yellow mustard, burn, science behind home remedies, spoonful of mustard

We learn so much from our listeners, readers and visitors. They like to share the results of the home remedies that others have recommended. One of the most popular remedies is yellow mustard to ease the pain of a burn.

Yellow Mustard for a Burn:

Q. A couple nights ago I accidentally grabbed the metal handle of a pot right out of the oven. The pain of the burn was intense.

I immediately grabbed the soy sauce and poured some over the burn, with not much relief.

My husband handed me a gel ice pack out of the freezer. The pain came back as soon as I took it off.

I ran upstairs to my computer, got on the People’s Pharmacy website and found the yellow mustard remedy. I immediately got the jar from the fridge, put a generous amount of mustard on the burn and wrapped it with gauze bandage. Relief was immediate. By bedtime, the pain was completely gone and the burn was barely pink.

The next morning, my hand looked and felt perfectly normal–no pain, no discoloration. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I’d never believe anything so improbable could work.

Keep It Simple:

A. We first heard about this remedy from a listener to our radio show. He recounted a time decades ago when his twin brother fell against a wood stove. They were far away from medical assistance, so his grandmother slathered the burn with cold yellow mustard. There was no blistering.

We want to emphasize that cold water or ice water-not ice-should always be first aid after grabbing a hot handle or similar misfortune. Other remedies such as soy sauce or yellow mustard should not be used until the skin has been cooled with water. We’re glad you also got relief from yellow mustard. A severe burn should always be treated as a medical emergency.

Some people have wondered if brown mustard or fancy Dijon mustard will work as well. From what we hear from readers, cheap yellow mustard works best.

Mustard in a Glove for a Burn:

Here is another innovation we heard from a reader:

Q. During a power outage, I burned four fingers while removing hot glass from a kerosene lantern. I first used cool water, then soy sauce without much relief. I quickly went to your website and searched on burns. I found the mustard remedy.

I put on a sterile plastic glove and squirted yellow mustard in the fingers and left this on for an hour. Immediate relief!

A. We’re glad this remedy helped. Cool or cold water is first aid for a burn, but many readers have told us that following this up with yellow mustard or soy sauce can greatly ease the discomfort. A caller to our radio show recently described using plain table salt on the burn, leaving it on until it cakes off.

Still other people have been enthusiastic about applying Elmer’s white glue after cooling the burn in water. We are not quite sure why any of these work, but glad the popular mustard remedy helped you. Your innovation of putting mustard in the fingers of a plastic glove is one that other readers may wish to adopt. Make sure that you treat any burn with cold water first, and determine if it is serious enough to require emergency medical treatment.

Abigail liked this idea:

“Thanks for the tip of using a (disposable) sterile plastic glove. Having my palm slathered with mustard is awkward. The yellow mustard did take away the pain. Worked better than aloe vera. First I grabbed an ice pack out of the freezer. I think it did stop the burn. Will try immersion in cold water next time.”

Louie B. Free did, too:

“Dumb move: grabbed a VERY hot cast iron pan that had been on the stove for awhile
Smart move: grabbed yellow mustard from the fridge
Results: I JUST remembered that I did that !!! no pain…much gain !!!!”

VSD wrote:

“I suffered a severe steam burn one evening. Cutting open a piece of aloe vera, I taped it onto the burn. The pain soon disappeared. However, after keeping it on overnight, there was absolutely no sign of the burn the next morning. Complete healing. I now keep aloe vera plants for use in case of a burn; also, when they grow large and fan-shaped, they’re a very attractive plant.”

Susan commented:

“I burned the back of my calf on a hot tailpipe – the burn was very painful and large. There was no water or ice to apply to the burn for three hours. As soon as I got home, I remembered the yellow mustard remedy I’d heard about on your show, so I applied a liberal amount to the back of my leg and wrapped up the area with plastic wrap. The pain subsided within minutes, and never came back. The burn did not blister as it normally would have, and after a month or so, there was no mark or scar.”

Revised March 4, 2018

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  1. Kimberly B.

    My husband went to grab a container of scalding hot microwavable mashed potatoes out of the microwave, and the container was so hot that it gave in and covered his hands in extremely hot potatoes, burning him badly. I found this site, and we are trying the mustard now, and it took quite awhile for the pain to subside, but it eventually did. I read in a comment to leave it on at least a half an hour but that’s how long it took before the pain started to calm down. I guess we should leave it on longer but I am wondering if maybe it’s best to reapply cold mustard again? I’m not seeing anything stating what to do after the initial mustard application. If anyone would like to share their ideas on this one, I would greatly appreciate this!

