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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Removing Mustard

It’s funny how the season dictates our diet; summertime means lots of grilling at our house.  It’s also funny how your taste buds change.  Even just a few years ago, I wouldn’t have touched mustard.  Now I love the stuff, especially the spicy Dijon version.  Did you know that mustard is among the single most difficult stains to remove?  Traditional yellow mustard, with its mixture of mustard seed, color from turmeric, and liquid, is a combination stain.  Throw in the Dijon version and that means it could also contain wine, and worst yet, Dijonnaise could contain both wine and mayonnaise.

As much as we’d like to give you advice on how to remove a mustard stain at home, we can’t.  Working on it at home will likely remove the dried on portion but leave discoloration from the turmeric color.  To give you a better understanding of just how difficult this stain is to remove, I contacted Mike Feudale and asked him to give me a blow-by-blow on how he would go about trying to remove a blob of mustard.  Here’s what he told me:
  1. Determine how old the stain is and whether there were any prior stain removal attempts.
  2. Try to identify the type of mustard.  (It is helpful to not only point out the stain at drop off but to also share what type of mustard it is.  According to Mike, many cleaners guess wrong at the pre-spot stage, and this is where the yellow coloring must be broken down.  If you miss this opportunity, then it is likely that it is a stain for life on most fabrics and garment types.)
  3. Test the garment in an inconspicuous place to make sure there will be no dye bleeding.
  4. Begin the stain removal process by addressing each element individually, starting with the oil portion of the stain and moving on until each portion – vegetable, wine, dye – of the stain has been addressed.
Mike told me that he’s spent as much as 30 minutes working on a mustard spill.  I asked him if he’d ever been unsuccessful at removing a mustard stain.  I think I offended him.  “Me? Fail to remove a stain?  I can proudly say that the only mustard spill I could not remove was pre-spotted using home remedies,” he declared.  “Sometimes it is best to use the professional cleaner.”

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