard with a dull knife or spoon.
    2. Apply stain remover: Apply a stain remover to loosen the residue with a cleaner like Afta Cleaning Fluid.
    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 pad. You can also use a dull tool to scrape the caked-on stain.
    4. Apply a dry-cleaning solvent: Flush the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent.
    5. Dab at the stain: 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. Apply a hydrogen peroxide and ammonia solution: If the stain is still visible, moisten the area with 3 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.

      Dried Mustard Stains

      Dried stains need to be soaked in cool water with a color-safe oxygenated bleach like OxiClean or Clorox 2 for 30 minutes for as much as an hour before washing normally. 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. You can alternate with the steps above for fresh stains. This stain takes a lot of work to fully remove, but it can be done with patience and persistence