  2. Jeanie

    Cold mustard worked for me. It was cold, soothing, and took the pain right away. Great recommendation!

  3. Royce
    San Antonio, TX

    I believe in Good old HONEY. Being a beekeeper, we have used it a number of times. The best one is Our Grand-son. Now 30 years old, but at 2 years, my wife and I were in the back yard shedding 100 bags of leaves for our garden. Our Grand-son was locked in the kitchen, with a plate glass door, some how he got it unlocked, we heard him hollow, and I seen his little hand come off of the muffler. I picked him up, run in the kitchen, put his hand under cold water. I got the honey and spread it on his red hand, his face and sounds showed the pain going away, We put his hand in a wool mitten w/honey, inside a sandwich bag, for 2 days. Left no marks.

  4. Genie

    Definitely cold mustard! I spilled hot coffee on my inner thighs, and no, not from Mickey D’s.
    Covered it in cold mustard and within minutes the pain was gone and the only pink area was the little spot I missed when applying the mustard.

  5. Donna
    Chicagoland suburbs

    Wow! I love this site. Thanks to all who post.

  6. Ann
    Merseyside UK

    I have found tomato pureé is another excellent soother/healer for burns
    Ann (UK)

  7. Margie

    Yellow mustard also relieves the pain of fire ant stings. When my grandson got several stings on his foot I put mustard on and he quickly went from tears to smiles. It was funny to hear him tell others, “grandma put mustard on me”.

  8. Nancy

    Nancy from Mexico
    Lavender essential oil is wonderful for burns. Used in ancient times and still good today. Apply direct you do not have to mix with oil and for burn straight is best.

  9. Berryman

    Yellow mustard gets its color from turmeric. It’s the turmeric that tempers the burn. A fast check into Ayurveda will reveal that turmeric has been used for centuries as a burn aid.

  10. Thea
    Albuquerque, NM

    Does it have to be yellow mustard? I would have buy the yellow stuff just for burns, since I do not care for this American staple.

  11. Mary
    Lakewood, OH

    I also grabbed a hot pan off the stove. Quickly held my hand under cold running water and took an ibuprofen as my hand was throbbing. Remembered something about either mustard or honey for burns. All I had in the fridge was honey mustard so slathered some on. Very sticky, by the way. But the pain and throbbing went away fairly quickly. The burn healed without any blistering and only faint redness the next day. It was amazing. Another time my brother called to say he had burned his hand so I told him what I had done. He used yellow mustard, as that was all he had in his fridge. The next day he had already forgotten about the burn.

  12. Klara

    My go-to remedy for kitchen burns is cold water first, then vaseline. They say you shouldn’t put grease on a burn, but I disagree. For years, I have avoided the painful aftermath of burns by slathering on vaseline after dipping the affected hand in cold water. You have to do it quickly, though. If you wait too long, the vaseline won’t work. I’ve never tried the yellow mustard remedy, but I plan to.

  13. Joan
    Seattle, WA

    I always have a bottle of vitamin E gels handy for burns. I just prick the outside of the gel and squeeze it on the burn. In a minute or two the pain is gone, and it doesn’t blister or scar.

  14. Timothy J Doyle

    I was an orderly in a hospital emergency room in 1969. One evening we had a teen aged boy come to the ED with his employer, from a fast food restaurant. He had inadvertently grabbed for a falling french fry basket, and his arm was submerged in the frying machine. His boss lathered his arm with mustard, wrapped it in saran wrap and brought him in. We anticipated the worst, but once the mustard was washed off, the skin was barely even pink. We were all amazed. I’m a believer ever since that day.

  15. Jan

    Here in France we don’t have the bright yellow mustard that you’re referring to. Will ordinary Dijon mustard work?

    • Carol

      I had only Dijon mustard in the kitchen so that’s what I used on my burned fingers. It worked very well!

  16. Alyssa

    I accidentally burned myself by pulling the lid off my spaghetti sauce and hot steam burned my fingers I came across this and so far ive got two fingers covered in mustard and napkins

  17. George

    I take a big spoon of mustard before bed for happy sleeping.

  18. idia

    After reading about the healing properties of yellow mustard to a burn I had the occasion to utilize it myself after pulling something out of the oven. I first poured cold water over the burn and then applied a big glop of yellow mustard and left it open in the air until it finally dried to nothing but flakes in a couple of hours. The pain stopped immediately except for a little tingling to remind me it was working. When I finally brushed the dried flakes off – no scar at all.
    A miracle!

