Chocolate stains are the worst. But fret not! In this post, you’ll learn how to get chocolate out of clothes (and sheets, carpet, shoes, polyester…). These 19 tips for removing chocolate stains will have you clean and happy soon.
How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothes (19 Tips: Removing Chocolate Stains)
Hershey. Nestle. Lindt. Ghirardelli. The world is full of chocolate that’s just waiting to be licked from your fingers, but little bits of chocolate often break off or drip onto your clothes.
What will you do after that? How can you get chocolate stains out of your favorite shirts and jackets? What are your options?
Consider this your all-in-one guide to removing chocolate stains from your wardrobe.
How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothes: 5 Steps
While there are endless strategies and remedies for chocolate stain removal, there are a few tips that you’ll see repeated again and again. They’re the building blocks for all of the fancy stain removal tips that come after them.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Remove the excess chocolate. This might sound obvious, but some people are so afraid of scrubbing a stain further into their fabric that they’ll launder a shirt still dripping with chocolate sauce. Don’t do this. You’ll make the whole thing brown and gross.
- Soak the garment in cold water. There are several different types of stains, and the proper way to clean them is dependent on their “base.” Since chocolate comes from cocoa plants, it qualifies as a protein-based stain, and the best way to remove proteins is with cold water. Hot water will only set them deeper into the fibers.
- Use a chemical stain remover. Laundry detergent can be added to your cold water soak, or a stain removal pen can be applied to a specific patch of fabric. They’ll both break down the enzymes that are causing your stain.
- Gently scrub the stain with your chemical agent. You can use rags, cloths, brushes, and sponges. The most important thing is that all of your clothing fibers get exposed to the cleaning agent, so use whatever tool is best for the task. But remember to be gentle so you don’t damage the fibers.
- Toss the garment into the washing machine. Make sure that it runs on a cold cycle rather than a warm one.
Removing Chocolate Stains: 19 Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
Let’s say that you have persistent chocolate problems. Run-of-the-mill advice isn’t going to cut it. For special situations, here’s how to get chocolate out of clothes.
1. How do you get out set in chocolate stains?
Set-in chocolate stains can be some of the most difficult to remove. You’ll need to be very careful not to damage your clothing as you work on the stain.
The first step is to peel away any dried chocolate that’s clinging to the fabric. If the fibers start coming away with the chocolate chunks, stop what you’re doing immediately! Dried chocolate can become a glue-like substance that will rip a hole in your clothes if you tug too hard. Just remove as much chocolate as you can.
The next step is to soak the garment in cold water. Since it’s a dry, stubborn stain, you should probably give it a good 30 – 60 minutes under the surface. You can also add laundry detergent or other anti-stain cleaning products to the soaking mixture.
The last step is to launder the garment as usual (but remember to use a cold water wash). This will be the final test to determine if your stain has come out. If it hasn’t, repeat the first few steps again.
2. How do you get chocolate ice cream stains out of clothes?
Chocolate ice cream is the ultimate protein-based stain. These stains are caused by plant and animal compounds as opposed to synthetic ones, and chocolate ice cream ticks off just about every box. Not only do the fudge swirls come from cocoa beans, but the dairy base is provided by cows, and the vanilla extract originates with plants.
Long story short, it’s the perfect storm of stains, so you might need to soak your garment more than once. A single trip into cold water might not do it.
Do not use hot water on a protein-based stain. Heat can make it set into the fabric for good. Don’t soak or wash your fabrics in hot water, and don’t use the dryer until you’re absolutely positive that the stain is gone.
3. Will Tide to Go Remove chocolate?
Yes. Tide To Go is a stain-removing pen that contains everything from hydrogen peroxide to alkyl dimethyl amine oxide, so it’s excellent at pulling out oils and minuscule food chunks from the fibers of clothing.
In fact, the product page for Tide to Go names “chocolate syrup” on a lengthy list of condiments that the pen can break down. They recommend wiping off the excess chocolate first, but you’ve already learned that tip, so you’re good to go.
4. What’s the best laundry detergent(s) to remove chocolate?
- Tide Plus Febreze Sport Laundry Detergent. In a test of dozens of laundry detergents, the Tide Plus Febreze Sport was specifically highlighted as the best product for chocolate stains. It was said to remove these sweet smudges better than every other detergent.
- Purex Coldwater Laundry Detergent. This liquid laundry detergent was designed for use in cold water. Its cleansing enzymes are the most effective at temperatures under 60°F. Since protein-based stains like chocolate respond best to cold water, the Purex Coldwater is an excellent detergent to fight back against them.
- Tide Liquid Coldwater Laundry Detergent. This is another cold water product, and it comes stuffed with enzymes that will react to the coolness of the laundry load. Whether you’re looking for amylase, protease, mannanase or pectinase, the Tide Liquid Coldwater can provide it.
- OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover. As its name suggests, the OxiClean “Versatile” Stain Remover can be used on everything from clothes to carpets. It’s also great for chocolate stains. For the best results, OxiClean recommends soaking your clothes in a water and detergent mixture for 1 – 6 hours before washing.
5. How do you get chocolate out of clothes at work?
If you drop your chocolate doughnut on your blouse, you might be tempted to rush into the bathroom and scrub it with hot water and paper towels. However, both of these actions will only make it worse. The hot water will encourage the discoloration to sink into your fabric, and the shallow scrubbing will just spread the stain around the fibers.
Your best bet for removing chocolate stains at work is to rinse the dark patch with cold water. You don’t have to soak your entire blouse in the sink, but you should remove the shirt and run the stained portion under the faucet to make sure that you’re thoroughly rinsing it.
When you’re done, don’t use any kind of blow dryer or hand dryer on it. Heat is the enemy. It might feel uncomfortable to wear a damp shirt at your desk, but air drying is the way to go.
6. Will baking soda remove chocolate stains?
Baking soda is often touted as a home remedy for chocolate stains. Not only can it remove dark spots on your clothes, but it can also eliminate odors, brighten colors and give your laundry a newer, fresher feeling. Just mix it with a little water or vinegar to create a paste that can be applied to the stain.
The only downside to baking soda is that it might not be strong enough for serious discoloration. It can take care of a chocolate smudge on your elbow, but if you sat down on a triple fudge ice cream cake, baking soda isn’t going to cut it.
7. What other household products will remove chocolate stains?
If you’re looking for home remedies for chocolate stains, consider the following:
- Vinegar. Vinegar is often paired with baking soda to create a fizzy mixture that can eat away stains.
- Lemon juice. The citric acid in lemon juice can break down fiber stains, and it’s safe to use with both whites and colors. Just toss a cup of lemon juice into your washing machine before you hit “start.”
- Toothpaste. Believe it or not, but a dollop of toothpaste can be used as a stain remover. You won’t want to cover your entire coat with Crest, but if you’ve just dripped a little chocolate sauce on your outfit, toothpaste can dry it and lift it out.
- Bleach or ammonia. You’ll want to be extremely careful with these materials since they can become toxic in excessive quantities. If you need to get a dark chocolate stain out of a white dress, however, a hardcore bleach or ammonia rinse might be your only option.
8. Can you harden chocolate to make it easier to remove from clothing?
Yes. If you have a drippy, chocolaty mess on your clothes, it can help to put them in a clean plastic bag and freeze them for 10 – 20 minutes. The chocolate will harden and allow you to peel or chisel it off. You can even use the edge of a spoon as a precision instrument to get everything off.
To be clear, this is another home remedy rather than a professional treatment. You won’t find expert dry cleaners using cutlery to clean their clothing. If you’re in a bind, however, a quick freeze and a steady spoon can get the job done. Just be careful to keep a close eye on the clothing fibers, they could get damaged so be gentle.
9. How do you get hot chocolate out of clothes?
Liquid stains can be even trickier than dry stains since you’re racing against the clock as soon as you spill. Here are some lightning-fast tips that you can try:
- Apply cold water as soon as possible. Soaking the garment would be best; even if you can only spare 5 – 10 minutes, a thorough soak is better than a quick rinse. You can also add a touch of stain remover to the mix.
- If rinsing is the only option available to you, rinse the back of the stained area. For example, turn your pants inside out before you stick them under the faucet. Instead of making the stain more prominent on the visible part of your clothes, you’ll flush it out from a less noticeable place.
- Toss the garment into the washing machine. Make sure that your settings are on cold rather than warm or hot.
10. Can dry cleaning remove chocolate stains?
It depends on the dry cleaners. They tend to use stronger chemicals than the kind that you can find at the grocery store, and this could be good or bad for you.
A lot will depend on the material type of your clothes and the severity of the chocolate stains on them. Go ahead and call your local dry cleaning company and ask.
11. What is a biological laundry detergent?
Biological laundry detergent is one that contains cleaning enzymes.
While not truly alive, these enzymes are produced by proteins that will eat away at greases, starches, and fats, so they’ve become popular additions to laundry detergents. They can combat stains by breaking them down on a molecular level.
They work well at removing chocolate stains, but can be a little harsh on sensitive skin so keep that in mind when you’re considering using one.
12. What is biological powder?
A biological powder is simply the powder version of biological laundry detergent. These detergents can come in both liquid and powder form.
13. How do you get chocolate milk out of clothes?
Chocolate milk is tough to remove from clothes since it delivers a one-two punch of both sight and smell. Even if you manage to get the stain out, you don’t want to smell like a dairy product all day!
