Whether it be for a gift, self-indulgence, or holiday treat, chocolate is one of the most popular sweets enjoyed by everyone. Sometimes we even decide to share this treat in ways we do not intend. Chocolate can cause stains on clothes, carpets, or even upholstery. Chocolate results in very tough stains due to the unique ingredients used to make the delectable treat. Stains caused by chocolate can be heartbreaking unless treated properly. Make sure you have all the proper items and a set of steps to correctly remove chocolate stains.
What Type of Stain is a Chocolate Stain?
Chocolate has unique chemistry resulting in an oil-based stain mixed with natural dyes. Chocolate is a mixture of cocoa powder and cocoa butter molded into a variety of shapes and forms then cooled to harden. These ingredients combined result in anything but a sweet stain.
“Cocoa powder is an issue because it contains dark-colored tannins, while coca butter gives the resulting stains its oily texture.” source: www.tide.com
Oil stains from the butter/oil used in making chocolate adhere to any dirt to which they are exposed. Typically hard to find, these oil stains are highlighted by the cocoa powder tannins. The tannins act as a natural dye on materials resulting in dark areas.
What You Will Need to Clean a Chocolate Stain?
Cleaning a stain from chocolate is a simple task if you take the time to make sure you have access to all the proper materials. The list of items needed are as follows:
- Dull Scraping Tool to Remove Excess Chocolate
- Brush or Cloth to Scrub the Stained Area
- Access to Cold Water
- Detergent/ Cleaning Solution of Choice
Many of the items needed can be found around any household. A dull scraping tool can be any sturdy material that does not have a sharp edge such as a butter knife or credit card. Depending on where the stain is located, you may need to cup of water or a sink with cold running water.
Stains from chocolate can be cleaned with a variety of solutions. The choice you make is entirely what you prefer or have available. Optimal cleaning solutions can be:
- Dish/Laundry Detergent– Store-bought detergents are specially created to clean stains. Dish detergents can be used on materials in this situation because they are specialized in cleaning oil stains resulting from foods. Picking the specific detergent is an entirely personal choice based on what is you choose for your household.
- Vinegar– Vinegar can be mixed with water to create a more organic cleaning solution. The acid in the vinegar will break down oils from chocolate making the stains easy to remove.
Even after using proper cleaning solutions, the tannins can leave discoloration after the oil has been removed. The use of stain removal products, like color-safe bleach or an oxygen-activated stain remover, may be required.
How to Remove a Chocolate Stain?
Whether the stain is on clothing, carpets, or upholstery, the steps to cleaning up chocolate do not vary widely.
- Remove Excess Chocolate from Area – Before cleaning the stain, make sure that any remaining solid chocolate is removed from the area. Leftover over chocolate left unremoved can result in spreading the stain. If the chocolate is stuck to the area, implement the scraping tool to break the chocolate free. Using a vacuum on the carpet is also suggested before cleaning any affected area.
- Wash the Area with Cold Water– Pre-washing the area helps to remove as much of the stain as possible before applying the cleaning solution. By reducing the amount of stain in the area, the less material needed to be removed by the cleaning product is left behind. Pre-washing also helps to rehydrate the stain loosening its grip on the material if left uncleaned for a period of time.
- Apply Cleaning Solution and Soak– Now is the time to apply the chosen cleaning solution and let the product work its magic. Apply a small amount of your detergent or solution to the affected area. After making sure the product is deep in the material, allow 10-15 minutes for the product to soak into the stain.
- Scrub and Rinse– Now that the product has had time to mix properly with the stain, it is time to scrub the area. Scrubbing the area with a brush or cloth makes sure that all the stain is removed from the material. Start rinsing the area with warm water and continue scrubbing until all the cleaning product and stain has been removed.
- Dry– Make sure the materials are allowed to air dry. Machine drying before the stain is completely removed can cause the stain to go farther into the material making it harder to remove.
These steps can be used on any material. However, there are some steps specific to the material being cleaned. Machine washing after following the earlier steps helps to make sure the stain is removed completely. Additionally, a stain removal product may be necessary if the discoloration persists after hand washing the area.
What Should You Not Do When Treating a Chocolate Stain?
There are several things to avoid when treating a chocolate stain. Avoiding these will make sure the stain is fully dissolved and the material unharmed.
- Make sure all excess chocolate is removed before cleaning
- Make sure the material is not dry clean only
- Clean the area with cold water
- Only allow the area to air dry
- Choose a cleaning solution that is not harmful to the material
- Apply light pressure when cleaning.
- Avoid forcing the stain deeper into the material
All of these will guarantee any stain will be gone in a flash.
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