How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothes Naturally
By Marilee Nelson |
Chocolate is beloved for its intense aroma, intoxicating flavor, and mood- and energy-lifting properties.
However, the stains it can leave behind may be challenging.
Especially if those chocolate stains are forgotten, hidden (in the case of children), or become set in.
In this article, you’ll learn several stress-free ways to get chocolate out of your clothes naturally.
What You Need To Know About Tackling Chocolate Stains
Chocolate can be difficult to remove because it contains two staining elements:
- Tannins, the plant compounds that give chocolate its color,
- And fats; oils or cocoa butter.
Chocolate stains can only be fully removed if both these elements are addressed.
This means you need to employ natural stain-removing methods that work on oil and tannins.
How to Remove Fresh Chocolate Stains
First, we’ll tackle the best-case scenario: fresh chocolate stains.
These are easier to remove because the fat and tannins in the chocolate haven’t had time to set into clothing fibers.
The trick to removing fresh chocolate stains naturally is to know what works, to act fast, and to resist the urge to over-scrub.
Cold Bath Method
The optimal first step to removing melted chocolate is to freeze it into submission using the cold bath method.
This will make the chocolate stain easier to remove and prevent it from seeping deeper into clothing fibers.
To cold-bath your chocolate stain:
- Run one side of the stain under cold water for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other side.
- Alternately, throw the garment in the freezer for a few minutes or dunk the whole thing in ice water or an ice bucket depending on the situation.
- Once the chocolate is hardened, use a blunt object, like a spoon or pot scraper, to chip as much off as possible.
The cold bath method on its own or combined with a little spot treatment may be enough for smaller stains.
It can also be used in conjunction with the following natural stain removal methods.
The cold bath method may not work or be necessary on foods made with cocoa powder vs. melted chocolate, such as ice cream or hot cocoa.
It can’t hurt to try it, but in these cases, blotting may be a better option.
Branch Basics Method
When fresh chocolate stains strike, grab a bottle of Branch Basics All Purpose or Bathroom and get to work!
Non-toxic, all-natural Branch Basics Concentrate was designed to replace all household cleaners. It is used as the base for All-Purpose, Bathroom, Streak-Free, Laundry, Foaming Wash, and more.
To use, dilute the designated amount of Concentrate with water in a spray bottle. Shake and use.
Here’s how to use Branch Basics to remove fresh chocolate stains:
- Spray All-Purpose or Bathroom on the stain.
- The right concentration depends on the fat content of the chocolate. All Purpose may be sufficient for a hot cocoa stain, for example, while Bathroom would be best for chocolate icing or a truffle stain.
- Place a clean cloth behind the stain to avoid translocating it to the other side of the garment.
- Agitate slightly with another cloth until the chocolate disappears.
No time to sit and scrub? Out of All Purpose or Bathroom?
Try the Oxygen Boost soaking method.
- Remove as much of the chocolate as possible by blotting with a damp cloth, or employ the cold bath method.
- Soak the garment in a scoop of Branch Basics Oxygen Boost mixed with hot water (or use the warmest temperature fabric will tolerate) for at least an hour or more.
- Check to ensure the stain is gone. If so, launder as usual. If not, it’s time to start scrubbing, then re-soak.
*Test fabric in an inconspicuous area for compatibility with Oxygen Boost
White Vinegar Method
Distilled white vinegar is a simple and convenient solution for fresh chocolate stains.
The natural acetic acid has a one-two punch, capable of blasting through fat and oil and lifting out tannins.
Here are two ways to use distilled white vinegar to remove chocolate stains:
Method #1: The spray method
- Employ the cold bath method and/or blot up as much of the chocolate as possible using a cloth, with another clean cloth behind it to prevent translocating the chocolate.
- Spray undiluted distilled white vinegar on the stain.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes to give the vinegar time to work on the stain.
- Gently scrub the stain to remove as much of the chocolate as possible.
- Next, if needed, apply All-Purpose to stain, let sit 3-5 minutes, and agitate fabric to help work out the rest of the stain.
- Launder as usual.
Method #2: The soak method
- Use the cold bath method and/or blot up as much of the chocolate as possible using a cloth, with another clean cloth behind it to prevent translocating the chocolate.
- Soak the stain in 1 part vinegar mixed with 1 part water for at least 20-30 minutes, or longer if needed.
- Check the stain; if it’s gone, you’re done. If not, move on to step 4.
- Apply All-Purpose to the stain, let sit 3-5 minutes, agitate fabric to helpwork out the rest of the stain.
- Launder as usual
*Vinegar contains acetic acid which is a lung irritant when sprayed. Do not inhale the fumes when sprayed. Provide good ventilation during cleaning and keep those with asthma, COPD, and other lung conditions out of the space when spraying vinegar as a cleaner. Vinegar is typically not a problem if used in a washing machine or in applications where it is not aerosolized.
