Introduction: 9 Surprising Uses for Mustard (that Don't Involve a Sandwich)

Picture of 9 Surprising Uses for Mustard (that Don't Involve a Sandwich)

Oh mustard, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...there's yellow, spicy, honey, dijon, horseradish, whole grain...muscle relaxant?!

Yes, just when you thought your favorite condiment couldn't get any better, I present to you 9 unusual uses for mustard that go beyond sandwich-making.

But first, a little mustard history!

Way back when, the Romans were first introduced to mustard seeds by the Egyptians. They mixed unfermented grape juice with ground mustard, and called this concoction "must" - hence mustard!

Step 1: Soothes Sore Throats

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Your favorite team just had their big game, and after cheering them on your throat is feeling a little raw. Hopefully you have some leftover mustard from that tailgate party on hand, because it will get you root-root-root-ing for the home team in no time.

Combine mustard, the juice of one half of a fresh lemon, one tablespoon of salt, one tablespoon of honey, and one half cup of boiling water. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Take some in your mouth and gargle! Warning: this concoction will not taste or smell good. After a few rounds of gargling, your throat should be feeling a lot less sore.

For the truly adventurous and brave, put one cap of mouthwash into the mix before gargling. This will increase the nastiness of the taste, but will also heighten the benefits.

Step 2: Removes Unwanted Smells

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They say to never judge a book by its cover, and the same usually goes for products. But I've been guilty of getting suckered in to buying something based solely on the fact that the bottle or container it came it looked awesome. So when I've had my fill of said-product, but want to keep the container, what can I do? Simple - I rise it out with some mustard and hot water, and I'm ready to start fresh.

Didn't see Pepé Le Pew on the road until it was too late? If you accidentally ran over a skunk, and don't want to hold your breath every time you take a ride, it's time to get rid of that smell. Mix 1 cup of dry mustard into 3 gallons of hot water. Mix it well, and splash on to the tires, wheels, and underbody of the car. Clean by spraying the solution off. Your passengers will thank you.

Step 3: Decongestant

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Have you ever eaten something so spicy that you get sweaty, teary, and have to grab a tissue? Mustard's heat can be put to a good use here, and this kind of 'drippyness' can be induced (in a controlled way, of course) to encourage decongestion.

In place of a topical decongestant, try rubbing some mustard on your chest. Place a cloth, damp with hot water, on top of the mustard. Within minutes, you will feel better. You will not only be able to smell again, but the first scent you'll be greeted with will be that of delicious mustard. Ahhhh

Step 4: Face Mask

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Mustard, not only do you enhance the beautiful flavor of my food, but you also enhance the beauty of my skin. Awesome!

Need to look great for that big date, but all out of a traditional face mask? Simply spread a thin layer of mustard on your face. The milder, the better, so go for a classic yellow. Let mustard settle for a few minutes then rinse. After rinsing, your face will be smoother and will have a nice healthy glow - not to mention smell like a sandwich. Added bonus? If using cucumbers on your eyes while mask-ing, you'll be able to have a quick snack before you run out the door!

WARNING: Take a second before slathering up your face like a sandwich, and see if the mustard makes your sensitive skin react. spread a little bit on your inner wrist. If you break out in some funky rash there, then I advise against putting mustard on your face.  

Step 5: Relaxes Muscles

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Work out too hard and now have some achy muscles? Mustard can help in a variety of ways, depending on the muscle pain.

If you're hurting all over, try a mustard-infused bath. Combine 2 tablespoons of mustard and 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts in your warm running bath water. Mustard will amplify the therapeutic effects of the salts, relieving you of muscle pains at a much faster rate than bathing with them alone. Leisurely soak in the bath for about twenty minutes to relieve minor muscle aches and pains. After your mustard bath, be sure to shower off to avoid the lingering scent of mustard on your skin. Unless you're into that, of course.

Feet exhausted from a long day of standing? Make a soothing mustard foot bath!  Combine 1 tablespoon mustard in a pan of warm to hot water. Stir the water well to completely dissolve the mustard, and dip those poor puppies in. This will leave your hands free to do more exciting things, like consume a sandwich.

Lower back pain? Pulled some some strange muscle that you didn't know you had? End the agony by making a mustard paste for these targeted sore muscles. Combine powdered mustard seed and all purpose flour in a bowl (1 part mustard seed to 2 parts flour) and slowly stir in warm water to make a paste. Spread the mixture on one side square of cheese cloth and fold. now place the plaster on the ache, securing it with a bandage. Leave the plaster in place for no more than 20-30 minutes at a time, and feel those aches and pains just float away. 

