Image of denim shirt and folded towels next to laundry detergent and stain remover

How to get mustard out of clothes in 5 quick steps.

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

Nearly everyone loves ketchup, but, if there is a close runner up, it’s probably mustard. But what happens when it gets on your clothes and how should you attempt to get the stain out?

Regardless of your preferences, mustard can cause quite the mess, especially when it gets on your favorite clothes (and you’re not able to act fast enough to clean it up). Fortunately, while mustard can be quite the stain beast, using our tips will give you the best chance of success at making your clothes look as good as new.

Does mustard stain?

Person sorting out their clothes as they do their laundry to remove a mustard stain

Unfortunately, yes. Mustard can leave behind nasty stains due to the yellow turmeric dye in it. These stains, especially if dry, can be almost impossible to remove completely. That’s why it’s important to act as quickly as you can.

What household products can be used to get mustard out?

Vinegar is probably one of the most effective and natural products you can find in your house for removing mustard stains. You can also make a paste using baking soda with vinegar to boost the cleaning properties of the vinegar.

How to remove mustard stains from clothes

The best way to start is by reading the cleaning instructions that come on the care tag of the fabric, as there are different methods for removing stains that are machine-washable vs. dry-clean-only fabrics.

How to machine-wash mustard stains out

How to do it:

Step 1

Soften the stain to prepare it for removal. For a dry mustard stain, soak the fabric in cool water mixed with color-safe oxygenated bleach for up to an hour. You may have to soak several times for best results.

If the stain is fresh, go directly to the next step.

Step 2

Scrape off excess mustard from the fabric using a dull knife or spoon. Be sure to do so gently to prevent ripping the fibers.

Step 3

Turn the stained area upside down and rinse it with cold water. Get as much of the stain out as possible.

Be sure to use only cold water, as hot water will make it more difficult to remove.

Step 4

Time to spot treat. You can do this by taking a liquid laundry detergent and rubbing it into the stain. Allow it to rest for up to 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

You can also use dish detergent if laundry detergent is unavailable.

Step 5

Wash your mustardy piece of clothing using a stain remover. Apply the laundry stain remover to the stain and wash per the instructions on the clothing label.

Check the stained area before drying and repeat the steps above if the stain is still not removed. Once you are satisfied the stain is gone, then you can dry the clothes.

How to dry clean mustard stains out (without going to the dry cleaners)

Natural laundry products from Grove Collaborative on a shelf.

You will need

How to do it:

Step 1

Again, scrape off the excess. Be sure to use a dull knife, spoon, or plastic scraper to remove as much of the mustard as possible. Do it carefully to prevent accidentally damaging the fabric.

Step 2

Apply a commercial dry-cleaning solvent directly to the pesky stain. This will help to loosen the stain residue and make it easier to remove successfully.

Step 3

Scrub and blot. You can do this using a soft bristled brush (A toothbrush works!), just be sure to brush and scrub the stained area gently. Once you have worked the stain out as much as possible, blot any excess moisture away with an absorbent soft cloth.

Step 4

Apply your dry-cleaning solvent again. Be sure to use a generous amount and check for any residue. Repeat step 3.

Once you are happy with the stain’s removal, you can finish dry cleaning.

Step 5 (optional):

Apply white vinegar. If the mustard stain persists even after all your Herculean efforts to remove it using the tactics we’ve already discussed, it can’t hurt to try some alternatives!

Dampen the stain using a wet sponge and scrub from the center outward. Next, apply a few drops of vinegar using the wet sponge and gently work the stain out. Rinse with water before checking to see if the stain is completely removed.

Step 6 (optional):
This isn’t the most natural cleaning recommendation, but if you have a stubborn stain that won’t give in to our cleaning tips above, we’re bringing out the big guns with this one.

If the stain still remains, especially on white fabrics, try applying hydrogen peroxide along with a drop of ammonia to the fabric. Let it rest for up to 15 minutes max. Rinse with water and then dry as labelled.

How to remove mustard stains from other household items

A clean white bedroom and bed with natural cleaning products at the foot of the bed

Your clothes aren’t the only things mustard can stain. Mustard can leave stains on other household items too, like carpeting and upholstery. Fortunately, the cleaning methods for both of these types of stains are similar.

You can start by scraping off the excess mustard and making a solution of liquid detergent and warm water. Apply the cleaning solution with a white cloth and thoroughly dampen the stain. Blot out the excess and repeat these steps as needed.

If the stain persists, try making a solution of ammonia and warm water and applying it to the stain. Rinse the stain with cold water when you're done, and blot to remove the ammonia solution before drying.

How to remove stains from other sauces and condiments

Adult and young child working together at the dinner table removing stains from laundry.

Other condiments, like mayo and ketchup, can stain your clothing just as easily as mustard, although to be fair, mayo may be a bit easier to remove.

Again, the methods of cleaning these types of stains are similar to the methods of removing mustard stains, so we aren’t reinventing any wheels here.

How to get ketchup stains out

Start by rinsing the stained area with water to remove as much of the ketchup as possible. Pretreat the clothing with laundry detergent and let it rest for a few minutes. Rinse and gently scrub using a soft bristled brush.

If the stain persists, dampen the stain with white vinegar and rinse again. Repeat these steps as needed to remove the stain completely.

How to get mayonnaise stains out

Mayo stains, by comparison, are much easier and more straightforward to remove. Simply apply a dishwashing liquid to the stain and scrub it with a soft-bristled brush. Let it rest for up to 10 minutes before rinsing with water. Repeat as needed until you’re sure the stain is gone.

Remember, mustard isn’t the easiest stain to remove. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Now you’re ready for your next hot dog!

orange stainbusters illustrated logo

Spills happen, but Grove Collaborative has you covered with Stain Busters. Each week, we’ll tell you how to tackle a different tough stain around the home or on your clothes. Red wine, grass stains, ink ... no stubborn stain is a match for our grime-busting guides.