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




About: Former Instructables employee. Living in San Francisco amidst the fog. I love getting my hands dirty by taking on new projects, developing unique skills and learning fun facts.

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!

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Step 1: Soothes Sore Throats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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    102 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 8

    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.

    5 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 8

    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


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 8


    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.



    Reply 3 years ago

    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.


    Reply 4 years ago

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


    2 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    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!

    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

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


    Reply 3 years ago

    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.

    Carol P Bennett

    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    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!)...

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

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