chocolate milk stain on shirt

How to Get Chocolate Milk Out of Clothes

Decided to reward yourself with a glass of sweet chocolate milk to mark the end of a busy day?

Sounds yummy. Except halfway through the glass, you realise you’ve missed your mouth and sloshed a load of chocolatey goodness over your top! Yes, we’ve all been there and got the t-shirt!

It’s embarrassing, to say the least. The chocolate liquid stands proud and dominates your entire outfit. And to top it all, you’ve wasted perfectly good milk in the process.

There are two ways you can handle this situation:

  1. You can mope around and do absolutely nothing. Or;
  2. Treat the stain as soon as possible so the chocolate milk doesn’t leave a horrid mark on your outfit!

I know what I’d opt for.

Find out how to remove chocolate milk from your clothes below.


Things to Know When Treating Chocolate Milk Stains

white shirt with brown stain

  • Use cold water to treat the stain, then run the item through a cold wash. Chocolate milk contains proteins that’ll ‘cook’ when heated up. These ‘cooked’ proteins will make the blemish challenging to remove. So don’t warm the milky stain up.
  • Act fast! Don’t give the chocolatey mess time to settle and age. It’ll become harder to remove if you do this.
  • You’ll need to use cleaners that contain enzymes to remove the chocolate milk. The enzymes (found in most biological detergents and pre-treatment solutions) can break down the proteins in the milk. In the process, the bond between the material and the molecules will weaken, and the stain can be lifted away.
  • Always read the care label on your item of clothing to find out how to care for the garment. On the tag, you’ll find out how to wash the item, if it can be treated with bleach, and if it can be dried in a tumble dryer. Stick to the advice you’re given!
  • Use detergents and solutions that are suitable for the material you’re handling. For example, if you’re cleaning a delicate silk blouse, use mild/delicate detergent to treat it. You will damage your garment if you use the wrong detergent, like one that’s too harsh and full of chemicals.
  • Always do a patch test! Before treating an item, do a small test with your chosen solution to see if it’ll affect the material. If there is some sort of reaction, stop using the product immediately and find a different treatment.
  • ‘Dry Clean Only’ means dry clean only. Take your ‘dry clean only’ garment to a professional cleaner.
  • Don’t scrub the stain because you’ll drive the chocolate milk deeper into the material’s fibres. Consequently, the blemish will be harder to remove, and you may also spread the stain in the process.
  • When cleaning chocolate milk off a vintage or heirloom type of garment, ask a pro for help! Professional cleaners have access to different tools and cleaning solutions, so they can treat and clean your item in a way that suits the material!
  • Don’t dry your item until you know for sure it’s completely chocolate milk-free. If the stain is allowed to dry, it will become harder to remove.


A Guide to Removing Chocolate Milk from Clothes

run stains on cold water

Tools you’ll need:


Steps to follow:

  1. Remove the item from your person.
  2. Turn the item inside out.
  3. Go over to the cold water tap and hold the item under it with the back of the stain facing up. Pull the material taut so there isn’t any slack in it.
  4. Flush cold water through the back of the stain (you’re essentially pushing the stain forward and out of the material). Do this until the water runs clear.
  5. Choose one of the following products to treat your chocolate milk blemish: An off-the-shelf stain remover (like Ace Gentle Stain Remover), detergent (containing enzymes like Persil Bio or Ariel Original) or washing up liquid.
  6. An off-the-shelf stain remover should be applied to the stained area as per the instructions on the item’s packaging. The solution should be left on the material for a certain amount of time. The garment should then be rinsed and laundered as usual.
  7. Apply a measure of biological detergent to the affected area and gently massage it in using your hands. Allow the solution to rest on the surface for 20-30 minutes. Then, launder your garment as per the washing instructions on the care label.
  8. Carefully rub a mixture of cold water and washing up liquid into the chocolate milk stain. Rub the area gently until you create a lather. Leave the soapy mixture on the surface for at least 15 minutes, then rinse the garment clean. Proceed with washing the item as per the instructions on the care tag.
  9. After treating your item, you can move on to the laundering process.
  10. When the washing cycle ends, remove your garment from the washing machine and check it for stains.
  11. If there’s still chocolate milk on your item of clothing, repeat the steps above (or try another option if need be).
  12. When there isn’t a trace of chocolate milk on your item, you can dry it.


Alternatives methods

Hydrogen peroxide

hydrogen peroxide for stains

For more difficult chocolate milk stains, use hydrogen peroxide (3% version) to clean them away.

Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts washing-up liquid in a shallow dish. Then, dip a clean, neutral-coloured cloth into the solution and blot the stain. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse and launder the item.

Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide is known for its bleaching effects. So, avoid using it on colourful clothing.


Oxygen bleach

oxygen bleach products

In addition, if you’ve got a stubborn stain, you could soak your garment in a tub of diluted oxygen bleach. (See packaging on your chosen bleach for application, dosage, and dilution instructions).

Just make sure that the bleach you use doesn’t damage your clothes (colourful and white) in any way!


Chlorine bleach

chlorine bleach for stains

If you have a white-stained garment made from a hard-wearing material, you can soak it in diluted chlorine bleach.

But you can only soak the garment for a few minutes at a time, not hours! Chlorine bleach will weaken the material and may cause irreparable damage to it.


How to Get Chocolate Milk Stains Out of White Clothes

brown stain on white clothes

You can follow the steps outlined above to treat chocolate milk-stained white clothes. However, as your clothes are white, you may be able to use robust cleaning solutions to treat them, like hydrogen peroxide and chlorine bleach.

Nonetheless, before trying any of these solutions, you must check the care tag on your item and do a patch test!

Even though your stained item is white, it doesn’t mean it can be doused in harsh chemicals like bleach. Some materials won’t withstand the effects, even if you use the milder oxygen bleach version.


How to Get Chocolate Milk Out of Clothes After Drying

man holding whtie shirt with stains

If you’ve got an aged or dried chocolate milk stain, feel free to try the steps noted above to remove the blemish.

But keep in mind that you’ll likely be better off using heavy-duty cleaners like official stain removers, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach (oxygen for colour-safe clothes and white and chlorine for whites only) to treat the stain.

In addition, you may have to repeat your chosen treatment multiple times to remove the entire chocolatey blemish from the material.

You should, however, remember that over-exposing your clothes to hard chemical cleaners leads to other problems, like putting needless strain on the fabric in question.

So, if you’re having difficulty removing a very old or dried-in chocolate milk stain, it may be better to take the garment to a dry cleaning store and ask them for advice.