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How to Remove Ketchup & Mustard Stains

Ketchup and mustard stains seem to show up on clothing together, especially when grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are on the menu. Mustard is a dye stain, which is difficult to remove. Don't try washing out the stains with hot water, as it will set them. For best results, catch the stain before tossing whatever it is on in the washing machine or dryer. While there are commercial cleaning products designed specifically for removing certain types of stains, like ketchup and mustard, it is possible to remove these stains using basic cleaning products.

Picnics are a good place to pick up mustard and ketchup stains.
  1. Scrape off dried mustard or ketchup, using a dull knife. Be carful not to damage the fibers of the fabric.

  2. Rinse the stain under cold water, adding a drop of mild liquid dish detergent. Continue to run water over the area as you soap up the stain using your fingertips.

  3. Apply a little glycerin to the area if the previous step did not remove the stain. Other household items to try are a dab of foaming shaving cream for ketchup or waterless hand cleaner for mustard.

  4. Rinse the article, removing all traces of the cleaner.

  5. Soak colorfast or white articles in a solution of all-fabric powdered bleach. Do this if the previous steps did not remove the stain. Follow the manufacturer's instruction on the ratio of bleach to water and the soaking length.

About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.