Step 6: Beautify Your Garden

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Bambi has been helping himself to your garden veggies a bit too much this season, and it's time to find a creative solution. Rub mustard on a tin pie plate and hang it on a post near your garden. One mustard-covered plate per corner will keep the critters out. Apparently they deer will mistake the scent of the mustard for the scent of sweaty farm workers.

Apparently white mustard seed releases some nutrients onto the soil that can prevent the growth of weeds and other unwanted plants. Plant a handful of white mustard seeds near your prized roses, or simply scatter the seeds throughout your garden. Your weed count significantly decline. Remember to do a bit of research before planting these seeds as some plants are harmed by mustard’s secretions.

Step 7: Hair Conditioner

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Mustard oil is a secret conditioner secret that salons don't want to get out. But here's the dish: pour a generous amount of oil (note: not French's) on your palm. Rub hands together, and then scrub and massage your hair. Once done, leave the mustard oil on your hair for about eight hours, or for the entire day/night if you choose. Before falling asleep, make sure you have a shower cap so you don't damage your pillows. Once time is up, rinse the oil with shampoo and conditioner. Upon rinsing, you hair will be softer and more bouncy, and you'll put those Herbal Essence commercials to shame.

Step 8: Burn Relief

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Kudos to you for trying your hand at that crazy complicated recipe. But your over-enthusiasm got the best of you and you managed to get a serious burn. Whether it is a severe burn or a minor burn, it hurts like heck and the pain just won't go away.

Step 1,  put the burned part of your body part under cool, running water. This will relieve some of the pain right away and will help to stop the progression of the burning. 

Step 2 is probably the best, and least known remedy for throbbing pain from burns: ordinary mustard. There is something special (magic?) in everyday yellow mustard that quickly takes away the pain. Just spread a nice and thick layer of mustard over the area and go about your Iron Cheffing. You'll find that the pain goes away almost immediately.

Step 9: Other Interesting Uses

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Mustard is also rumored to have some other extraordinary uses. If you get a chance, give these a whirl!
And, if you were a bit overzealous with your mustard and spilled a bit on your clothes, no worries. There's a way to get out that stain.


bodaciousbrittany (author)2011-04-14

As a culinary student, let me tell you guys the best thing I learned for burns: Egg whites. Dip the burn (which is usually on hands for those of us in the kitchen) in egg whites, let it dry, then dip it again. It'll burn like crazy for a second, but the egg whites create a seal.

Agreed. Not only egg white but also the inner layer of egg shell. I also use both when I get a small cut (via paper, knife, other), usually on my hands/fingers. I try to wrap inner layer of egg shell-- It works amazing! >> faster healing than using Band-Aid.

i must agree on this, since the egg whites (dont ask me why) kinda extract the heat off of the burned or burning skin, and leaves slim to no marks or blisters ;) a pressure cooer blowed up on my mothers face a couple of years ago, half her face was RED AS HELL and starting to blister a few seconds after the blowup, she used eggwhites as a facemask on the burned parts and there were no traces of any kind. (also applied aloe vera crystals after a few hours on the remaining burn marks

ddalton2 (author)rmoradell2012-06-13

Please don't use egg whites for burns. Raw eggs could (read: probably do) contain bacteria, which could seriously harm you if applied to an open wound. Cold water is the best thing.

RichardM13 (author)ddalton22015-11-04

The very article you link here contradicts what you say. COOL water NOT cold water as you say. Right there in the article. You should read it.

kcorn2 (author)ddalton22015-03-31

Not sure why someone has not yet (until now) clarified PASTEURIZED eggs whites. Pasteurization is the use of heat to destroy bacteria and viruses.

_NightSky_ (author)2017-02-27

If I'm using mustard, It involves a sandwich.

posteljooni (author)2015-11-03

You can also use the mix of mustard powder and baking soda (approx. 65/35) to do the dishes. Doesn't produce foam, but still cleans dishes VERY effectively and eco-friendly!
Apply this mix on the wet ware, let it sit for several minutes (while applying the mix on other dishes), then rinse with water. Done!

scantelcorps (author)posteljooni2015-11-06

Baking soda is not as eco-friendly as you might hope. Sodium in the soil will increase the salinity. Salt kills plants and trees.

posteljooni (author)scantelcorps2015-11-07

Good to know. Better yet - to know, where you've learned on higher soil salinity as a result of baking soda flushed with used tap water?

Anyway, I still believe that any possible ecological effects of baking soda and mustard - are much smaller (safer), than substances that are used in dish-washing detergents.

I also know, that sometimes I am not that careful when washing dishes (do it still manually), and small amounts of washing detergent might stay on plates - and get into my food. I prefer that detergent to be baking soda or mustard, NOT any soap or surfactant.

I could be wrong (I believe, I am not), and I am open to criticism.