Learn more about the non-toxic power of vinegar in: 12 Ways to Use Vinegar In Your Home.
Other Quick Stain Removal Methods
- Natural dish soap can be used to gently spot-treat chocolate stains following the cold bath method or after blotting up as much as possible.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the stain to absorb excess oil and lift tannins.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be applied directly to white clothing to naturally bleach out tannins.
- Natural baby powder is excellent for removing oil stains.
- Natural laundry detergent can also be used directly on chocolate stains following the cold bath method or after blotting up as much as possible.
How to Remove Set-in Chocolate Stains
Like all stains, set-in chocolate stains are more difficult to remove than fresh ones.
But they’re not impossible!
Here’s how to remove set-in chocolate stains naturally.
Branch Basics Method
- Wet the stain with hot water.
- Apply a few drops of Branch Basics Concentrate to the stain.
- Let dwell for at least 20 minutes.
- Next, dissolve a scoop of Oxygen Boost in a bowl or basin of hot water.
- Soak the stain in the Oxygen Boost solution for several hours.
- Launder using Branch Basics Laundry and a scoop of Oxygen Boost.
- Check the garment before putting the dryer to see if the stain is gone.
- If it is, dry as usual.
- If it’s still visible, repeat this and/or try the baby powder method.
Baby Powder Method
Natural baby powder is often a miracle cure for oil or grease stains.
So, if your set-in chocolate stain looks more like a grease stain, this method should finish the job.
You can also use this in conjunction with the Branch Basics method to remove oil and tannins.
- Sprinkle natural baby powder liberally on the stain.
- Let dwell 24 hours or more.
- Launder as usual.
We recommend using baby powder with one caveat: make sure it’s talc-free, all-natural, and fragrance-free baby powder.
Talc-based baby powders (asbestos-containing and asbestos-free varieties) have been linked to lung disease and various cancers. Plus, they usually contain synthetic fragrances, a source of endocrine disruptors like phthalates.
Natural baby powders are usually made with a mixture of starches and herbs and work the same way as baking soda by absorbing and drawing out the stain.
Our friend and mother of 6, Katie Wells at WellnessMama, has a great DIY baby powder recipe here.
Learn more in: How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Clothes Naturally.
Baking Soda + Natural Dish Soap, Castile Soap, or Branch Basics + Oxygen Boost Soak
This method pulls out all the non-toxic stops to blast away stubborn, set-in chocolate stains.
- Baking Soda—to absorb oil and naturally lighten stains.
- Natural Dish*, Castile Soap, or Branch Basics Bathroom—to lift away tannins and dissolve oil.
- Oxygen Boost—to remove tannin stains and help lift out excess oil.
Here’s how to use this triple-threat to treat set-in chocolate stains:
- Run the stain under hot water (if fabric will tolerate) to help re-liquify and remove as much oil as possible.
- Combine baking soda with dish soap to make a paste. Spend a few minutes rubbing the paste directly onto the oil stain.
- Let dwell for 12-24 hours for set-in stains.
- Rinse with hot water.
- Dissolve one scoop of Oxygen Boost with hot water in a bowl or basin.
- Soak the stain for several hours or overnight.
- Launder and dry as usual.
This should do it. If there’s still a little stain visible, try sunning it at the warmest time of day (typically noon to 3:00 PM) to bleach out the rest of the stain.
Chocolate Stain FAQs
Have more questions about how to remove chocolate from clothes naturally? Let’s answer some FAQs below.
Can Chocolate Stain Clothes Permanently?
Yes, especially if the stain becomes set in and/or clothes are washed and dried without treating the stain.
As discussed above, there are things you can do to remove or lighten set-in stains, but sometimes they will not come out completely.
Sunning clothing will naturally lighten stains over time and promote the outgassing/off-gassing of unwanted fragrances and odors.
This is why treating the stain as quickly as possible is critical.
Does Hot or Cold Water Get Rid of Chocolate Stains?
The answer is both!
Typically, you’ll start with cold water (the cold bath method) to harden the chocolate so you can remove as much as possible.
After that, you’ll use hot or very warm water (use temperature recommended for fabric) to liquify the oil/fat and help lift out the tannins.
Does Vinegar Fully Remove Chocolate Stains?
Absolutely! Try the vinegar spray or soaking method on fresh chocolate to remove the stains easily.
You can also combine vinegar with other natural stain removers, such as Branch Basics, baking soda, Oxygen Boost, or natural dish soap.
Get Started With a Branch Basics Starter Kit
One of the most incredible benefits of knowing how to remove stains naturally is you’ll always have what you need to tackle any spill.
Plus, most any stain can be removed using the same non-toxic products—either alone or in combination:
- Branch Basics in varying concentrations
- Oxygen Boost
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baby powder
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Natural laundry detergent
- Natural dish soap
- The sun
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.