How To Remove Chocolate Stains From Clothes and Upholstery

Believe it or not, not everyone loves chocolate, but it’s surely one of the most popular ingredients in everything from cakes to fondue across the world. From cooking up delicious brownies to snacking on our favorite candy bars, all of us chocolate lovers just can’t seem to get enough. But even for die-hard chocolate fans, there’s something about chocolate no one loves: chocolate stains. But whether you have a new stain or an old one, we’re going to teach you how to remove chocolate stains for good.

If you’ve ever gotten chocolate on your shirt, pants, or even your couch, you know how tough it can be to get rid of chocolate stains. So what makes these stains so stubborn? The cocoa powder used to make chocolate contains dark tannins, evidenced by cocoa’s brown color. Chocolate also contains cocoa butter and other oils that give the chocolate a smooth texture. Together, the dark tannins and oil-based ingredients combine to create a dynamic duo of stain offenders.

That means you have to remove a chocolate stain with a grease fighter and something to combat the discoloration. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh chocolate stain on your favorite shirt or an old, engrained one on your couch, we’ve got you covered. Keep in mind that our tips for getting chocolate out of clothes apply only to washable fabrics. For silk, wool, delicates, and other fabrics that are typically dry-clean-only, how to get chocolate stains out can be tricky – skip the DIY stain treatments and take them to a dry cleaner.

How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothes

As with most stains, the sooner you take care of a chocolate one, the better. These simple steps will help you take care of most that haven’t set yet – so if you spot the stain early, you’re ahead of the game. And if you don’t notice a chocolate stain on your upholstery or clothing until it’s dried, don’t worry; we’ll get to that soon enough! Here’s how to get chocolate out of clothes with a proven stain removal technique:

Get rid of the extra chocolate

Start by removing excess chocolate. Doing this will lessen the chance of spreading the stain and making it worse – and you’ll have less chocolate to clean from the start. Scrape off the excess chocolate with a butter knife, making sure to use the smooth side of the blade. Take your time removing it to avoid damaging the fabric. And yes, you can eat the extra chocolate if you must!

Give the chocolate stain a cold bath

Head to the kitchen sink and run cold water onto the chocolate stain for 30 seconds. Next, flip the fabric over and run cold water onto the other side for the same amount of time. Treating both sides of the fabric helps dislodge the chocolate and rinses out easier through the fibers. If you’re thinking using hot water would be better for loosening the oils, you’re right. But the tradeoff isn’t worth it, as hot water could set the stain even more. Right now, we’re only interested in getting as much of the stain out as possible – then, we’ll focus on the oily part.

Treat the stain with regular liquid laundry detergent

Regular liquid laundry detergent is effective against grease, oil, dirt, and more, so when you use it straight out of the bottle, the detergent is a great stain pre-treater and stain remover. Gently rub liquid detergent into the chocolate stain from both sides of the fabric. Let it sit for five minutes. Without rinsing, soak the clothing in cold water for 15 minutes. About every five minutes, give the stained area a scrubbing using your thumb and fingers on opposite sides of the fabric to loosen more of the oils and tannins.

Try another stain remover

If you can still see oily or brown stain remains, use a little baking soda on it. Baking soda is a mildly abrasive whitener and deodorizer that is safe for nearly all fabrics. Dampen the stain with cold water and rub in some baking soda with your fingers on both sides of the fabric. Keep at it until the stain is out. Finish up by washing the clothing as usual.

Once the clothing is done in the washer, don’t throw it in the dryer. Because heat can cause a stain to set permanently, it’s better to let the stained item dry on a rack or clothesline. That way, you can treat it again if you can still see the stain.

How to Remove Set-in Chocolate Stains From Clothes

Learning how to remove chocolate stains that have been sitting for a while isn’t too hard. Just know that older chocolate stains can be a bit more of a challenge than fresh ones. That’s because chocolate, like most stains, will get worse over time – especially if they’ve gone through the dryer. Start by gently scraping away any excess chocolate, then grab your liquid detergent. Rub the detergent into the stain from both sides of the fabric. Next, soak the clothing in cold water for an hour. Wash the clothing according to the label and skip the dryer.

Remember the first rule of how to get chocolate stains out – the heat from your dryer causes many stains to set, making them much harder to remove. Instead of tumble drying your clothing, let it line-dry, preferably in the sun. First, if there are any of the oils or tannins left from the chocolate stain, you’ve avoided setting the stain with heat – that means you can take another run at the stain with nothing lost. Second, the sun’s rays are a natural bleaching agent and could help the stain fade away.

If you can still see some of the chocolate stain after the clothing dries, it may be time to up your game. Distilled white vinegar is a safe, natural cleaner, disinfectant, and stain remover. Soak the stained clothing in a sink full of cold water and one cup of white vinegar for 30 minutes. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stained area. Once the stain is gone, throw the clothing in the washer and let it air dry.

How To Get Chocolate Out of a Couch

If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ve likely indulged while watching TV on your couch or from your favorite recliner. When you find a chocolate stain on upholstery, take care of the stain right away. Here’s how to get chocolate out of a couch and other fabric furniture:

Remove any excess chocolate

Scrape the chocolate stain with the blunt edge of a butter knife from the outside inwards to prevent the stain from spreading. Continue scraping until you’ve removed as much chocolate as possible.

Freeze the chocolate stain

Just like with chewing gum, ice can harden the stained area, making it easier to remove a chocolate stain. You can use a piece of ice or an ice pack to freeze the stained area. Be careful not to get the upholstery too wet from the melting ice. Once the chocolate has hardened, gently loosen the chocolate with a soft brush and use your butter knife to scrape away as much as you can.

Clean the stain with liquid dish detergent

Liquid dish detergent and water is a DIY upholstery cleaner and stain remover that is safe for most upholstery. Put a few drops of dish detergent on a damp sponge and massage it into the stain. Blot the stain from the outside in to lift away as much of the stain as possible. Rinse the sponge out and wipe down the stained area to remove the soap residue.

Dry the chocolate stain

Using a white microfiber cloth, pat the area dry while you avoid rubbing the fabric. Once the upholstery is only lightly damp, sprinkling a bit of cornstarch onto the damp area. Once the corn starch has dried, simply vacuum it up.

Now that you know how to remove chocolate stains, learn more about getting rid of stains throughout your home. Whether you keep your home clean with our extensive library of DIY cleaning guides or with one of our popular residential cleaning services, The Maids is on a mission to help everyone enjoy a clean home more often. Learn more when you get your free estimate and find out what a difference The Maids can make in your home.


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