U can also use mustard on hot dogs n Bologna sandwiches lol

I vote this as the best use posted in the comments! YUMMY

Carol P Bennett (author)2015-11-07

A spoonful of yellow mustard will also help relieve cramps or mild muscle spasms. Just ingest a good teaspoon of it, quick relief!

RobinT6 (author)2015-11-04

#5, rubbing it onto your chest, is the basis for the mustard plaster people used to use

agulesin (author)2015-11-04

Thanks for these interesting uses!

When I was young, I thought that I could "cool down" mustard's hot taste by making ice cubes out of it. For some reason, it didn't work! (they froze but were just as hot when I ate them!)...

RobinT6 (author)agulesin2015-11-04

thank you, the visual image of mustard ice cubes made me laugh after a rough day!

ronald.ferreira.39 (author)2015-11-04

ill try new years when someone gets burned

00meat (author)2015-11-03

You forgot one, it can be used as thermal paste in an emergency to put between your cpu and heat sink. It should also be noted that you can use a mixture of tooth paste and Vaseline or nutella and the effeciency isn't that differient from real thermal grease.

agulesin (author)00meat2015-11-04

Nutella? I've got much better uses for that than smearing it on my CPU :-))

FirstSpear (author)agulesin2015-11-04

Make a nice smell smell, though.

RichardM13 (author)00meat2015-11-03

Mustard contains concentrated (10% solution or above) vinegar which can be highly corrosive to metal (especially aluminum, but also others). Solder and other metallic surfaces do not react well to prolonged exposure to vinegar. DO NOT use this on circuit boards or CPUs. You can clean metal contacts with vinegar (or I suppose mustard), but you should wipe it off immediately.

00meat (author)RichardM132015-11-04

I said it would work, not that it was a good idea.Besides, a little corrosion on the processor will increase surface area and make it cool better. It's good for it.

RichardM13 (author)00meat2015-11-04

It's not the surface of the processor that I'd be worried about. It's the metal contacts and solder. Also, processor manufacturers are pretty careful in their design of processors. I wouldn't go around removing epoxy from the chip. Having said that, I like your tooth paste idea.

RichardM13 (author)RichardM132015-11-04

One other thing .... Most heat sinks are aluminum which does not react well when exposed to vinegar. That was why I mentioned it specifically.

CarinH (author)2015-11-03

Mustard seed in your garden will absolutely keep weeds out. And your roses will look so pretty hidden in your thick crop of four-foot-high mustard plants!

Leigh-AnnH (author)2015-11-03

My Grandmother made a wet paste with mustard powder and water and placed it onto a clean handkerchief then onto a ringworm for the count of 10. She removed it and put some vaseline or pawpaw ointment on. I think I did this for about 2 or 3 days twice a day. Cleared up the ringworm .

Moongold7 (author)2015-08-14

One commenter here has advised mustard for burns. I would like to add that good old Epsom Salts are the best treatment I've yet found. Half fill a jar with water and pour enough Salts into that to make it almost a solid mass - totally saturated, that is. If you burn yourself on a stove hotplate and plunge the finger into this straightaway, or apply the mixture to a burn on any other part, the burn will heal quicker than any other treatment, you will have NO blister, and no scar. The CSIRO recognises this as a legitimate and successful treatment for burns, and the reason is that it replaces magnesium that is removed by the burning. Another tip: use an Epsom salts drench in a shower at night to give you a blissful sleep. Here's how: Take a hot shower to cleanse the skin and open pores. Have ready a litre (or quart) of warm water into which 1/4 cup (or 2 ozs.) Epsom salts have been dissolved. When shower is over, slowly pour this solution over the entire body so that as far as possible every part has been covered. Wait a minute or two before drying the skin dry with a towel. Very good for insomnia. Each person has to determine by experience how long to wait before drying with the towel, for this is the secret of success! Some find they can hardly get out of bed and the limbs will feel heavy (truly!) if the body is not thoroughly towel-dried - this of course is too severe, and treatment needs to be modified for each person. Take note of just how much patting or rubbing dry you do and how this then affects your sleep that night, as well as how you feel when you awake. You'll soon learn how brisk the rub-down should be for you to give you an excellent night of unbroken sleep and a fresh awakening in the morning. Treatment has to be used every night to bring lasting results. The salts draw off the toxins thrown off by the skin and at the same time the magnesium is absorbed in part by the skin and conveyed to your nerve endings. If you doubt that the skin will absorb the salts, take a handful of them, moisten it, rub it on the back over the area of your intestines. If done thoroughly, your bowels will be activated as if you had drunk the salts themselves! An Epsom salts bath won't do the job as well as the drench does, as the salts will be too diluted by the amount of bathwater. The drench is also good for lowering high blood pressure, and in children it works to stop bed-wetting. Again, taking the treatments every night gives the desired results, not just for one or two nights. Sorry, know this page is about mustard, but just had to pass this on!

tecton47 (author)Moongold72015-11-03

I achieve the exact same results by mixing a stiff rum & coke with a few 10mg Valium.

jbryan2000 (author)tecton472015-11-03


lfoss (author)2015-11-03

"Mustard will amplify the therapeutic effects of the salts, relieving you of muscle pains at a much faster rate than bathing with them alone."

