For me and my family, chocolate stains always happen on vacation when we have limited clothes with us. We opt for the special vacation treat and end up with a chocolate stained garment. I’ve had to become an expert on how to get chocolate out of clothes both on the go and when I’m back in my laundry room. I’ll show you the best methods for chocolate stain removal and how to go about this simply and efficiently.
How To Remove Fresh Chocolate Stains
As soon as chocolate makes its way onto your clothing, follow these steps to get it out. Quick action does help when it comes to chocolate stain removal.
- Scrape off excess chocolate (don’t wipe with a rag)
- Rinse the stain with cold water
- Put the clothing in a mixing bowl with cold water and one cup of distilled white vinegar
- After the clothing has sat for one hour, put it in the washing machine
- Check the stain and repeat if necessary
- When the stain is gone, put the clothing through the dryer
How to Remove Dried (Set-in) Chocolate Stains
When a piece of clothing comes out of the washing machine with an old chocolate stain, you may still have a chance of getting it out. Plan on this process being a little more involved than the stain removal process for fresh chocolate stains.
- Apply a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and Dawn dish soap to the stained area
- Use an old toothbrush to scrub the mixture into the stain
- Let the solution sit on the stain for 30 minutes
- Rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary
- Wash on a normal cycle with cold water
- Don’t dry the clothing again until the chocolate stains disappear.
Understanding Chocolate Stains
Chocolate stains are not all that easy to remove, whether you are dealing with chocolate ice cream stains or those tricky stains that happen on Halloween night with all the chocolate being passed around.
If you have ever had to remove something like Tumeric, you know how difficult tannins can be to get out. I like using a combination of something natural like vinegar mixed with a good liquid laundry detergent, as it seems to hit on all the most difficult parts of chocolate stain removal.
You will notice that one of my key tips is to try not to use a paper towel to rub the chocolate stain. It’s so important to remove as much chocolate as you can, but a cloth or paper towel may spread the stain and the oils across even more of your clothing.
Step-by-Step Guide For Chocolate Stain Removal
I gave you my quick go-to method for chocolate and let you know that vinegar is my favorite stain remover for chocolate. I feel like for you to remove chocolate stains from clothes for good, I better fill you in on the intricacies of this process. I’ve made some mistakes over the years that have cost me a few toddler-sized white shirts, but now I know how to wash chocolate stains the right way.
Tools and Products Needed Before You Start
Before you start attempting to remove chocolate stains, there are a few things that you may want to gather. Luckily, removing chocolate stains usually only requires products that you already have around the house. You may not need all of these products, depending on how bad the stain really is.
- Butter Knife
- Cold water
- Laundry detergent (I prefer Arm and Hammer)
- Mixing Bowl
- Old Toothbrush
- Baking Soda
- Dish Soap
Step 1: Remove Excess Chocolate
The problem with chocolate is that it can respond like other oil stains and spread to other areas of your clothing. When getting any stains out of clothes, you should first always remove any excess material on the clothing.
Don’t wipe the stained area with a clean towel or dish rag; you will end up spreading the chocolate and push it further into the clothing.
I like to take a butter knife, scrape the area carefully and wipe the knife each time I pull it off the garment. If you are dealing with something like hot chocolate, this is certainly a bit harder than a lump of Hershey chocolate which may come up in one piece.
Once you get the chocolate off the shirt and are left with just the stain, you can move on to rinsing.
Step 2: Proper Rinsing
I get this question a lot about whether hot or cold water is best for removing chocolate stains. I have had better luck with cold or warm water than I have with hot. I have found that hot water works great when cleaning in the kitchen, but with melted chocolate, it just spreads it into a sticky mess.
Use cold water and rinse the clothing directly under the water flow in your sink. I usually work my fingers into the stain so that water hits all angles of the fabric fibers on the clothing.
Typically a rinse for about a minute or so is enough.
Step 3: Vinegar Soak
Once you have rinsed the shirt, take a kitchen mixing bowl and fill it with cold water. Add one cup of vinegar and then place the clothing in the solution to soak. I usually let my chocolate stained clothing sit for about 30 minutes before I move it to the washing machine.
You can use a commercial cleaning solution in the bowl with water, but I have found vinegar to be a more natural solution that doesn’t damage clothing. Also, vinegar is reasonably priced and can be put in a spray bottle and used for all kitchen and bathroom cleaning.
Step 4: Wash Settings and Cycle (What Detergent To Use)
I set my washing machine to cold, put the stained clothing with like colors, and use Arm and Hammer laundry detergent. I had used Tide for many years and found that to be effective, but I recently switched to Arm and Hammer as it is more cost-effective and seems to do the same job.
With oil based stains like chocolate, you will want to ensure you have at least a normal or heavy-duty wash. The quick wash setting may not be enough to really work on the stain.
