How to Get Chocolate Out of Clothing in 5 Steps

Whether you’re a parent of small children or simply the victim of a melted chocolate fiasco, getting chocolate on clothing can feel like a disaster. Fortunately, returning clothes to their original, chocolate-free state may be easier than you think. If you’re hoping to rescue your favorite pair of jeans, a beloved T-shirt, or just about anything else, here’s a quick guide to how to get chocolate out of clothing in just a few simple steps.

1. Remove Any Excess

Using a dull butter knife or spoon, carefully remove any excess chocolate that’s resting on the surface of the clothing. Be careful not to spread the chocolate during this step and use a gentle scooping motion to avoid pressing chocolate further into the fibers of the fabric.

2. Rinse

Taking care not to spread the stain, turn the garment inside out, and then place the back of the affected area under a stream of cold running water. This will help flush out the chocolate while preventing it from becoming further embedded in the fabric. It may be tempting to wring or rub the fabric during this step, but resist the urge—thoroughly rinsing the fabric prior to more detailed washing is essential to removing chocolate from clothing.

3. Apply Detergent

Focusing specifically on the stained area, gently place a few drops of laundry detergent onto the tip of your finger, and then rub it into the stain. (Gentle, nonchemical dishwashing liquid can work too.) Allow the liquid to fully saturate the fabric, and then let the garment soak in cold, clean water. Every three minutes or so, gently massage and rinse the stain, repeating about five times or until the stain fades.

4. Launder as Usual

Once you’ve got the chocolate out of your clothing, it’s time to go ahead and wash your garment as usual. For especially tough stains, it may be a good idea to start off with a bleach-free stain remover. Stick to cold water only and avoid the dryer until the stain has been 100% removed.

5. Or Opt for Dry-Cleaning

For fabrics that you wouldn’t normally machine-wash, the best way to remove chocolate may be to leave it to professionals. Fabrics like silk, wool, and rayon tend to respond best to dry cleaning when it comes to difficult stains. Always check the care label instructions and do your best to act swiftly—the sooner you can get to work on a stain, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to remove it completely.

Up next is a brief guide to each of your laundry settings—and when to use them.