  19. AC
    North Carolina

    This is a fairly lengthy story so let me start by saying CHEAP YELLOW MUSTARD WORKS! I work in a bar as a cook. One of our desert dishes requires us to use a flat skillet to prepare cookies in the oven. I’ve been a cook of sorts for years so while removing the cookies from the oven, in stead of using the sleeve we normally place around the handle, I used a dry towel.

    Needless to say, I was careless and didn’t realize the top part of the handle was slightly exposed. Long story short, I burnt my thumb as I pressed down on the skillet handle to pick it up. I still had a few hours of my shift left so I spent it periodically dumping my thumb into cold water to relieve the pain which proved to be only a very brief relief because a few seconds after I removed my thumb from the water, the excruciating pain returned. My shift is over, I make it home, and immediately google burn relief and came across this page.

    I immediately apply a generous amount of cheap yellow mustard to my thumb and the relief wasn’t immediate so I was skeptical. While the mustard was applied to my thumb, I once again dumped it in cool water to provide the temporary relief. About 5 minutes later, the pain was less than half as bad. 5 minutes after that, the pain was almost COMPLETELY gone. At that point I could not just sit back and not post a reply to this article. This is an immediate response after getting almost immediate relief to a pestering burn that had been plaguing me for hours! Thanks!

  20. Julie

    Put the oven mitt on my right hand, opened the oven door to remove steak in copper pan under broiler and gripped the pans handle with my left ?. Severe burn left thumb really painfully throbbing. Held under cold water then applied petroleum jelly (WebMD). Still throbbing. Had read some remedy for burns in people’s pharmacy column in newspaper so quick search online came up with mustard. I only have Dijon but as soon as I applied to burned thumb the pain was gone! It’s pretty numb now hope I don’t have a blister tomorrow.

  21. C.P.

    I worked in a pretzel shop three year ago and work in another one now. In both shops, ovens are intensely hot, some of them reaching over 600° F. I have burned myself multiple times, and the only burns that didn’t scar were the ones I put mustard on, even if the mustard wasn’t cool. The paramedic needs more training in things which promote healing, as not only mustard, but honey, and other foods, have healing properties, some external, some internal. Nearly every ingredient in mustard has anti-microbial properties. Anyway, I use mustard on all my burns now, and bless the general manager of the first pretzel store I worked at who kindly informed me about it. Note to others, slather a generous amount on, and if necessary cover loosely with a bandage to keep the mustard from rubbing off. Leave the mustard on for at least half an hour, but preferably until it dries. Repeat if desired. Cold mustard works best, but room temperature mustard will also work (Relief comes quicker, for room temperature mustard, if you rinse the burn under cold water first for at least a half a minute. Otherwise room temperature mustard takes longer to bring relief).

  22. Tess
    Littleton Colorado

    I burned myself with boiling water, badly on my stomach. Then tried ice and cold water, but the ice only temporarily helped. Even online they say to never put ice on a burn, because it will stop the blood flow, and prevent it from healing. I was trying many things to help, but nothing would help until I looked up about Yellow Mustard, and I knew I should try it and was amazed the pain started to go away within a few minutes of applying it. I am sure it is most likely because there is vinegar in Yellow Mustard, and vinegar is one of the natural ways they said to get rid of burn pain. I was in agonizing pain to the point where I could not even go to sleep. At first I thought the Yellow Mustard thing was a joke from the blog I found, but then realized it does have vinegar, and mine wasn’t even cold, and it still worked. So, for anyone in the same position, I definitely recommend Yellow Mustard if that’s all you have, because it should work from the vinegar. I won’t forget that remedy either. But, I learned my lesson and will be more careful from now on handling boiling water that’s for sure!!

  23. Bridge

    I burned my hand while cooking l. Wet oven mitt =BAD NEWS.
    I was skeptical at first but that burning sensation was sending me over the edge. Decided it couldn’t hurt. Applied the mustard and bc it was cold it felt great. I wrapped my hand with toilet paper as I had no gauze handy and after 30 min the burning sensation was tolerable. I’m impressed and as long as the skin isn’t broken I’d try it.

  24. Marlene
    Ontario, Canada

    Would be more wordy but typing with one hand as have the mustard in a baggy on the other! In the comments I have read so far – no one has mentioned hot glue-gun burns. Burns are severe as burning hot glue blob STICKS to skin and continues to burn. Was in tears, Did the cool water, then frozen gel packs – was in agony the second I removed the ice. Thank God for the Internet. Zero pain even with mustard now warmed to body temp. Will NEVER forget this remedy. Will gladly trade the pain for a yellow stained thumb any day! Thanks Peoples Pharmacy!!

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