10 Things to Know About Lestoil

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.

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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.

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  • Proudtexan51

    After reading Mary’s post a couple of weeks ago about the things she cannot live without, I looked for a bottle of Lestoil when I was shopping at my local Super Walmart. I found it! I got a 48 oz bottle of Lestoil for $4.69. I have not used it on too much yet, I have some outdoor things I plan to clean with it. I did clean my smelly kitchen trash can though, and as Mary said it is very strong smelling. It did the job though. So check out your Walmart, it was on the bottom shelf in the cleaning supply area.

  • CBLeigh

    When you were growing up, do you not remember the commercials, “It’s so easy when you use less toil”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HD9U8kWiMs

    • Mary Hunt

      Uh … no 🙂 Never heard of it.

    • valjo

      I remember the jingle! Thanks for sharing the YouTube video! 🙂

    • Dave McLoughlin

      It once came in a bottle that was shaped like an oil drum, it was often advertised as a laundry /stain remover

  • Emily Booth

    Gosh. I remember Lestoil but haven’t seen it in years. I also remember a powdered cleaning product called Soilax which was fantastic. I am going to look for Lestoil & Soilax.

  • crabbyoldlady

    I used this stuff ages ago, and yes, I remember that commercial 🙂 . I have seen Lestoil at my local Dollar Tree occasionally. It’s worth a look.

  • bigmama-chicago

    Home Depot-Chicago $6.29 for 48 ounces

  • Carol

    In the southern New Jersey area, Lestoil can be found in Shop Rite supermarkets.

  • dholcomb1

    shocked you’ve only recently discovered it, it was a staple in my house growing up. mom always had it on hand. that was in the 70s and 80s. perhaps it’s more of an East Coast thing.

  • Millie Crouch

    I found Lestoil at a Rural King store. $3.29 for 28 ounces. I used Lestoil many years ago before there was so many cleaning products available. Pinesol was the other popular product at that time.

  • Debbie Kemp

    I swear by Lestoil. Grew up in Maine and it was easy to find in most stores. We have been living in No. Carolina for 20+ years and can never find it. Every summer, when we go back to Maine to visit, the 2nd most important ” bring back ” is Lestoil. The first is…….LOBSTA!

  • Becky

    My dad used Lestoil for everything when I was growing up. That smell brings back memories! He probably buys it at Menards, but I get it at Woodman’s…they have everything.

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  • Barbara Kegebein

    I am 67 and never remember my mom not having it (She always had an extra bottle). As I got older, I had to bring it on visits, and of course I use it myself. Here in Louisiana, they do carry it at Lowes and some farm stores and hardware stores now.

  • Geigei54

    Last night while painting my toenails, I spilled red polish (about a 2″x4″ spot) on my duvet cover, I was sure it was a lost cause but did try soaking in some nail polish remover, nothing happened. I swear by Lestoil for all my other stains and thought what could it hurt, it’s already ruined, I soaked the spot for about 4-5 hours in undiluted Lestoil, unbelievably the spot slowly began to fade, then a wash in hot water and now there is NO sign of the stain. Love Lestoil. I spill a lot!

  • nothingoes

    I was told about Lestoil about 40 years ago (no kidding), by a friend. I had an old oil stain on a winter coat that was used for play and snow shoveling. I had washed and dried that coat at least a dozen times with that stain on it and it never budged. I applied Lestoil to the stain and couldn’t believe my eyes as it just disappeared. Now I still use Lestoil for ink, blood, grass, grease, you name it and it works on everything I’ve ever tried it on. It does have that strong pine smell so I wash everything well after cleaning with it. It is a wonder product for stains. <3

  • CJ

    I love Lestoil! I had ants coming up through my kitchen sink and nothing would stop them. Tried all kind of pest sprays and remedies. I read about cinnamon and ants didn’t like the smell, well that didn’t work. Now knowing ants are smell sensitive I sprayed lestoil in the sink thinking they might not like the smell – well that did the trick, no more ants!

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  • Lois Vanmarter

    This is an amazing product and I like the smell…reminds me of my childhood when my mom washed the floor it was sparkling clean! It does a great job on my husband’ greasy work clothes!

  • jenni

    I can remember my grandmother using Lestoil, I Literally just used it to mop my floors. The smell is HEAVENLY not even remotely industrial or foul smelling!