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How to Get Mustard Out of Clothes

There’s something about a hotdog with a generous dollop of mustard. The mustard never wants to stay on the hotdog, though. It usually ends up on my shirt or my pants. Leaving me with bright yellow stains down my front. How do I get rid of them? How can I get mustard out of my clothes?

Mustard stains should be removed while they are still fresh and wet. For washable clothing, blot the stain to remove excess mustard. Add a stain remover like Shout or Oxyclean to the area and wash the garment. Dry clean only garments should be taken to a dry cleaner. Or treated with a home-use dry clean solvent like Forcefield.

In this article, you’ll learn how to get rid of those annoying mustard stains. Find out what causes those stubborn yellow blobs and how to banish them forever.

How to Get Mustard Out of Clothes

Why Does Mustard Stain Clothes?

The main reason you get mustard stains on your clothes is down to the laws of physics. Isaac Newton may have been thinking about apples when he said, “what goes up must come down”, but it’s just as applicable to mustard.

Mustard is a popular and flavorful condiment that can enrich the flavor of your snacks. Although it’s super tasty when applied to cheese, it’s delightful when spread on meat-based snacks like hotdogs, corndogs, and even a juicy burger.

As you lift that tantalizing meal to your mouth, the mustard is drawn earthwards by gravity. The pull is irresistible, causing the semi-liquid dressing to slide off your tasty treat and onto your shirt or pants. Or whatever is in its path. I’ve had to scrape mustard off the top of my shoe before now.

Things start to get messy when the yellow condiment reaches the fabric of your clothes. In more ways than one. Although, it isn’t gravity that’s the problem now. It’s absorption. So we’re now in the realms of chemistry. Who knew mustard stains could be so scientific?

As it has a semi-liquid consistency, it can soak into the fabric of your clothes, particularly if the material is made from natural fibers like cotton. These fibers will suck up the gloop oozing between them like a sponge, leaving you with a yellow splodge on your shirt.

But why yellow and why is it so striking and bright? Well, if we stick with science for a moment, the answer to that question lies in the biological makeup of mustard.

Mustard seeds contain a spice known as turmeric, also known as Indian saffron, turmeric can be found in curry mixes, condiments, teas, dyes, and some medicine. It is a substance known to help with inflammation and the associated pain that goes with it.

But for this article, it’s the color of the spice we’re most interested in. Turmeric is yellow and has a long history of being used as a natural dye. It can be used on cotton, silk, and wool, turning them into a warm gold color.

It can also dye things yellow by accident. Have you ever noticed the yellow stains on your crockery after eating an Indian curry? That’s down to turmeric. This stuff has the power to turn your dinner plates yellow, not just your clothes.

With mustard, there is a double-whammy for your shirt. Extra turmeric is often added to the condiment to boost the yellow hue. With double the dose, it’s no wonder yellow mustard stains stand out so brightly on your clothes.

Are Mustard Stains Permanent?

Are Mustard Stains PermanentNo, mustard stains don’t have to be permanent. The turmeric that causes the stain is a temporary dye. It will fade over time and after repeated washing.

However, those irritating spots of yellow won’t disappear quickly. You’ll have a reminder of that tasty hotdog on your shirt for some time. That’s why it’s better to deal with the mustard as soon as it lands on your clothes. The faster you can remove it, the more chance you’ll have of dispelling the yellow peril forever.

You can inadvertently make turmeric or mustard stains permanent. This is down to how you treat your clothing in the laundry room. Instead of throwing your garment straight into the washing machine, you need to do some prep work first. Particularly if you know you had a mustard-covered burger for lunch.

Check your garment for signs of staining before you put them in the wash. Not just for mustard, this rule applies to any garment and for any signs of stains. If you forget and wash the item, make sure you double-check it before you put it in the dryer.

Dryers are notorious for making any type of stain permanent, including a mustard splodge. Although turmeric is a short-lived dye for clothing, using a dryer or any form of heat can drastically change that.

To prevent your mustard from becoming a permanent reminder of bygone meals:

  1. Be careful with your clothing on wash day.
  2. Sort your garments and check for icky spots.
  3. Always treat the stains before you wash your laundry.

