4 Ways to Remove Chocolate Stains From Clothing

How to remove chocolate stains from clothing?

The problem of chocolate on clothing is not unique to parents, although perhaps those that have kids are the most familiar with it. Chocolate is something we all love to some degree, but unfortunately, it has a tendency to stain pretty badly.

There’s no reason to deprive yourself of your favorite treat just because the stains can be difficult to clean. You can still save your – or your child’s – clothing. Just follow our simple methods found below.

Before you begin

To ensure everything goes smoothly, please read our handy tips and tricks.

  1. If you’re using any type of detergent, please clean out of reach of your children and pets.
  2. As you’re working with clothing, it’s important to use only safe substances. Before you try your hand at the chocolate, test the substance on a hidden patch of clothing. Proceed only if it doesn’t stain.
  3. If you’re using detergent, read the label and make sure it’s safe to use with the fabric in question.
  4. Do not place the stained piece of clothing into the dryer. The heat will set the chocolate and make it next to impossible to clean.
  5. When using the washing machine, make sure you only use cold water.

Simple ways to remove chocolate stains from clothing

Chocolate stains, luckily, often look worse than they are in reality. Extremely visible especially on light-colored fabrics, they undoubtedly need to be thoroughly cleaned.

Chocolate stains, like many other stains, are best removed quickly. They set with heat and time, so the longer you wait, the harder they will be to clean. However, if you’ve only spotted the stain pretty late, don’t worry – there’s still lots of hope.

Read our suggested methods and choose the one that suits you best. You’re just a few steps away from removing chocolate stains from your clothing.

Method #1: Using white vinegar

Time: 15 minutes + laundry time

Required items: cold water, white vinegar, a clean cloth

This is a method recommended for fresh stains.

  1. Place the stain under a strong stream of cold water. It should break up some of the chocolate.
  2. Next, mix two tablespoons of white vinegar into a cup of cold water.
  3. After testing, apply the solution to the stain. 
  4. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Wash away under cold water.
  6. If the stain remains, you can repeat the steps.
  7. If most of the stain is gone, you can throw the garment into the wash as normal. 

Method #2: Using borax

Time: >40 minutes + laundry time

Required items: borax, water, heavy cream, gloves

This is a method recommended for stubborn stains. Please do not attempt it around children or pets, and make sure you wear gloves.

  1. For old stains: Apply heavy cream to the entire stained area. Leave it to sit for about 30 minutes. Soak the entire garment in cold water, and rinse off the cream thoroughly. Proceed to step 3.
  2. For fresh stains: allow any clumps of chocolate to harden. You can achieve this by putting the item in the freezer for a short while. Scrape away any chocolate you possibly can, then proceed to step 3. 
  3. Mix some borax with water to make a thick paste (similar to toothpaste).
  4. Put the paste directly onto the stain (make sure you test it first).
  5. Leave it for 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape away the paste gently, then rinse with cold water.
  7. Wash the garment as normal.

Method #3: Using liquid dish soap

Time: >20 minutes + laundry time

Required items: heavy cream, water, liquid dish soap. Optional: 3% hydrogen peroxide.

This method should work on most stains.

  1. Start by performing one of the first two steps of method #2
  2. If the stain is deeply ground into the fabric, allow the piece of clothing to soak in a bowl of cold water and liquid dish soap for about an hour.
  3. Next, mix liquid dish soap (we recommend Palmolive or Dawn) with water. 
  4. Apply the solution to both the front and the back of the stain.
  5. Allow it to soak for several minutes.
  6. Rinse off using cold water.
  7. Repeat the steps as needed. If the stain is stubborn, you can blot it with 3% hydrogen peroxide.
  8. When the stain is gone, launder as usual in cold water.

Method #4: Using laundry detergent

Time: >30 minutes + laundry time

Required items: biological laundry detergent, a spoon, cold water, gloves

This method is most commonly successful, but it does require the use of detergent.

  1. Start by scraping away all the excess chocolate. Don’t press down too hard, as you don’t want to make matters worse.
  2. Rinse the back of the stain with cold running water. If you can’t hold the reverse of the fabric under the tap, saturate the stain with cold water.
  3. Wearing gloves, rub biological laundry detergent into the stain. Be thorough, but again – not too rough.
  4. Soak the clothing in cold water for 15 minutes.
  5. While it’s soaking, rub the stain gently every 3 minutes
  6. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can apply more detergent as needed and repeat the steps.
  7. Once the stain is almost gone, you can throw the garment into the laundry. Use a cold water cycle.
  8. If the stain persists through washing, you can repeat the steps. Do not put the clothing into the dryer before the stain is gone.

What’s next?

Chocolate stains get harder and harder to clean as time goes by. Your biggest enemy will be heat, because it can make chocolate almost impossible to clean. For that reason, it’s best to act quickly.

With enough persistence, our methods are almost certain to work. However, if you find yourself dealing with a very stubborn stain, you can use a commercial stain remover. Make sure you read the label before you attempt to use it.

The last resort will be taking the clothing to a dry cleaner. Some methods are not available or recommended at home, but a professional may still be able to save your clothes.

If you find yourself, or your child, with a chocolate stain, don’t fret. Act as quickly as you can, avoid the heat, and the odds of returning your piece of clothing back to normal will be high.