Enjoying chocolate can quickly go from sweet to a sticky mess if it gets on your clothing. Chocolate is an especially difficult stain due to it's high oil content and dark color, but if you act quickly, chocolate stains will come out of your clothing in no time.
The method for removing this stain is simple: treat the garment first with a bit of dish soap and wash. If the stain remains, you can go in with a target stain remover to treat the stain once again.
Read on for our handy guide on removing chocolate stains from clothing.
|Stain type||Tannin, protein, and oil|
|Detergent type||Heavy-duty laundry detergent, stain remover, dish detergent|
|Cycle type||Varies by fabric|
Watch Now: How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Fabric
Before You Begin
Because chocolate stains are set with heat and time, old stains can be difficult to remove. Your best bet to remove an old stain is to rub liquid laundry detergent or dish soap on the stained area and soak the clothing in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes. Repeat this step as needed, and then move on to the washing process below.
Also, note that these tips for removing chocolate stains apply to washable fabrics only. If you have chocolate on dry-clean-only clothes, lift away as much chocolate as possible with a dull knife or spoon (or the edge of a credit card). Do not rub the stained area or add water to dry-clean-only fabrics; you might more deeply embed the stain or damage the fabric. Take the clothing item to a dry cleaner for best results.
Equipment / Tools
- 1 butter knife or spoon
- 1 washing machine or large sink
- 1 soaking basin (Optional)
- 1 bottle heavy-duty laundry detergent
- 1 bottle dish soap
- 1 bottle stain remover gel or spray (Optional)
- 1 bottle oxygen bleach (Optional)
- 1 cup cold water
How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Washable Fabrics
Remove Excess Chocolate
Use a butter knife or a spoon to remove any solid bits of chocolate from the fabric. You don't want to use anything sharp that could cut or damage the fabric.
Work carefully to make sure you don't spread the chocolate to clean parts of the clothing. Do not rub the stain since it will only embed deeper into the fabric fibers.
If the chocolate has already dried and hardened onto the fabric, it can be tricky to peel away without damaging the fibers. Use your best judgment, but if it seems like it's harming the material, do not peel or scrape away dried chocolate.
Rinse With Cold Water
Using cold water, rinse the back of the stained area. Rinsing allows the stain to go in reverse through the least amount of fabric possible. It might be tempting to use hot or warm water, but this can set the stain.
If you don't have immediate access to a faucet, sponge the stain with plain, cool water. You can also use a stain remover pen to loosen the stain, preventing it from setting.
Pre-Treat the Stain
Gently rub heavy-duty liquid detergent (e.g., Persil or Tide) into the chocolate stain. You can also use a prewash stain remover spray or gel, such as Zout, Shout, Spray 'n Wash, or liquid dish soap (but don't use detergent meant for the dishwasher).
Allow the clothing to sit for five minutes. Do not rinse. Next, soak the clothing for 15 minutes in cold water. Every three to five minutes, gently rub the stained area between your fingers and thumb to loosen the stain. Rinse thoroughly. Continue until you can remove no more stain. Finally, rinse the stained area thoroughly, wash as usual, and air dry.
If Stain Remains, Try a Stain Remover
If an oily stain remains after you've washed the garment, apply a stain remover gel or spray. Treat both sides of the stain, so it penetrates thoroughly. Wash clothing normally in the washing machine and air dry. Repeat the steps if the stain is still present.
Only put the garment in the dryer once the stain is gone, as the high heat can make it extremely difficult to remove. If you still notice some staining, repeat the washing steps before putting it in the dryer.
How to Get Chocolate Stains Out of Clothes Without Washing
If you're lucky enough to observe the stain as it occurs while the chocolate is still fresh and warm, you stand a good chance of removing it successfully without any kind of soap, detergent, or chemicals.
First, use a credit card, your fingernail, or another rigid tool to carefully scrape up any loose chocolate, taking care not to spread it around. Immediately run cold water through the stain, preferably from the backside. Now, soak a paper towel in cold water and blot at the front side. Repeat as needed until the stain no longer continues to lighten up.
Apply a small amount of enzyme-based stain remover to the stain. Rub it in gently, then let it sit and work for a few minutes. Then, rinse the stain again from the back side and blot again using clean, wet paper towels. If the stain was fresh, it's likely the stain will vanish with just the simple process. Stains that are older and set it may require a second treatment.
Natural Cleaners to Remove Chocolate Stains
If you want to try a more natural solution to stain removal, here are a couple of options:
Make a homemade cleaning solution by mixing one part dish soap with two parts hydrogen peroxide (3 percent). This mixture is excellent at cutting through fat and lightening stains—even from melted chocolate that has thoroughly penetrated. Apply the solution directly to the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Next, wash as usual. If the stain hasn't vanished, you can repeat the process again.
Hydrogen peroxide may bleach clothing, so it's a good idea to test it out on a hidden area first.
If you prefer to try a more natural solution with materials you already have around the house, you're in luck. Just combine one part vinegar with one part water, then soak the stain in the solution for 10 minutes or so. Then wash the fabric as usual; there's an excellent chance the stain will be gone.
Additional Tips for Handling Chocolate Stains
If you have a large, stubborn, or older stain (a week or longer) on clothing or soakable items, perform a presoak using oxygen bleach and cold water. Mix a solution of oxygen bleach (OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and cool water. Oxygen bleach is safe for all washable fabrics—white and colored—except for silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather. Submerge the material and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight. Then, launder as usual.