How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothes

Fresh chocolate stains are easier to remove than deep-set stains, but we have foolproof treatments to help all garments.

chocolate stain on child's clothes


The faster you treat a fresh chocolate stain, the better.

Photo by: Getty Images; Dobrila Vignjevic

Getty Images; Dobrila Vignjevic

The faster you treat a fresh chocolate stain, the better.

Chocolate stains on clothes are never easy to remove. In fact, unlike those marks left by fine wines we keep hearing about, chocolate stains become worse with age.

Treatment for set-in chocolate stains can vary by material. The most important thing to remember is: The faster you treat a chocolate stain, the better.

There’s value in knowing how to properly hand-wash clothes when you need to tackle tough stains. A washing machine alone can only do so much, and a dryer will worsen the situation by setting the stain with heat. A soapy bath and targeted hand-washing treatment is often the first step toward making sure the stain is removed before the garment is laundered.

When in doubt, follow these tips to help you get chocolate out of clothes:

How to Get Fresh Chocolate Stains Out of Clothing: Tip 1

New stains can be managed easily, but that means you need to take action when they’re fresh.

  1. Remove any excess chocolate from the clothing. Freezing the chocolate makes it easier to remove chocolate without smearing it. Use a butter knife or the edge of a plastic credit card to lift smudges. If you’re the type of person that carries a stain stick, you can also apply that to the stain right away. And if you don’t carry a stain stick, your alcohol-infused hand sanitizer can also be used as a pretreater until you get to a sink.

  2. Run cold water through the back side of the stain to help push it out of the fibers. Treating both sides of the stain is always important.

  3. Treat the front and back sides of the stain with a dab of your regular laundry detergent, laundry stain treatment or liquid dish soap. Dish soap works well on natural materials like cotton and silk because it breaks down oils from the chocolate.

  4. Let the treatment sit for a few minutes. The cleaner needs time to break down the oils from the chocolate.

  5. Before you dare to rub at the stain, move the treated garment into a sink or bowl of cold water. If your garment is white, you may also mix 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide into the water. Hydrogen peroxide can affect colors on some materials, so if you are treating dyed or colorful garments, test an inconspicuous area before using it on your stain.

  6. Let the garment sit with minimal agitation as it absorbs the water. Then, massage at the stain with your fingers to lift the stain.

  7. Repeat this process of massaging the stain and letting it soak for up to 30 minutes or until the stain appears to be removed.

  8. Rinse in fresh cold water and then allow the garment to line-dry flat. If there’s still a sign of the stain after you’ve rinsed, apply a stain-removing gel or spray to both sides of the stain to treat it again. Don’t be alarmed if you need to treat your stain multiple times. The important thing to remember is not to heat the garment in a normal warm- or hot-wash cycle until the stain is removed.

  9. Once the stain is completely gone, you can launder the garment according to instructions.

How to Remove Set-In Chocolate Stains: Tip 2

If you notice staining on a garment after you’ve run it through the wash, it will be harder to get the stain out. But not all hope is lost:

  1. Combine one part white vinegar, one part water and 1/4 cup of detergent in a bowl to create a powerful concentrated cleanser.

  2. Soak the stain in this liquid overnight.

  3. In the morning, agitate the stain with your fingers and see how much it has lifted. You may want to apply a spot treatment to both sides of the fabric before laundering.

  4. Rinse the garment and line-dry. If the stain is gone, you can resume laundering the item as usual.

Treating tough stains doesn’t need to be difficult, but it does require quick action. Fast thinking makes it easier to remove chocolate stains, so don’t delay treating a stain on any garment to help lift the stain before it sets in the wash.

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