How to Get Mustard Out of Clothes

Remove Mustard Stains From Clothes

To get mustard stains out of clothes, you need to act quickly while the mustard is still wet. The first thing you should do is blot away the excess mustard dribbling all over your shirt. Don’t rub, though. You don’t want to spread it or stop it in its tracks. A tissue or a napkin will do the job.

Next, check the care label to make sure the garment is washable. The following remedies are only suitable for washable clothing. Don’t try to use any on dry clean only garments as you could damage the garment.

1. Distilled White Vinegar and Dish Soap

VinegarAlthough distilled white vinegar is known to be an effective stain remover in its own right, you can’t use it on its own with mustard. That’s because mustard contains vinegar. Adding vinegar to vinegar will lift the stain. But it will thin the mustard and spread it further rather than remove it.

To counteract that effect, you’ll need to use distilled white vinegar with dish soap. Dawn is a good choice, but you can use any dish detergent. The dish soap will help keep the vinegar in check.
You will need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Cup
  • Blunt knife
  • Kitchen paper
  • Lukewarm water
  • Washing machine
  • Your usual laundry detergent

Step 1
Using your blunt knife, scrape away any excess mustard to prevent it from spreading further. Fill a cup with lukewarm water until it’s about an inch down from the brim. Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap and a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Stir the solution until it is mixed well.

Step 2
Apply the solution to the area and massage it with your fingers. Leave it to soak for 30 minutes. After the time has elapsed, gently dab at the stain with kitchen paper to lift the mustard away from the clothing. If it doesn’t lift off easily, leave it to soak for another 10 minutes and try again.

Step 3
The stain should start transferring to the kitchen paper as you dab. As the paper gets soaked, change to a fresh piece. Keep dabbing and lifting the stain until no more will come out.

Step 4
Wash your garment as you would normally use your regular laundry detergent. Once the cycle has ended, check your clothing for any remaining traces of mustard. If they are all gone, allow the garment to air dry. Don’t use your dryer, just in case you missed a bit.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide and Laundry Detergent

Hydrogen PeroxideWhen used in the laundry room, hydrogen peroxide becomes an effective stain remover. Add it to laundry detergent, which can boost the stain-busting power of your usual liquid.

You will need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Your usual laundry detergent
  • Blunt knife
  • Small bowl
  • Washing machine

Step 1
Remove any surplus mustard with your blunt knife. Mix 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent using a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Once it has been completely mixed, pour it onto the mustard stain. Leave it to soak for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the stain.

Step 2
Add your garment to your washing machine and wash it. Your usual washing cycle and detergent are fine for this. Check the garment for signs of mustard after the cycle ends. If any remain, rewash the item. Otherwise, air dry it on an external clothesline or internal clothes rack.

3. Commercial Stain Removers

OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder, 3 lbCommercial stain removers have been specially formulated to remove stains from garments. The best-known stain removers are Oxyclean and Shout. Make sure to pick the right stain remover for your fabric as not of them are suitable for all materials.

You will need:

  • Commercial stain remover
  • Blunt knife
  • Washing machine
  • Your usual laundry detergent

Step 1
Scape off any excess mustard with your blunt knife. Read the instructions on the packaging of your commercial stain remover. Follow the directions and apply the remover as instructed.

Step 2
Depending on the severity of the stain, allow the stain remover to soak into the garment. The packaging should tell you how long you should do this. It can be anywhere between a couple of minutes to overnight.

Step 3
Wash your garment in your washing machine. You can wash it the way you would normally and use your regular detergent. Once the cycle has been completed, check the garment for stains. If they have all gone, dry the item. If not, repeat the stain remover treatment and rewash the garment.

How to Get Dried Mustard Out of Clothes

Dealing with a mustard stain that has dried into the fabric is more of a challenge. But it isn’t impossible. You’ll need a little more patience and it might take a couple of treatments, but it can be done.
You will need:

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Commercial stain remover
  • Cold water
  • Clothes brush
  • Washing machine

Step 1
Mix a tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with cold water. Use your clothes brush to sweep away any dried flakes of mustard. Then add the mix of water and detergent to the stain. Leave it to soak overnight.

