Ever had the occasion to wonder where you’ve been all your life? That’s my reaction to a simple heavy-duty cleaning product, Lestoil. Apparently, it’s been manufactured right here in the U.S.A. for more than 80 years—and loved by many. Curiously, I’d never heard of it until just a few months ago.
On the off chance you, too, are not familiar with the powerful cleaner of all things hopelessly stained, here are 10 things you will enjoy knowing.
1. Lestoil is a heavy-duty multi-purpose household cleaner that can be used full-strength on stains—especially really difficult stains; the kind of stains you just give up on like ink, toner, grease, oil, scuff marks, blood, lipstick, nail polish, paint, grass stains, coffee stains, crayon and marker stains on every surface you can imagine—even the sticky stuff left behind by stickers and labels.
2. Lestoil has been around since 1933. While I have not been around quite that long, this makes me wonder where I have been since I’ve only learned about Lestoil in the past few months.
3. Lestoil has removed every old stain I’d given up on as well as every new stain I’ve acquired since the two of us met—on clothing, carpet, concrete and all kinds of patio furniture including molded plastic. It removed black stains that accumulated on outdoor furniture covers. It made short order of some ugly stains on cultured stone. It removed that gross, sticky residue that shows up on vinyl and plastic, restoring it back to its former glory. So far, Lestoil has worked on everything I’ve tried.
4. Lestoil contains, among other things, sodium tallate, which is a type of soap. This means that once the job is done, it must rinsed out, washed off or otherwise removed to make sure the item being treated doesn’t retain a residue that will attract a new stain.
Lestoil is a registered trade name of Clorox for a heavy-duty multi-purpose cleanser product, used to remove extremely difficult laundry stains, dissolve water-based and oil-based paints, and clean grease, oil, paint, and adhesives from floors and surfaces. It was introduced as a dry cleaning fluid for laundry in 1933.
5. Lestoil has a strong odor. It smells like an industrial factory that is being cleaned with pine oil. That’s because it indeed contains pine essential oil—a powerful, natural cleaner and degreaser. This is another reason that you will always want to rinse Lestoil once its done its job. So far, for me the odor from Lestoil has not remained long term.
6. Lestoil is highly concentrated. A little goes a long way. You want to use it full strength on laundry stains, but in a small quantity—just enough to cover the stain. Then scrub gently with an old toothbrush. Wait for 10-15 minutes and then launder as usual. For large jobs like cleaning tile or linoleum floors, dilute about one cup of Lestoil to a bucket of hot or warm water.
7. Lestoil is powerful. It’s so strong, used full strength it can dissolve the finish on water-based- and oil-based-painted surfaces, laminate and wood floors. Therefore, do not use full-strength on these types of surfaces. Even if you intend to use it in a weak dilution, always test in an inconspicuous place first before you use Lestoil on any painted and wood surfaces.
8. Lestoil, diluted in water at a rate of 2 tablespoons to one cup water, will remove old greasy, oily stains from carpet. Make sure the stain is saturated well, then scrub with a clean white cloth. Blot then repeat as necessary until the stain is gone. Be sure to rinse well followed by blotting to dry. Always test for color-fastness in a closet or other inconspicuous place.
9. Lestoil is smelly. Did I already say that? I need to say it again. Seriously, this stuff is strong smelling, but not unreasonably harmful. It is totally worth the smell, though. Whenever possible, use Lestoil outdoors.
10. Lestoil is not a well-known product and can be difficult to find. Lowe’s and Home Depot purport to carry it but I have yet to find a store in my area that has even one bottle for sale. But don’t take my word for it. Check Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot where you live. Then rest assured that you can get Lestoil online as I do, where it remains readily available.
I’m quickly developing a love affair with Lestoil. It is quite amazing.