How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Furniture and Upholstery

White mug of hot chocolate dripping onto upholstery with spoon and knitted blanket

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 10

Chocolate is wonderful—until you find a sticky smear or melted bar stuck to your furniture or other household upholstery. Fortunately, the stains can be removed from most types of upholstery easily with just a few cleaning supplies.

If you find yourself with a sticky chocolate stain, read on to find out how to remove it.

Stain type  Tannin, oil
Detergent type Dishwashing liquid, dry cleaning solvent, oxygen-based bleach
Water temperature Cold, cool

Before You Begin

Before you tackle the sticker residue, it is important to know what kind of upholstery is covering your piece of furniture. Look for the tag added by the manufacturer to help you use the safest way to clean the upholstery underneath the chair or cushion and follow the cleaning guidelines for the code.

  • Code W-S: The upholstery can be cleaned with either water-based or solvent-based products.
  • Code X: This fabric should only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional. Any type of home cleaning product can cause staining and shrinking.
  • Code W: Fabric can be cleaned with water-based cleaning solvents.
  • Code S: Use only a dry cleaning or water-free solvent to remove stains and soils from the upholstery. The use of these chemicals requires a well-ventilated room and no open flames like fireplaces or candles.

If there is no tag, test the different cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area under a cushion or fabric skirt to see how the fabric reacts when treated. If the fabric is vintage or silk and there is no tag, consult a professional upholstery cleaning service.

If the furniture is upholstered in leather, use a leather cleaner and conditioner carefully following the directions on the product.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 2 to 3 microfiber cloths
  • 1 dull knife, spatula, or old credit card
  • 1 vacuum with hose and upholstery brush
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 set measuring cups and spoons


  • 2 to 4 ice cubes
  • 1 sealable small plastic bag
  • 1 bottle dishwashing liquid
  • 1 container oxygen-based bleach
  • 1 container dry cleaning solvent


How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Washable Upholstery

  1. Lift Away the Chocolate Solids

    • Lift away the chocolate solids from the upholstery with a dull knife, spoon, or the edge of a credit card. Do not rub to prevent pushing the chocolate deeper into the fibers.
    • If the chocolate has melted, try placing a few ice cubes in a plastic bag. Place the bag on the chocolate for a minute or two so it will harden making it easier to lift away.
  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and 1 cup of cool water.

  3. Treat the Stain

    • Dip a microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution and wring until it is not dripping.
    • Working from the outside edge of the chocolate stain toward the center, gently scrub the stained area.
    • Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred from the upholstery.
    • Do not over-wet the upholstery.
    • Allow the solution to work for at least five minutes.
  4. Rinse the Soapy Area

    • Wet a clean microfiber cloth with water and wring until it is not dripping.
    • Use the cloth to rinse the freshly cleaned area by blotting to remove the soap.
    • Repeat until the area no longer feels soapy. Any soapy residue left in the upholstery will attract more dirt.
    • Do not over-saturate the upholstery with water.
    • Blot with a dry microfiber cloth.
  5. Air Dry

    • Allow the area to air-dry away from sunlight and direct heat
    • Do not use the furniture until it is fully dry.
  6. Remove Any Remaining Stains

    If traces of the stain remain after the upholstery is completely dry, treat them with an oxygen-based bleach solution.

    • Mix a small amount of powdered oxygen bleach with warm water following the product instructions.
    • Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution and wring until it is not dripping.
    • Blot the remaining chocolate stains with the solution.
    • So not rinse or blot the solution away.
    • Allow the upholstery to air-dry and repeat with a fresh mixture of oxygen bleach and water if needed.

How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Dry-Clean-Only Upholstery

  1. Apply the Solvent

    • Follow the product directions for applying the dry cleaning solvent.
    • Test it first in a hidden area to make sure that it does not change the color of the upholstery.
    • Use a microfiber cloth to apply the product working from the outside of the chocolate stain toward the center.


    Because dry cleaning solvent contains volatile chemicals, it should not be used in any space with an open flame like cigarettes, a lit candle, a wood-burning fireplace in operation, or gas appliances. Increase the ventilation in the room by opening windows and doors or using a circulating fan to help disperse the fumes.

  2. Blot and Air-Dry

    • Use a clean, dry cloth to blot away as much of the solvent as possible from the upholstery.
    • Allow the fabric to air-dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
    • If traces of the stain remain after the upholstery is dry, repeat the steps.

Additional Tips for Removing Chocolate Stains

There are some rules to follow to make sure you have cleaning success:

  • Don't wait. Act quickly to lift away chocolate solids and treat stains.
  • Don't rub. Lift away as much of the chocolate as possible with a spoon or spatula instead of rubbing the stain deeper into the fibers.
  • Don't make the stain larger. Always work from the outside of the stained area toward the center of the stain to prevent it from spreading.