Reach For The Vinegar When Trying To Remove Chocolate Stains

It's a beautiful afternoon, and you decide to treat yourself to a scrumptious candy bar. The first gooey bite makes your taste buds dance, but as you're distracted by chocolatey bliss, you unconsciously wipe your chocolate-stained hand on your shirt. Don't fret — this newly acquired blemish doesn't have to mean your top is destined for the trash. You could buy a powerful enzyme-base solution to clear it away, but an easier way is to reach for a pantry staple that's great for cleaning: white vinegar.

Before doing anything, check the care label to see if it can handle something acidic like vinegar. Poly blends work well with vinegar, but if you spatter chocolate on a silk shirt, you may just want to take it to the dry cleaners. When attempting to eliminate a chocolate mark from clothes, the first thing to do is use a dull, flat object to scrape away as much of the chocolate as possible without damaging the cloth. You may want to freeze the chocolate a bit if it's particularly wet to help this step. Then, rinse the clothing from the backside of the stain with cold water. Make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and let the clothing soak in it for about 10 minutes. After soaking, wash it normally and let it air dry. The vinegar solution should've removed the smudge, but if not, repeat the process one more time, and it should get rid of any remaining chocolate.

Vinegar removes chocolate from more than just clothes

Using vinegar to remove a stain from clothes is all fine and dandy, but what if you fell asleep with your favorite chocolate bar and it landed on your couch? If you've acquired a chocolate spot on your upholstery, you can still utilize vinegar to save the day. Always check the care tag first to ensure the material can stand up to the acidity of the vinegar. You might want to spot-test an inconspicuous area on the material to be sure the vinegar won't damage it. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum and extract any solid debris you can, then take the same 1 to 1 vinegar mixture and soak a washcloth in it. Gently blot out the stain with the damp cloth until it's completely gone.

If you happened to be walking through the house with a chocolate pudding, and it slipped and fell on the floor, vinegar can help to eliminate chocolate spills from the carpet as well, and the process is similar to how you would treat upholstery. Take the same vinegar solution and damp cloth, then blot the area lightly until it's spotless. The vinegar will leave behind its distinct odor, but it will disappear after a short time.

For tough stains add baking soda

Chocolate stains are partly composed of tannins and oil. You may be familiar with tannins from past conversations about wine because wine is loaded with them. Tannins are a natural substance found in many different plants and fruits, and they are notorious for having dark pigments that are hard to pull out of fabrics. The oils in chocolate also latch onto the fabric, and together, they create a combination stain that can be difficult to eliminate. Though vinegar alone will usually break up these oils and tannins, splotches that are a little more stubborn might require adding some baking soda to the equation. The absorbent nature of the baking soda will help get rid of the oily residue. When combined, the vinegar and baking soda will react in a way that can help lift chocolate from the surfaces it's attached to.

If you prefer to keep your cleansers as natural as possible, vinegar is the perfect multi-purpose agent to keep on hand. However, some surfaces may not react well to vinegar, or a chocolate blemish may be too set in for vinegar to be effective. In those cases, you may want to look for a more powerful enzyme solution to remove chocolate spots. 

Why deny yourself a delicious confection just because you're paranoid about getting something stained? With convenient white vinegar, you can eat any chocolate snack you like without fear. It's the perfect multi-purpose cleaning solution for many of life's little smudges.