How to remove mustard stains
Mustard can be a tough stain to move, with the saucy little condiment containing turmeric dyes that have been used to colour and dye fabric for centuries. Mustard gets right into the fibres and alters its structure and colour, making it one of the trickiest stains to treat. But never fear! Here's how to beat that stain.
Options to remove mustard stains from clothes or fabric
Cold water is your best friend when it comes to mustard stains – and lots of it. Scrape away any excess mustard before turning the item inside out and rinsing in cold water. You need to do it from the back of the stain to make sure the mustard washes down the drain and the stain doesn’t spread.
You can then try soaking the stain in a solution of detergent and water. Then wash the garment as per the washing instructions, ideally in the hottest water that can be tolerated by the garment.
Other ideas for removing stubborn mustard stains include:
- Soaking in a solution of one part vinegar to one part water.
- Professional drycleaning works best if you can get the stained garment to the cleaners as quickly as possible.
- Try gently bleaching out a stubborn mustard stain using a weak solution of hydrogen pyroxide (yep, the stuff you buy at the chemist to treat cuts and scrapes with). This can be dangerous on a coloured fabric, but works well for whites. Try a 3% solution in water, apply and then blot gently with a white towel.
- If you are attempting to remove an old mustard stain and have access to the same type of mustard as the original stain, try reapplying the mustard to the exact same spot. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then treat as though it’s a brand new stain and see if you have any success.
Removing mustard stains from unwashable fabrics
If the care label says the clothing is not washable, the easiest thing is to take the item straight to the drycleaners. You can try blotting the stain with a towel and some drycleaning fluid available from hardware stores or supermarkets. Blot from inside the clothing to push the stain outwards.
Removing mustard stains from carpet or furniture
Scrape off as much mustard as possible with paper towel. Then you can try a couple of different methods once you’ve tested the carpet or furniture material for colourfastedness.
- Mix a quarter teaspoon of mild detergent with a cup of water (try to avoid using a detergent that contains optical brighteners as it can discolour fabrics and carpets over the long term). Blot from the outside of the stain into the centre with white towels or paper towels to see how much stain transfers.
- Try flushing the stain with an eye dropper and some vinegar. Slowly apply the vinegar with the eye dropper. Blot with a white towel or paper towel, changing frequently so as not to re-stain the area. Do not apply the vinegar faster than the towel can absorb.
Stain remover notes
- The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
- Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
- Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
- Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
- Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
- Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
- The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
- If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
- It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.