Removing Chocolate Stains
Removing Chocolate Stains
The art of removing chocolate stains is not quite so challenging as trying to remove indelible ink, or even grape juice or spaghetti sauce, well known enemies of white carpeting and white shirts, respectively. Still, removing chocolate stains can be a challenge, more of a challenge with some materials than with others.
Chocolate stains can appear anywhere, but usually make their presence known on tablecloths, clothing or carpets. Chocolate stains on carpets can be particularly distressing because the errant piece of chocolate is rarely discovered until it has been firmly stepped upon.
Removing chocolate stains usually involves some combination of scraping - to remove excess chocolate that hasn't yet become embedded, heating - to release some of the chocolate that has, and a cleansing agent, often suds and water - to get remove the remaining chocolate. When clothing is involved it's a good idea to read the label, if there is one, to see if special treatment is required. Some items of clothing will benefit from a good soaking in hot sudsy water, while other are best left to a dry cleaning expert to deal with.
Washable Fabrics - When removing chocolate stains from cottons, linens, polyester, or other washable materials, it's always best to work on the spot itself rather than just dump the article in the washer. The first step is to remove as much excess chocolate as possible by wiping without smearing, or gently scraping without disturbing the fibers. The area can then be soaked in a cleansing agent which can be anything from a stain removing product (for washable material) to concentrated detergent, to soda water. The area is then sponged off and if necessary a spot lifter or even cleaning fluid may be used to finish the job, after which the entire article can be placed in the washer if desired. Ammonia often works effectively in removing chocolate which has become embedded in the fibers.
Non-Washable Fabrics - Removing chocolate stains from non-washable material, such as wool or silk, is a similar process to that used for washable material except soap and water generally isn't used. Again, any excess chocolate should be removed first by blotting, wiping or scraping, being careful not to damage the material or make the stain larger. A dry spotter is then placed on the stain and kept moist (even though it’s called a dry spotter), while gently attempting to sponge the chocolate out of the material. It may be necessary to let the dry spotter remain on the material for some time before the chocolate stain can be effectively dealt with. Once the stain has been removed, the area should be flushed with a dry cleaning solvent.
Household Surfaces - As far as household surfaces are concerned, removing chocolate stains usually involves a combination of scraping, heating (to soften or melt the chocolate), and wiping. For hard surfaces an ammonia-based cleaner usually does the job, but a few drops of ammonia in a cup of hydrogen peroxide is even better. Once excess chocolate has been removed, the affected area should be repeatedly soaked and blotted until the stain has disappeared.
Carpeting - Carpeting deserves some special attention, if only due to the fact that if the stain is not dealt with promptly it will only get more embedded and more difficult to deal with. A commercial carpet spot cleaner, liquid or spray, is often the best chose, once excess chocolate has been scraped away. An ammonia solution is usually effective on synthetic materials but should be used with caution or not at all on a wool carpet. Once the stain has been removed, the spot can be covered with a towel or other blotting agent to draw excess moisture out of the carpet, after which it should be allowed to dry naturally.