Like ketchup, mustard may cause you to grimace when it’s spilled on your clothing due to how its bright distinct color looks unsightly on your clothes. Unlike Ketchup, Mustard contains a dye called Turmeric which requires that this stain be treated differently. Turmeric is present both in the mustard seed itself and in the commercially produced mustard as an additive to enhance the yellow color. If not treated quickly, this dye can remain on your clothing as a permanent reminder of your spill.

The best time to catch and treat the stain is when it’s fresh and still moist. Blot immediately – do not rub it. You don’t want to spread the turmeric onto unstained fabric and/or set it even more deeply into the fabric fibers.

Follow these steps before you attempt remove the stain yourself:

Step 1: Read the care label of your garment. Some treatments that may work on cotton could destroy silk or wool. Any item that is not washable is best treated by a dry cleaning professional.

Step 2: Test all solutions, whether an over the counter stain removal product or an at home solution on an inconspicuous corner or seam allowance of the fabric to ensure that it doesn’t affect the color or feel of the fabric.

Step 3: Do not use a cleaning product that contains ammonia. Ammonia reacts with turmeric and your stain will be permanently set.

To remove a mustard stain at home, try one of these methods:

Option #1 –Rubbing alcohol, dish soap, water & an absorbent material to lie under the garment:

Mix a solution of three parts liquid dish soap and one part rubbing alcohol. Put this solution on the stain and allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes, but not too long such that it dries. The alcohol in this solution may make the stain look dark temporarily, but not to worry, it will rinse out! Rinse the treated area thoroughly with hot water, and then launder.

Option #2 – White vinegar, water, dish soap & an absorbent material to lie under the garment:

Mix a half-teaspoon of dish soap, a half-cup of water, and a few drops of white vinegar. Apply the solution to the mustard stain and allow to soak. Rinse well with hot water and launder.

Option #3 – If you’d like to channel Martha Stewart, here’s her remedy.  You will need a plate, spoon, alcohol or lighter fluid, tannin solution, tamping brush, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

Working on an overturned plate, scrape off any excess with the edge of a spoon. Be sure that you shake away all the scrapings so that you don’t find smaller yellow dots as an unwelcome surprise later. Apply a squirt of alcohol or lighter fluid to the stain. Soak the stain with the tannin solution, and then use a tamping brush to “beat out” the stain. Slip a towel underneath the affected area, and flush with water. If more color remains, apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Rinse with cool water, apply a few drops of vinegar, and rinse with water again. Wash the garment.

When stains are particularly persistent, take the garment to the stain removal specialists at Classic Cleaners. If you missed our feature on Theresa, our stain fighting expert, click here to get to know her.

– S.O.