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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Valentine’s Day Chocolate and Cupcake Stains

By Dr. Laundry February 11, 2011

In the grocery store, at the mall, everywhere I look these days I see red, pink, and violet, which can mean only one thing in February – Valentine’s Day! My family loves this holiday—from pink waffles to heart shaped pizza and sugar cookies that say “Be Mine” we make it a special day. Of course special days that involve class parties for the kids or romantic meals for two can leave you with a stain removal challenge or two. Here are some stain removal tips to help keep your Valentine’s Day filled with love!

The Chocolate Fountain: Nothing is more fun, or a better recipe for a stain disaster, than a crowd of kids gathered around a chocolate fountain to dip marshmallows and strawberries. Since cream or vegetable oil can be added to make the chocolate flow smoothly, the drips that land on your clothes need special attention.


  • Begin by scraping off as much of the hardened chocolate as possible.

  • Apply a little of the new Clorox2® Stain Fighter Gel Pen directly to the stain, use the wide tip with the soft scrubber to gently work it into the stain. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse the stain with a little cool water.

  • From here, if your item is bleachable, pre-treat the stained area again, this time with a Clorox® Bleach Gel Pen, and then wash immediately with detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach in the hottest water recommended by the care label.

  • If your item cannot be bleached, apply Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster directly to the stain. Rub it in and wait 3-5 minutes, then wash with detergent and Clorox2® in the hottest water recommended on the care label. Re-treat if necessary before tumble drying.


Red Velvet Cupcakes: Maybe your child volunteered you, or maybe you signed up yourself, but if you are bringing these extra special cupcakes to the class party, watch out for extra special stains! Chances are your recipe will include cocoa powder and a lot of red food coloring as well as buttermilk and vinegar to help develop a deep red color. And then there’s the butter and eggs, so if you end up wearing the batter, be sure to treat it quickly.

  • First, apply liquid dish soap to the stain and rub it in, then rinse with cool water (never warm or hot). This will help remove the egg without cooking it in, as well as the butter and buttermilk fat.

  • For white items, do a quick pre-soak with ¼ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach diluted in 1 gallon cool water. Fully submerge the items for 5 minutes. Drain the soaking solution, and then wash the items in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.

  • For colored items, pre-soak with powdered Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster. Dissolve 1 scoop powder or 1 pack in 1 gallon of hot water. Add the stained items and soak for one hour. Then, drain the soaking solution and wash in the hottest water recommended by the care label with detergent and Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster.


Either of these pre-soaks should be effective with one treatment, but you should still air-dry and check for success. If any stain remains then it may be necessary to re-treat the stained area, and keeping the items out of the dryer will increase your chances of success. Here’s to a wonderful day!