7 Surprising Ways To Use Ordinary Mustard On Your Body

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Mustard is a favorite condiment for many. Maybe you’re a spicy mustard kind of person, or maybe you keep things classic with plain yellow.

Or maybe you get fancy with some Dijon.

But no matter your preferred version, you probably just stick with eating it, and that’s fine — but it turns out that mustard can do so much more!

Mustard is made out of the crushed seeds of the mustard plant, which has golden-yellow flowers. Mustard can be mild or spicy, or even sweet, and is used in dishes all over the world.

But it’s also used to soothe irritations, to clear up colds and congestion, and even as skin care!

It might sound strange to do anything with mustard besides drizzling it over your favorite hot dog creation, but people have been using it for generations as an inexpensive, homespun remedy for colds, burns, aches, and pains.

And with cold and flu season coming up, these tips are good to know!

Read on to discover new ways to use your mustard!

Why Mustard?

Bottle of mustard
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Well, first of all, it’s yummy. But it’s also been used medicinally as well as in cuisine for many years.

Its warming spice has a number of health benefits, especially for your skin and respiratory system.

If you’re going to use mustard, we suggest testing a bit of it on the inside of your wrist, especially if you have sensitive skin.

And if getting up close and personal with a condiment isn’t for you, you can also purchase ground mustard seed as a powder.

Mustard Use #1: Soothe A Sore Throat

Squeezing mustard into a glass
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

If your throat is feeling sore and scratchy, mix a tablespoon of mustard with the juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of honey into water and bring to a boil.

Let cool and gargle to soothe a sore throat. It works because of the compound allyl isothiocyanate, which soothes irritation.

Mustard Use #2: Clear Up Congestion

Rubbing mustard on chest
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Speaking of soothing irritation, mustard’s spiciness is great for clearing up congestion and chest colds.

Some of you might remember mustard plasters being used as a cold remedy back in the day, and it was a good one!

If you’re congested, rub an even layer of mustard on your chest, and lay a hot, damp cloth on top. The spicy mustard and the warmth will work together to clear things right up.

Mustard also relaxes muscles, so you’ll feel loosened up, too!

Mustard Use #3: Soothe A Burn

Putting mustard on burn
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

The same chemical compound that soothes sore throats also works on your body’s outside, too.

A dab of mustard on a minor burn will soothe it right away. It might seem counterintuitive, mustard being hot and all, but it works!

Run your burn under cool water, and then apply a layer of mustard. It will also prevent blistering.

Mustard Use #4: Get Rid Of Strong Smells

Put mustard in empty bottle
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Again, this seems like the opposite of what you’d expect, but it’s true!

Despite its strong smell, mustard is great for clearing odors out of old containers, especially bottles.

If you’d like to save a nice bottle but wish it smelled a little fresher, sprinkle in some mustard (the powdered kind works well for this) and then pour in some hot water. Shake it up, rinse it out, and the old odor will be gone!

You can also make a paste with mustard powder and use it to scrub pots and pans.

Mustard Use #5: Condition Your Hair

Rub mustard on hair
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Mustard oil makes for a great deep conditioner for dry hair.

After washing your hair as normal, rub a palm-size amount of the oil through your hair and leave it on for at least eight hours.

If leaving on overnight, sleep in a shower cap to save your sheets. Wash out in the morning and your hair will be silky.

Mustard Use #6: Relieve Tired Feet

Mustard on feet
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Adding some mustard to a warm footbath is a great way to alleviate the aches that come with standing, walking, or wearing uncomfortable shoes all day. Mustard’s natural muscle-relaxing properties will relieve aches and pains.

And if the aches and pains aren’t limited to your feet? Add two-thirds of a cup of mild yellow mustard to warm bathwater. (We mean it about the “mild.”Think of where it will be touching!)

Soak for about 15 minutes and feel your tension melt away.

Mustard Use #7: Rejuvenate Your Skin

Applying mustard to face
Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Mild mustard also makes for a great face mask, firming and toning the skin.

Even with mild mustard, however, make sure to keep it well away from your eyes and lips, where the skin is much more sensitive, and testing for sensitivity beforehand is a good idea, too. Leave on for about five minutes and rinse off.

Would you try any of these mustard tricks, or will your mustard remain only on your sandwiches?

Let us know in the comments, and SHARE with anyone who loves mustard!