A delicious ice cream sundae would not be complete without its caramel topping, but drips seem inevitable. Some of that topping always seem to find its way onto your clothes. Then it dries and hardens into a mess that won't come out. Find out how to remove dried caramel stains from your laundry.
What Makes Them Stubborn
Caramel includes sugar and butter and may have food coloring added. This makes a greasy and sticky stain that can soak into the fibers of your clothing and even spread a bit from the initial contact area. When you think of a caramel stain, think of the butter in it as the biggest problem.
As soon as you notice the caramel spot on your clothes, get ice if it is handy and apply it to the caramel. This will make it easier to scrape off. Use a spoon or the dull side of a knife to lift off the sticky caramel. Then dab the area with a wet paper towel.
Methods for Removal
Use these steps when you can launder the item stained with caramel.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of water with 3 tablespoons of borax and spread it onto the stain liberally. Borax is a great stain fighter and has the strength to penetrate the caramel stain. Be careful handling borax. It can be an eye, skin, and lung irritant.
- Let the garment sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. This will give you a good idea of how much of the stain, if any, is left.
- Rub liquid detergent into the caramel stain. Use enough liquid detergent to cover the caramel stain. Using your thumb and fingers, rub it in gently. The goal is to saturate the stained area.
- Let the caramel stain stand for at least 5 minutes before rinsing hot water through the back of the stain over the sink. Making the water as hot as you can, will force the stain out. Be sure to read the directions for your fabric type. Some fabrics cannot tolerate hot water, in which case, you'll need to use warm.
- Apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray, and wash regularly with liquid detergent. Be sure to check the clothing after it comes out of the washer and before it goes into the dryer. Drying the caramel stain is a sure-fire way to make sure it never comes out.
- If the stain remains and the garment is white, or you have tested it for colorfastness, use a mild bleaching agent like hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. You can also use lemon juice. Use a sponge to apply. Rinse thoroughly. Allowing the item to dry in the sun can increase the bleaching effect, but be warned, this will bleach away color, designs, etc. Use these methods only on white clothing.
- Apply stain remover stick, gel, or spray again and rewash with liquid detergent.