Fortunately, there are ways to remove chocolate milk stains from your clothes. Your best chance of success is to soak the garment in cold water with a swirl of stain-fighting laundry detergent, but you can also apply a stain stick and let it sit for a while. You might even try a home remedy of baking soda; it’s said to be quite effective at neutralizing dairy products.
If you’ve chosen the right tools for the job, they should break down all of the enzymes that are causing ugly stains and sour smells on your clothes. If the chocolate milk is still there after treatment, however, consider repeating all of the above steps. It might take several attempts before progress is made.
14. How do you get chocolate out of polyester?
Since it’s made with synthetic fibers, it can be a real hassle to get chocolate stains out of polyester. You might need a lot of patience as you try different tips and sanitizing strategies.
If you’re willing to take the time, however, here’s a checklist that you can use:
- Remove the excess chocolate from the polyester fabric.
- Apply a pre-wash stain remover. Let it sit or soak for 10 minutes before rinsing out your garment and seeing if the stain is any lighter. If it needs another application of stain remover, do it.
- Launder your outfit like you normally would, but use cold water instead of hot.
- Check the stain. If necessary, repeat the process.
15. How do you get chocolate out of felt?
Many tips for removing chocolate stains are centered around the idea that you’re going to put your clothes into the washing machine eventually. But what if you had an unfortunate accident with felt? Can you wash it? Should you wash it?
The first thing to know is that it’s okay to put felt in the washing machine as long as you’re extremely careful with it. Use a gentle cycle, and make sure that the water is a non-shrinking, non-staining cold. If you can control the amount of water that fills your machine, keep it at a low level.
If you’re unable or unwilling to use the washing machine for your felt, you’ll need a stain stick. Apply it to the discoloration and let it dry. You might have to repeat this process several times before it makes a visible impact on the stain.
16. How do you get chocolate out of sheets?
Maybe the kids were hoarding cookies. Maybe you binged on too many snacks while you were watching Netflix. If you have chocolate on your sheets, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before you wash them:
- What kind of material are they made from? Silk sheets will require gentle blotting with a non-toxic stain remover; regular cotton sheets can be thrown into a cold water wash in the washing machine with a splash of lemon juice.
- How large is the stain? Can it be treated with a stain stick, or will you require a heavy-duty, high-efficiency laundry detergent?
- What’s the thread count? If you’ve splurged on expensive sheets, you’ll want to test all of your stain remover tools on a discreet corner of the fabric before you soak the whole bedspread in your cleaning solution.
17. How do you get cocoa butter out of clothes?
Let me give you a quick refresher on stain categories:
- Protein-based stains come from plant and animal compounds. This includes blood, sweat, eggs, plant extracts, dairy products and anything else that originates from a living organism.
- Oil-based stains come from heavy and oily products. This includes grease, butter, lotion, hair products, automotive oil and anything else with a starchy kind of base.
Cocoa butter straddles the line between these two categories. Since it’s derived from cocoa beans, it has proteins that respond well to biological laundry detergents with special cleaning enzymes. On the flip side, however, it’s usually sold as lotions and ointments, so it also contains high levels of oil.
Getting rid of a cocoa butter stain will take trial and error. Depending on the exact ingredient list of your product, it might respond better to certain detergents or stain sticks. Don’t be disheartened if it takes a while to fix that cocoa butter splotch.
18. How do you get chocolate out of white shoes?
If you’ve dropped or stepped in chocolate, you might need an emergency clean-up job for your favorite white shoes. There are two ways that you can approach it:
- If it’s a small stain, try rubbing it with cold soapy water and a sponge. You’ll be able to tell right away if the chocolate is coming off or if you’re just spreading it around.
- If it’s a large stain, you might need to bust out the bleach. Mix 1/4th of a cup of bleach with 3/4ths of a cup of cold water. Use a bristled brush to apply it to the stain. A scrub brush is best, but you can also make do with a toothbrush in a pinch.
19. How do you get dried chocolate out of carpet?
The bad news is that dried chocolate can really sink into the fibers of a carpet, especially if people have been walking on it. The good news is that a nylon carpet isn’t nearly as delicate as a silk shawl, so you can use heavy-duty stain removers to attack it with abandon.
The trick to cleaning chocolate out of a carpet is to do everything in stages. Don’t expect the chocolate flecks to disappear after 30 seconds of scrubbing.
Instead, treat your carpet with a combination of cold water and stain remover. Let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub it down with a cloth or brush using circular motions. Let it sit for another few minutes. Assuming that the stain isn’t gone, apply more stain remover and start the process all over again.
Getting chocolate out of your carpet will definitely require patience, but as long as you’re smart about it, you can make it happen.
Fighting Chocolate Stains: One Bar at a Time
Life is messy. Chocolate is even messier. The good news is that you don’t have to let worries about your wardrobe stop you from enjoying your favorite treat. Use these cleaning tips for no-fuss, no-mess chocolate indulgence!