Step 2
Add some Oxyclean or a similar commercial stain remover to the stain. Follow the directions on the packaging for the amount to apply. This will also give you an idea of how long to leave the stain remover to soak into the area.

Step 3
Wash your garment as you would normally use your regular detergent. When the washing machine cycle has concluded, check your garment for stains. If you can still see traces of yellow, repeat the steps above. You may need to do this more than once.

Step 4
Once you are happy all traces of mustard have been removed; you can dry your garment. Air dry it outside on a line or inside on a clothes rack. Avoid the dryer for now, as you may have missed a stray spot of mustard. This will come out on its own eventually. But not if you use the dryer.

Will Mustard Stains Come Out of Non-Washable Garments?

Yes, you can remove mustard from non-washable garments. It can be a little trickier due to the nature of the clothing. Some non-washable items are water intolerant which can make stain removal a challenge.

The first thing to do is limit the damage. Grab a tissue or a napkin and blot the mustard stain before it has a chance to dry. You need to get the excess mustard off the clothing before it can soak into the fabric.

Check your care label before you do anything else. If it says, “dry clean only”, do not attempt to clean it yourself. Take it to a professional dry cleaner. They have the equipment, knowledge, and suitable products to deal with the mustard stain.

If the care label says, “dry clean”, then you may be able to treat the stain yourself. Forcefield Dry Cleaning Fluid for Fine Fabrics is a popular dry cleaning solution you can use at home. Aimed towards carpets and upholstery, it’s intended for use on items you can’t wash.

As always, check the small print on the packaging to make sure it is safe for use on your garment. For best results, follow the directions on the bottle and do a spot test before committing to a full treatment.

If you doubt how the product will react to your clothing, don’t take the risk. Get the item dry cleaned professionally. Not only will this save you the heartache of losing a cherished garment, but it will also save you the cost of replacing it.

Will Heat Remove Mustard Stains From Clothes?

No, unfortunately, you can’t use heat to remove mustard stains. Hot water will relax the fabric fibers and allow the turmeric to soak further into the material. Turmeric is a dye and the heat of the water will help it spread through the garment, creating a larger problem than the initial stain.

You should also avoid heat from the dryer. Dryers are the public enemy number one when it comes to stains. Not just mustard stains, but any stain. They give off a lot of heat as they dry. That’s how they dry clothes so quickly.

Unfortunately, the heat and speed at which they dry can cook the stain into the fabric, particularly if it’s a food-based stain like mustard, making it a permanent addition to your clothing.

The key to successful mustard stain removal is cold or lukewarm water and air drying. The lukewarm water will have enough warmth to make the fibers supple enough to let go of the mustard. But, not so supple, they allow the mustard to penetrate deeper into the clothing.

Air drying is slower than a tumble dryer. A more natural drying speed allows the fibers in the garment a chance to dry out before the mustard can seep further down through the material. That way, any stain stays closer to the surface and is much easier to remove.

How to Get Mustard Out of Clothes Quickly

To get mustard out of clothes quickly, you’ll need to act as soon as the mustard dollop lands on your shirt. Don’t delay! Speed is definitely of the essence when it comes to anything containing turmeric.

Grab a tissue, a napkin, or a tea towel, and start to blot the mustard. Get as much of that excess gloop off the fabric of your garment as soon as you can. The longer you leave it, the more time it has to soak into the fibers.

You need to do this for both washable and non-washable garments. The only difference is that your dry clean only garment will have to be rushed to the cleaners, whereas your washable item can be dealt with at home.

The quickest product for removing mustard and the pesky turmeric dye is a commercial stain remover. Shout or Oxyclean are incredibly effective at removing food stains. Treat the stain with the product and allow it to soak in. Then wash your garment as you would normally.

Best Way to Get Mustard Out of Clothes

Commercial stain removers are the best way to remove stains caused by mustard. Simply treat the stain with a product like Shout and put your garment into the washing machine.

You can also use a mix of vinegar and dish soap as a stain remover, but this can take a little longer to work and may need more than one treatment.

The best way to get mustard out of dry clean only garments is by taking them to a dry cleaning establishment. These garments can be easily damaged, so it’s safer to let a professional cleaner deal with the stain.

Have you ever dropped mustard onto your clothes? What method did you use to remove the stain? Let me know in the comments.