Step 5: Check On Progress
When you pull your garment out of the washing machine, check to see if the stain remains. If you find that there are still chocolate stains on your clothing, you need to start back over with the vinegar soak.
This time, you may want to spray some vinegar directly on the spot and let it sit for about 15 minutes before putting it through another wash cycle.
Step 6: Drying
I would not put clothing into the dryer until the stubborn stain is gone. Putting clothing through the dryer is not an effective stain remover, and if anything, it may make it more difficult to remove the stain on the next go around.
Old chocolate stains are harder to remove than new ones. Don’t get lazy at this point and throw the clothing in the dryer, you just have to work with it a few more times, and the chocolate will come out.
What About Set In Chocolate Stains?
Chocolate stains that have set in often require a bit more attention. For this process, I like to mix baking soda, vinegar, water, and dawn dish soap to make a paste. I then take a toothbrush and rub this paste into the stain.
Remember, when dealing with chocolate, you are working on both an oil-based stain and a protein-based stain; having to go through a few rounds of the stain removal process is standard.
Sometimes with a set in stain, you will have to seek help from a professional and have the shirt dry cleaned.
Will this Work for Removing Chocolate Milk Stains?
Chocolate milk stains and chocolate stains respond very similarly. You won’t need to scrape off excess chocolate. Instead, you will be moving right to the rinsing step. I wouldn’t wipe the chocolate milk stains with a clean cloth; I know it’s tempting, but you are better off just rinsing it out and then putting the clothing through the vinegar solution and cold water wash.
Alternative Methods To Consider
So, does vinegar remove chocolate stains? Yes! Vinegar is by far my favorite method, but there are a few others that you can try. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I would stay away from WD-40; there is no reason to break this out with so many other reliable methods.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide To Remove Chocolate Stains
If vinegar is not working for you, try hydrogen peroxide using these steps.
- Remove as much chocolate as possible
- Rinse the stain with cold water.
- Lay the garment out on a towel and pour a little hydrogen peroxide on the stain.
- Let the peroxide sit for about 15 to 30 minutes.
- Wash the clothing in cold water with like colors
- If the stain is gone, put it in the dryer; if not, start back at step 3
Using Oxygenated Cleaners To Remove Chocolate Stains
Oxygen bleach is not nearly as harsh as traditional bleach, and it releases oxygen that helps to remove chocolate stains. One of the great things about oxygen bleach is that it is slightly abrasive, so it does some of the work for you.
- Remove as much of the remaining chocolate as you can using a butter knife
- Rinse the stain in cold water for at least a minute.
- Fill a bowl with a mixture of OxiClean or similar and water.
- Place the chocolate-stained clothing in the solution and let it sit for 15 minutes
- Mix the solution with the clothing and then let it sit another 15 minutes
- Wash on a cold cycle in the washing machine.
- Check to see if this worked to get the chocolate out before putting it in the dryer.
Using Lemon Juice To Remove Chocolate Stains
Lemon juice is a natural alternative to other stain-removal methods for chocolate. My one word of caution here is that lemon juice is very acidic, and if you don’t rinse it well, you could damage clothing.
- Remove chocolate remnants on the clothing with a blunt knife
- Rinse the area with cold water
- Squeeze the juice of a lemon directly on the chocolate stain.
- Use a soft toothbrush to rub the lemon juice.
- Let the juice sit for about five minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
- Put the clothing through a normal wash cycle and check for additional chocolate stains before putting it in the dryer
Using Commercial Stain Remover Sprays To Remove Chocolate Stains
As much as I love my natural cleaners for removing chocolate stains, sometimes on white clothes or with stubborn stains, I switch to commercial stain remover sprays. This is the process I would follow.
- Get chocolate off the shirt using a butter knife or credit card.
- Rinse with cold water
- Spray Shout Advanced Action Gel directly on the stain
- Wash with like colors and other washable fabrics.
- If the stain remains, go back to step 2 and repeat until the cleaning agent breaks down the stain.
- Check for chocolate before placing it in the dryer.
How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothes Without Washing
Chocolate stains are not the easiest, but with the help of stain removers and a washing machine, they can usually be removed. If you are out and need a chocolate stain removed without washing, you can try these steps. You will probably still need to launder the clothing to get chocolate stains completely out.
- Use a straight edge like a credit card or dull knife to remove as much chocolate as possible.
- Blot the chocolate stain with wet paper towels (do not scrub)
- Get a stain remover pen like Tide To Go Mini to treat the stain.
- Dry with paper towels
- Allow to air dry
- Ultimately, to get the stain completely out, you still need to wash it. When you’re ready to wash the clothing, pre-soak in a vinegar and water method to ensure that as much oil is removed from the clothing as possible.