What's the first thing you do when you spill food on your clothes? I usually go right for the dish soap and start blotting with a clean cloth, and for the most part that takes care of things (but I'll grab and spritz on a stain remover if anything remains). But if you're dealing with a chocolate stain, well...everything you know about stain removal? It's a lie.
OK, so it's not really a lie, but taking care of chocolate spills is basically the exact opposite of everything you've ever been taught about stain removal. Here's what you need to know about getting out chocolate stains from clothes and upholstery:
Removing Chocolate Stains from Clothing
Step 1: Scrape off as much of the spill as you can using a butter knife or an index card, but be gentle as to avoid pushing any chocolate further into the fabric.
Step 2: Using cold water (or soda water), flush out the stain from the back—don't run water on top of the stain like you would with other spills, or it can drive it further into the fibers—to push out any leftover chocolate.
Step 3: Rub the stain with dish soap (or a biological laundry detergent) thoroughly until the stain is saturated with soap.
Step 4: Soak for 15 minutes in cold water, rubbing the stain every 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 5: You can apply a stain remover if the spot persists, but otherwise, launder as usual.
The key to getting chocolate out of clothing may be scraping and cleaning the stain from the back, but the key to handling chocolate stains on upholstery? Let it harden first—I know, I know, it sounds totally backwards, but it works.
Removing Chocolate Stains from Upholstery
Step 1: Much like dealing with clothing stains, scrape any excess chocolate off gently with a knife or some card stock.
Step 2: Put some ice cubes into a small plastic zipper bag (like a small ice pack) and set the bag over the stain for about 10 minutes to harden any leftover chocolate residue.
Step 3: Remove the ice pack and scrape the remaining chocolate as in Step 1.
Step 4: Put some dish soap on a damp sponge, and use it to blot the stain until you've gotten as much out as possible.
Step 5: Rinse the sponge and blot again to remove any soap left on the stain.
Step 6: Pat dry with a clean, dry white towel (colorful towels might transfer dye). If any chocolate remains, sprinkle cornmeal over it and let it set for 30 minutes, then wipe away with a clean, dry towel.