Caramel is a sweet confection made of white and brown sugars, corn syrup, milk and butter, and used to make candy, coat apples and frost cakes. This sweet substance leaves a greasy, sticky stain when it ends up on fabric. Left unattended, the surrounding fabric will absorb the oils and sugars, creating a larger stain to remove. Although it makes a mess, you can remove caramel stains successfully if you tend to them properly.
Scrape caramel off the fabric with the dull side of a table knife. Remove as much of the caramel as possible, wiping it off on a paper towel.
Combine 1 qt. warm water with 1/2 tsp. dishwashing detergent and 1 tbsp. white vinegar. Soak the fabric in the detergent and vinegar solution for 30 minutes to remove the sticky, grease residue. Remove the fabric from the vinegar and detergent soak and rinse with warm water.
Wring out the fabric to remove as much moisture as possible. Lay it flat on a work surface, with the caramel stained area facing up. Wet a sponge with rubbing alcohol and blot the caramel stain to remove remaining grease.
Pour enzyme prewash stain remover over the remaining stain and allow it to soak into the fabric for 30 minutes. The enzymes attack and break down proteins from the milk, helping to loosen the stain and preventing odor-causing bacteria from forming.
Wash the fabric with laundry detergent and oxygen bleach to remove any last trace of caramel stain. Make sure the entire stain has been removed before placing the fabric in the dryer to avoid setting the stain.