How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Clothes, Upholstery, and Carpet

Quick washing is key, but even old chocolate stains can be cleaned effectively

How to Remove Chocolate Stains

The Spruce

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 5 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-$10

A chocolate stain can be stubborn to remove from fabric. It's made up of three things that can ruin clothes: protein, oil, and tannins. You can wash out 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. It is possible to remove—or at least lighten—old stains. Here, learn how to remove chocolate stains—white, milk, or dark—from clothing, couch or chair cushions, and carpeting.

Stain type Tannin, protein, and oil
Detergent type Heavy-duty laundry detergent, stain remover, dish detergent
Water temperature Cold
Cycle type Varies by fabric
1:10

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 or use a home dry cleaning kit, using the provided stain remover and following the manufacturer's directions.

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

Chocolate stain remover supplies
The Spruce

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Butter knife or spoon
  • Washing machine or large sink
  • Clean cloths (Upholstery or carpeting)
  • Sponge (Upholstery)
  • Vacuum (Carpeting)
  • Soaking basin (Optional)
  • Ice cube (Optional)

Materials

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Dish soap
  • Stain remover gel or spray (Optional)
  • Oxygen bleach (Optional)
  • Cold water

Instructions

Removing Chocolate Stains From Washable Fabrics

  1. 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.

    Remove excess chocolate with spoon
    The Spruce
  2. 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.

    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.

    Rinse stain under cold wate
    The Spruce
  3. 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.

    Treat chocolate stain with laundry detergent
    The Spruce
  4. 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.

    Treating clothes with stain remover spray
    The Spruce

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.

Removing Chocolate Stains From Carpet

  1. Lift Away Solid Chocolate Residue

    Lift away the chocolate solids with a dull knife or another similar utensil. If the chocolate melts, try placing an ice cube on it for a minute to harden the chocolate, which may make it easier to lift away.

  2. Blot With Dish Soap

    Dampen a clean white cloth with water and add a dot of dish soap to the cloth. Working from the outside edge of the chocolate stain toward the center, blot with the cloth to lift the stain. Only blot the stained area since you do not want the stain to spread. Allow the soap to sit on the stain for at least five minutes.

  3. Blot With Water to Rinse

    Wet a clean white cloth with water, and rinse the area by blotting to remove the soap. Repeat until you feel no more soap. Get rid of all the soap since soapy residue can attract more dirt.

  4. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the carpet to air dry and vacuum the spot to lift the carpet fibers. A vacuum cleaner roller agitates the fibers, often loosening or dislodging particles in the fabric.

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.

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.

Natural Cleaners to Remove Chocolate Stains

If you want to try a more natural solution to stain removal, here are a couple of options:

Hydrogen Peroxide

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.

Vinegar

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.