How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Clothes and Upholstery

Regardless of fabric type, start by dabbing, not rubbing

How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Clothes illustration

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 5 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

A chocolate stain, even one caused by an exquisite bite from Seattle Chocolate, can be stubborn to remove from fabric. Chocolate is made up of three things that can stain clothes: protein, oil, and tannins. You can eliminate chocolate stains from your home if you act promptly and have the right tools. Avoid heat since it melts the chocolate, often worsening the stain. Here, learn how to remove chocolate stains—white, milk, or dark—from clothing, couch, or chair cushions.

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Watch Now: How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Fabric

Stain type Tannin, protein, oil
Detergent type Heavy-duty, stain remover, dish detergent
Water temperature Cold
Cycle type Varies, depends on the fabric

Before You Begin

If you get chocolate on a dry clean-only garment, 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.

Bring the item to a professional cleaner as soon as possible, and point out the stain. Or, if you are using a home dry-cleaning kit, treat the chocolate stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

If the stain is on your couch and it is silk or vintage upholstery fabric, stop and consult with a professional cleaner.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Washing machine
  • Clean cloths (Upholstery or carpeting)
  • Sponge (Upholstery)
  • Soaking basin (Optional)
  • Ice cube (Optional)

Materials

  • Laundry detergent (Clothing)
  • Dish detergent (Upholstery or carpet)
  • Stain remover (Optional)
  • Oxygen bleach (Optional)

Instructions

Removing Chocolate Stains From Washable Fabrics

  1. Lift Off Solid Chocolate Residue

    Using a dull knife or spoon, lift away as much chocolate as possible. Do not rub the stain since it will only embed deeper into the fabric fibers.

  2. Sponge the Area With Cold Water

    After removing solid chocolate residue, sponge the stain with plain, cool water if you can't wash it immediately. You can also use a stain remover pen to loosen the stain, preventing it from setting.

    Tip

    Rubbing alcohol also works on impossible stains. So, if you're on the go and don't have a stain remover pen but have instant hand sanitizer, spray some of this high-alcohol containing product on the stain.

  3. Pre-treat the Stain

    When washing the item, first treat it with a prewash stain remover spray or gel, such as Zout, Shout, Spray 'n Wash, or spot clean it with liquid laundry detergent. (Tide or Persil are good brands for stains.) 

  4. Launder Clothing Item As Usual

    Wash the item as you usually would, according to the clothing item's label.

  5. Check Stain Before Putting in Dryer

    After washing, check the chocolate-stained area before putting the fabric in the dryer. High heat can set a stain and make it extremely difficult to remove. If you still notice some staining, repeat the washing steps before putting it in the dryer.

Removing Chocolate Stains From Upholstery

  1. Lift Off Solid Chocolate Residue

    Using a dull knife or spoon (or the edge of a credit card), lift away as much of the solid chocolate residue as possible.

  2. Make a Cleaning Solution

    Mix 1 tablespoon of dish detergent and 2 cups of cold to make a cleaning solution.

  3. Sponge on the Cleaning Solution

    Work from outside the stain toward the center, sponging on the solution with a clean white cloth.

  4. Blot the Stain and Air Dry

    Use a dry cloth to blot away the moisture, and repeat the sponging until the stain is gone. Sponge with clear water and allow it to air dry.

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.

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