Do you have any proof of this? Maybe a reference or two that you could site? I'm curious to know how this would work, from a chemical reaction point-of-view.

Honora (author)2011-04-01

I met a Russian pediatrician working in a beauty salon here in New Zealand. She said it bothered her to see kids going around barefoot in NZ with runny noses. She said in Russia the child has mustard wiped onto the soles of their feet, then covered and they are put to bed to get rid of their colds.

ilpug (author)Honora2011-05-30

i successfully ignored my urge to make an "In Soviet Russia..." joke here.

susiefreckleface (author)ilpug2015-11-03

or the old phrase... there's a red under your bed

Nelson4469 (author)2015-11-03

Dunny mustard? Is that a real brand of mustard? In Australia the word dunny means a completely different thing. The word dunny in Oz is slang to toilet. Just sayin'.

corieltauvus (author)2015-11-03

Mustard is also a terrific breath freshener and deodoriser. Just a teaspoon of made up mustard rolled around the mouth clears odours from alcohol, garlic or just bad breath!

tecton47 (author)corieltauvus2015-11-03

I smeared some Grey Poupon in my armpits and it works much better than Mitchum!

REA (author)2012-09-28

The smell of mustard can also ward off cats. We keep a bottle at the dinner table to keep our cats from jumping on and coming close to our food.

iknowiknow2 (author)REA2014-05-29

A good swat of the arm gets kitty off the dinner table better than anything :P

Shyanne55 (author)iknowiknow22015-11-03

a rolled up newspaper secured by a rubber band will scare them off, you don't have to hit them, which is impossible.

schabanow (author)2015-11-03

Mustard powder or ready made stuff is pretty good at glass cleaning, yes it's true and green.

bsroon (author)2015-11-03

i wonder how much of the benefits are from the yellow coloring - derived from turmeric. Just one of the active ingredients in turmeric - curcumin - has been PROVEN to be more effective against many cancers than any chemo poison out there, any radiation treatment. To utilize the curcumin, black pepper and some other herbs are known to make it about a thousand more times bio-available.

Hooknbullet (author)2013-07-16

I love Dijon mustard, but plain old yellow mustard always makes me sleepy! What's that about?

It also does that with me but I've not been able to find anything online about using it for sleep.

valkgurl (author)2015-04-09

When you do the "smear on and cover" procedure--that is called a Mustard Plaster. And you should make sure not to leave it on too long or be careful to keep checking as it CAN burn your skin. Make sure to wash it off well afterwards to avoid staining and further burning.

To get mustard seeds of powder (some call it flour) cheaply try a noatural food store or Co-op; if they don't have it they usually can get it for you.

Dry mustard in cooking---add to any melted cheese recipe==Mac 'N' Cheese; (home made or boxed!) to give just a bit of extra flavor--start with about a 1/4 tsp in a boxed batch. Also a lot of recipes involving Sour Cream (not sweetened ones!) are much improved with a bit of it---think Stroganoff or cassaroles; add to dressings; Deviled Eggs; (any egg dish really!); Rib or Brisket Rubs---endless uses!

hgirtman (author)2011-04-08

DON'T DO THIS. COLD WATER ONLY FOR BURNS, unless you like having raw burned flesh scrubbed with a brillo pad at the ER. It may work, but you're opening yourself to a chance of serious infection. Just don't do it.

8bit (author)hgirtman2011-04-09

Although I enjoy being afraid of things, don't you think you're taking this one a bit far?

ddalton2 (author)8bit2012-06-13

Please see my above comment on using the egg whites. The bacteria present in mustard could cause similar infection and serious injury to an open burn.

iknowiknow2 (author)ddalton22014-05-29

Don't you think egg whites would have waaay more bacteria than vinegar-y mustard??

kcorn2 (author)iknowiknow22015-03-31

Not sure why someone has not yet (until now) clarified PASTEURIZED eggs whites. Pasteurization is the use of heat to destroy bacteria and viruses.

sara.m.carleton (author)hgirtman2014-11-04

NEVER use cold water, it kills the nerve endings. If you are against mustard, use luke warm or room temperature water. Or a slice of raw potato will draw the heat out as well.

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