image of a young boy eating chocolate that's covered his face.

What’s the best way to get chocolate stains out of clothes and other fabrics?

Last Updated: February 17, 2020

Chocolate is all fun and games until it ends up on your favorite sweater. Don’t shed any tears just yet, though—we’ve got the natural tips on getting that chocolatey stain out.

So, you fell asleep eating a Twix and woke up with your PJs and sheets smeared with melty chocolate. Or you had a run-in with the chocolate fountain at the birthday bash, and now your favorite party dress is a sticky brown mess. No judgment, we’ve all been there.

Although chocolate has a reputation for creating permanent stains, there’s a good chance that your sheets are salvageable and your fancy frock will see a disco ball once again. So get that cocoa gone with this down-and-dirty guide to removing chocolate from your clothes using all natural cleaners— it’s not like you were saving it for later, right?

Grove Tip

What type of stain is a chocolate stain?

Chocolate stains are made up of proteins, tannins, and oil.

The proteins come from animal secretions—in this case, milk. The fat comes from the butter in chocolate, and it can leave tough-to-get-out oily spots.

The cocoa contains tannin, a natural substance found in the roots, rhizomes, fruit, bark, and wood of many plants. Tannins are known for their dark pigments, which make tannin-based stains particularly hard to remove. Red wine, coffee, and tea—some of the worst offenders—are packed with them.

Things you’ll need to clean chocolate stains

dish gloves

Cleaning chocolate from clothing isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Below we’ve compiled a list of items you’ll need for a proper cleaning.

6 easy steps to remove fresh chocolate stains

Before you get started, check the care label on the garment. Take note of the fabric type, the recommended wash and dry cycle, and the highest recommended temperature—which, in most cases, will be cold water.

Step 1: Scrape

Use the butter knife to scrape away any residual chocolate left behind on the clothes.

If the chocolate is goopy (like Nutella!) or liquidy (like hot cocoa!), pop the clothing in the freezer for a few minutes to let the chocolate harden before you scrape.

Step 2: Rinse

Run the back of the stained fabric under cold water to rinse away as much chocolate as possible.

Step 3: Pretreat

Soak the spot with a stain remover, and let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 4: Wash

Wash the garment in the hottest water the care tag allows with a natural, enzyme-based detergent.

Step 5: Rewash if needed

If the stain remains, rewash the garment, and add a detergent booster.

Step 6: Dry

When the stain appears to be gone, air dry your garment, and check it again. Gone? Good!

Still there? Repeat the steps one last time—but don’t get your hopes up too high at this point.

5 easy steps to remove dried-on chocolate stains

If you didn’t catch your chocolate mess right from the start, there may be a little more work ahead of you to get this stain out. Try out the 5 steps below to save your garment.

Step 1: Scrape

Scrape away any dried-up chocolate left on the garment.

Step 2: Apply stain remover

Soak the stained area with a stain remover, and let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 3: Wash

Wash the garment in the hottest water the care label recommends with an enzyme-based laundry detergent.

Step 4: Repeat if needed

If the stain is still visible, repeat steps 2 and 3 again, and add a detergent booster to the wash water.

Step 5: Dry

When the stain is no longer visible, air dry, and re-check. Clean? Cool!

Not clean? Give these steps one last shot—if it’s still there after the second try, you’ll probably have to cut your losses.

Grove Tip

How do you get chocolate out of carpet and upholstery?

Try these 4 quick steps to get chocolate out of your other fabrics.

  1. If the stain has dried, use a vacuum to suck up any excess chocolate to prevent it from being squished into the carpet—the hose works wonders on targeting a specific, small area
  2. Apply one of the above stain removers (dishwashing liquid, diluted vinegar solution, enzyme cleaner) to the stain with a sponge or toothbrush—don’t scrub too enthusiastically or you’ll spread the stain.
  3. Let the stain remover work its magic for 10 minutes before blotting with a clean towel.
  4. Repeat as needed.

Other cleaners that get rid of chocolate stains

Does vinegar remove chocolate stains?

You bet! If you’d rather skip the stain remover in favor of a more natural solution, combine one part vinegar and one part water, soak the stain in the solution for 10 minutes, and wash as usual.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove chocolate stains?

Yes again! Mix one part dish soap with two parts 3% hydrogen peroxide, and apply directly to the stain to help cut through the fat and lighten the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wash.

Note that hydrogen peroxide, unlike vinegar, may bleach clothing, so test it out on an inconspicuous spot first.

Does OxiClean remove chocolate stains?

An oxygenated cleaner like Molly Suds—a natural alternative to OxiClean—can help remove tough chocolate stains.

Also known as oxygen bleach, color-safe bleach, and non-chlorine bleach, this product is used as a laundry booster to improve the effectiveness of your detergent. Add the oxygen bleach to your load according to the directions, and wash as usual.

Grove Tip

Can you get chocolate out of clothes without washing them?

If you’re out and about when your candy-eating toddler wipes his choco-licious little hands on your smart suit, find the nearest sink. If you can, remove the garment. If not, do your best with these steps:

Step 1: Macgyver together a scraper

Use your credit card, your fingernail, the bobby pin holding your bun in place. Be careful not to smear the chocolate around, creating an even bigger stain.

Step 2: Rinse

Run cold water through the stain from the inside of the garment. If you’re still wearing the garment, soak a cloth or paper towel in cold water, and blot and dab at the stain—Never rub!—until it’s as gone as it’s going to get.

Step 3: Treat

Whip out the enzyme-based stain remover you keep on hand at all times for such occasions (or hand soap if that’s not happening for you), and apply it to the stain—not too much! Rub it around gently with your fingers, and let it work for a few minutes.

Step 4: Rinse again

Rinse away the stain remover under cold water, or blot it away with a clean, wet cloth or paper towel.

We tried it: See how we removed serious chocolate stains from clothes

We followed our own chocolate stain removal advice, and here’s how it turned out.

Images of shirts stained with chocolate before stain removal.

Before stain removal

Blue shirt: 74% polyester / 22% nylon / 4% spandex

Pink pants: 98% cotton / 2% spandex

White tank: 92% polyester / 8% spandex

Green skirt: 100% cotton

First, we rinsed the stains in cold water from the inside of the fabric, then treated them:

Left spot: Soaked with a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water and let it sit for 10 minutes

Middle spot: Soaked with 2:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena dish soap (2 teaspoons peroxide, 1 teaspoon soap) and let it sit for 10 minutes

Right spot: Rinse only

Then, we tossed them in a cold-water wash with Grove Co. Lavender & Rosemary detergent and a Grab Green Bleach Alternative pod for its boosting power.

Image of clothes after stain removal


All three chocolate stains on the shirt, pants, and skirt—and the right-hand stain (cold water rinse only) on the white tank—disappeared without a trace.

The left stain (vinegar and water) on the white tank was barely visible, but the middle stain (hydrogen peroxide and dish shop) was still easily visible.

Follow Jonathan Van Ness' lead and try plastic-free natural products from Grove

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