How to remove mustard stains

Mustard is a delicious condiment that can liven up all kinds of dishes, from hot dogs and burgers to sandwiches and salads. However, its bright yellow color can also make it a tricky substance to deal with when it comes to removing stains. Whether you’ve spilled mustard on your shirt, tablecloth, or upholstery, those stubborn yellow stains can be frustratingly difficult to get out.

But don’t worry – with the right knowledge and techniques, you can get rid of mustard stains for good. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best methods for removing mustard stains from a variety of fabrics and surfaces. We’ll cover everything from pretreating the stain to using the right cleaning products and techniques.

remove mustard stains

By the end, you’ll be an expert at tackling those pesky mustard stains and keeping your clothes, linens, and furniture looking fresh and clean. Let’s get started!

What Causes Mustard Stains?

Mustard is made from the seeds of various mustard plant species, which contain a pigment called turmeric. This pigment is what gives mustard its bright yellow color – and what also makes it such a stubborn stain.

When mustard comes into contact with fabric or other surfaces, the turmeric pigment can quickly bond to the fibers, creating a stain that is difficult to remove. The longer the mustard is left to sit, the more time the pigment has to set in, making the stain even harder to get out.

In addition to the turmeric pigment, mustard also contains oils and other compounds that can contribute to the staining process. These substances can penetrate deep into the fabric, making the stain even more stubborn.

Factors that Affect Mustard Stain Removal

Several factors can influence how difficult it is to remove a mustard stain, including:

Fabric typeDelicate fabrics like silk or satin may be more prone to permanent staining, while sturdier fabrics like cotton or polyester may be easier to clean.
Stain ageThe longer a mustard stain has had to set, the more difficult it will be to remove. Fresh stains are generally easier to tackle than old, set-in stains.
Stain sizeLarger mustard stains will be more challenging to remove than smaller ones, as the pigment and oils have had more time to spread and penetrate the fabric.
Mustard ingredientsMustards with added oils or vinegar may be more stubborn than simple yellow mustard.
PretreatmentHow you initially treat the stain can make a big difference in how effectively you’re able to remove it. Prompt action and the right pretreatment methods are key.

By understanding these factors, you can better prepare to tackle those pesky mustard stains and increase your chances of success.

How to Remove Mustard Stains

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what causes mustard stains and what affects their removal, let’s dive into the step-by-step process for getting rid of them. Here are the best methods for removing mustard stains from various surfaces:

Removing Mustard Stains from Clothing

  1. Act quickly. The sooner you can treat a mustard stain, the better. As soon as possible, blot the stain with a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel to soak up as much of the mustard as you can.
  2. Pretreat the stain. There are a few effective pretreatment options for mustard stains on clothing:
    • Apply a small amount of dish soap or laundry detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it in. The surfactants in the soap will help break down the stain.
    • Mix a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water, and sponge or dab it onto the stain. The acidic vinegar can help lift the mustard pigment.
    • Use a commercial stain remover designed for greasy or set-in stains. Look for products containing enzymes or bleaching agents, such as OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover.
    Let the pretreatment sit for 5-10 minutes before proceeding.
  3. Wash the garment. Once the stain is pretreated, wash the item in the hottest water recommended for the fabric. You can also try adding a oxygen-based bleach product, like Clorox 2 Stain Remover and Color Booster, to the wash cycle for extra stain-fighting power.
  4. Air dry, then check. After washing, air dry the garment rather than putting it in the dryer. This will allow you to inspect the stain and see if any traces remain. If so, repeat the pretreatment and washing process.

Removing Mustard Stains from Upholstery and Carpets

  1. Blot the stain. Use a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel to blot up as much of the spilled mustard as possible.
  2. Apply a stain remover. Spray or dab a commercial upholstery or carpet stain remover directly onto the mustard stain. Look for products that contain enzymes or bleaching agents, such as Clorox Carpet Cleaner with Bleach.
  3. Let it sit. Allow the stain remover to sit on the stain for the recommended time, usually 5-10 minutes.
  4. Blot and rinse. Blot the area with a clean cloth to lift the stain. Then, use a damp cloth to rinse the area and remove any remaining stain remover.
  5. Repeat as needed. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it’s fully removed. You may need to use a small amount of mild dish soap or white vinegar as well.
  6. Dry thoroughly. Make sure to allow the area to fully air dry before using the furniture or walking on the carpet.

Removing Mustard Stains from Tablecloths and Linens

  1. Pretreat the stain. Apply a small amount of dish soap or laundry detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it in. You can also try a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water, or a commercial stain remover like Persil ProClean Stain Fighter.
  2. Soak in cold water. Submerge the stained item in a sink or bucket of cold water for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help loosen the stain.
  3. Wash in hot water. After soaking, wash the item in the hottest water recommended for the fabric, using an oxygen-based bleach if desired, such as Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty 10X Power.
  4. Air dry. Hang or lay the item flat to air dry, rather than putting it in the dryer. This will allow you to inspect the stain and repeat the process if needed.

Removing Mustard Stains from Hard Surfaces

  1. Blot the spill. Use a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towels to blot up as much of the mustard as possible.
  2. Apply a degreasing agent. Spray or dab a degreasing product, such as Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid or an all-purpose cleaner, directly onto the stain. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Scrub the area. Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to gently scrub the stained area, working the degreasing agent into the surface.
  4. Rinse and dry. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth, then dry it thoroughly with a clean, dry towel.
  5. Repeat as needed. If any staining remains, repeat the process until the mustard is fully removed.

Tips for Preventing Mustard Stains

In addition to knowing how to remove mustard stains, it’s also helpful to understand some strategies for preventing them in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Be cautious when handling and eating foods with mustard. Take care to avoid spills, and quickly blot any small drips or splatters.
  • Use a bib or napkin when eating messy foods like hot dogs or burgers with mustard.
  • Apply a stain-resistant coating or protectant, such as Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector, to upholstery, carpets, and other surfaces that may be prone to mustard stains.
  • Pretreat clothing by spraying it with a stain repellent, like Tide Antibacterial Fabric Spray, before wearing.
  • Act quickly if a mustard stain does occur – the sooner you can treat it, the better your chances of removing it completely.

By being proactive and taking the right preventative measures, you can help avoid the hassle of dealing with stubborn mustard stains down the line.


Mustard stains can be a real pain to remove, but with the right techniques and products, you can get the job done effectively. Whether you’re dealing with a mustard spill on your clothing, upholstery, or linens, the key is to act quickly, pretreat the stain, and use the appropriate cleaning methods.

By following the step-by-step guides outlined in this article, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge and tools you need to tackle those pesky mustard stains and keep your home and wardrobe looking fresh and clean. Don’t let a little yellow condiment ruin your day – with these proven stain-removal strategies, you can keep mustard where it belongs – on your food, not your fabrics.

So the next time you find yourself faced with a mustard stain, don’t panic. Refer back to this guide, put in a little elbow grease, and say goodbye to those stubborn yellow spots for good. Happy cleaning!

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.