A delicious ice cream sundae would not be complete without its caramel topping, but drips seem inevitable. If you have kids (or not), some of that topping always seems to find its way onto your clothes. Once it dries and hardens, it turns into a mess that will not come out of your clothes. Find out how to remove dried caramel stains from your laundry.
Stubborn Caramel Stains
Caramel includes sugar and butter and usually has food coloring added. This makes it 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 as the biggest problem in the stain.
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.
Stain fighting requires a few items for lifting those pesky stains, in this case, you need:
- Hot water
- Stain remover, stick, gel, or spray
- For white clothing: Hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, or lemon juice
Steps for Removal
Use these steps to launder an item stained with caramel. The key is to remain persistent and resist the urge to put the item in the dryer until the stain is completely gone.
- Apply Borax solution: 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.
- Wait and rinse: 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.
- Apply liquid detergent: 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.
- Wait and rinse: Let the caramel stain stand for at least five minutes before rinsing hot water through the back of the stain over the sink. Make the water as hot as you can, it 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 will need to use warm water.
- Apply stain remover: 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. Do not put a fabric with a caramel stain in the dryer, it makes it practically impossible to get the stain out.
- For white or color-fast items, use a bleaching agent: 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. If you allow the item to dry in the sun, it can increase the bleaching effect, but be warned, this will bleach away color or designs, too. Use these methods only on white clothing.
- Stain persists, use stain remover again: Apply stain remover stick, gel, or spray again and rewash with liquid detergent.