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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Valentine’s Day Stain of the Season: Chocolate

By Dr. Laundry February 13, 2007

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. The grocery store displays many flowers, heart-shaped candies and other festive decor for loved ones. It seems appropriate to address one of the toughest stains of this season: chocolate.

Chocolate is one of my favorites and I sample it often. Besides, it tastes great anytime-not just for Valentine’s Day. This means sometimes you are probably going to get it on your shirt or table linens. With so many different chocolate versions, it’s difficult to decide how to proceed. Regular chocolate is usually a mixture of emulsifiers and the cocoa powder particles. Add milk chocolate and now we have milk proteins to worry about. This means, they’re both complex stains, but should be treated differently. For the regular chocolate, you want to attack the greasy portion first, but with the milk chocolate, the protein portion should be attacked first. After these have been attacked, we hit it with the bleach to help get the color out. While a difficult stain to remove-the task is not impossible.

Regular Chocolate:

First, pretreat with a good liquid detergent to help solubilize/dissolve those emulsifiers. Rub into the stain and wait 10-15 minutes.



  • White Item: Now, rub it gently with Clorox® Bleach Pen™ Gel immediately before laundering. Then wash immediately in hot water with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.

  • Colored Item: Now, rub it gently with Clorox2® Bleach for Colors immediately before laundering. Then wash immediately in warm water with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox2® Bleach for Colors.

Milk Chocolate:

Here you want to presoak the fabric in cold water and liquid detergent for about 30 minutes to help loosen the protein part of the stain.



  • White Item: Now, rub it gently with Clorox® Bleach Pen™ Gel immediately before laundering. Then wash immediately in hot water with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.

  • Colored Item: Now, rub it gently with Clorox2® Bleach for Colors immediately before laundering. Then wash immediately in warm water with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox2® Bleach for Colors.

Don’t forget, like any other stain, be sure to inspect the item before you put it in the dryer. If the chocolate stain remains after your initial washing, repeat the steps above prior to drying item.

Here’s hoping yours is a happy Valentine’s Day!