Conquering Mustard Stains on Your Clothes

January 09, 2016

Summer means cookouts, trips to the ballpark, and trips to the beach. Don’t let mustard stains from hot dogs and hamburgers ruin your summer outing.  Mustard is a tough stain to handle. That characteristic yellow color comes from turmeric, a natural yellow dye.  Deal with the stain quickly to avoid a permanent dye job.

Note: Do not use any cleaning product containing ammonia! Ammonia plus turmeric equals a permanent stain. Always read the label before using any cleaning product.

hot dogs with mustard

Fresh Stain

Blot the stain immediately.  Do not rub. Rubbing sets the stain more deeply into the fabric.

Before you do anything else, read the care label on the item. Is it washable?

No — Take it to a dry cleaner.

Yes — Treat it quickly.  Lemon juice may do the trick. If you have a lemon, squeeze a tiny bit of lemon juice onto the stain. Otherwise, treat it with a natural or commercial pre-treating solution before washing.

Old Stain

If the stain is already dried, scrape off excess mustard with a dull knife.  Use one of the following natural pre-treat options before laundering:

  • Alcohol and Dish Soap — Mix a solution of three parts liquid dish soap and one part rubbing alcohol.
  • Vinegar, Water, and Dish Soap — Mix a half-teaspoon of liquid dish soap, a half-cup of water, and a few drops of white vinegar.

Place an absorbent material under the stain, apply the solution, and let soak for 10 minutes.

Rinse the stained area with hot water, then launder.

If natural solutions don’t work, you can try a commercial enzymatic cleaner labeled for protein-based stains. Make sure it is safe for your particular fabric and follow the directions carefully.

Mustard stains can be tough stains. Even washable fabrics may benefit from professional laundry service. Contact Utopia Cleaners at 617-695-3778 for help with stains in your laundry.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to the communities in Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Arlington, Woburn, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Belmont, Winchester, and Lexington via dry cleaning delivery service and laundry pickup service. Other services include alterations, wedding gown preservation and shirt laundry.


Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash