lestoil in laundry

How to Get Fabulous Results Treating Laundry Stains with Lestoil

Now and then I open my mailbox to find a letter that makes me want to jump up and run around yelling, “I know the answer! I know exactly how to fix this problem!” That’s exactly what happened when I heard from Chris …

lestoil in laundry2


Dear Mary: As one whose hands tremble a bit (I’ve been thoroughly checked and it’s not a serious matter) I am forever dropping food on my clothing while I eat. That results in grease spots that set in no matter what I do.

I have tried pre-washes, baking soda, double washing, and stain removers. I have not found anything that will remove the grease stains and I am not willing to wear a bib, especially while eating in a nice restaurant with friends and family. I am on a limited budget, and this is becoming a real issue. Please help! Chris

I can identify because I have a similar problem—the result of cooking over a splattering stove while failing to wear an apron! I know what you mean about tough grease spots setting into my clothes and refusing to budge. But not to worry. I have the perfect solution—one I’ve used nearly every day of my life since I found it. 

When old is new again

Lestoil (“less toil”) Concentrated Heavy Duty Cleaner is a product that’s been around for at least a hundred years. Your mother probably used it on your clothes when you were a kid. It is a thick liquid stain treatment that is not easy to find. I understand that some Walmart stores carry it, which you will find in the laundry aisle or online; now and then I’ll see it at Home Depot. For sure you can always find Lestoil Concentrated Heavy Duty Cleaner online at Amazon. I buy two bottles at a time, because I don’t ever want to run out of Lestoil.

Fragrant or odiferous?

Here’s the thing with Lestoil: I find it very stinky. It smells like the inside of a greasy machine shop. Surprisingly, I have readers who find the scent endearing, but be that as it may, the smell will disappear in the laundry once you wash the stain-treated garment.



How to treat with Lestoil


I pour Lestoil into a spray bottle for ease of use so I can blast grease stains, old stains, food stains, make-up stains, and any other stain I manage to pick up. I’m so used to the smell by now that I find it easily tolerated because I know what’s going to happen—no more stain.

Roll it up

Next—and this is very important—I roll up that treated item and leave it overnight. (I’ve tried letting it sit for an hour or so, but find that may not be long enough to guarantee a good result.)


In the morning, I rinse the treated area in the sink to remove the Lestoil (just to be safe, as some newer washing machines warn against putting petroleum-based products into the machine).

Launder and usual

Last, I wash and dry these items as usual, and Voila!, stains are gone without a trace of the infamous Lestoil odor.

Repeat as needed

One last thing: There have been a few times that a stain did not come out completely on my first attempt. On that rare occasion, rather than give up, I repeat the process with Lestoil, letting it sit before laundry for up to a couple of days. So far, I’ve never had to resort to a third attempt.

Lestoil. It’s just plain wonderful.


   1-Pak Lestoil 48-oz.

      HOME DEPOT $8.48 ($0.13 fl oz)




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  1. Wendy Tucker (Tockman) says:

    Lestoil reeks. Like Lysol and even if it does wash out in laundry–horrible A solution which has already been mentioned is Zout bar soap. It’s amazing. I have a bar next to sink in a soap dish–inside a plastic bag. Whenever there’s a stain (often!), I just take out the bar and rub it as if washing my hands. Back into plastic bag –it’s getting narrower with ongoing use). Stain is gone and no smell. Is Zout same as Fels Naphtha? Thanks.
    BY THE WAY, please remember that many of your readers live in apartments which do not have washers & dryers. We rely on the coin operated machines and who knows what has been in those. If there is a good washer/dryer combo suitable for an apartment, please let us know. Need something portable to get inside without being noticed! Seriously.

  2. wendy says:

    Zout bar soap is The Absolute Best. Just rub the edge of the bar — it will get narrower and smaller with use — onto the greasy-dirty-stained area (have it slightly wet). Rub it in as if washing hands. That’s it. Let it sit for a few hours. Stains begin to disappear as you rub. Zout is also available in flake form (much like Ivory Flakes) but they don’t dissolve well. Still a good and inexpensive option. Also…..a great smell.

    On another note: any information about cleaning vinegar will be welcome. Is the basic 6% acidity cleaning vinegar good or is it worth the $$$ to get the 24%-30% acidity version (complaints are that it is oily and has particles). Can they be diluted? Can I strengthen the 6% variety with citric acid (aka sour salt)? Thanks.

  3. Dee says:

    Mary, I love you and all of your great tips.

    I bought some Lestoil based on your recommendations. Oh boy, was I ever happy to have it on hand. I was staining a picture frame on my dining room table. Just a small job, I didn’t think I needed any protection on the carpet. I bumped the cardboard the stain was sitting on and sloshed walnut brown stain on my ivory colored carpet. I immediately thought of the Lestoil and it removed the stain from my carpet. I was dancing for joy because this mess was right in the walk way, no way to hide it.

    6 bucks saved me hundreds of dollars, if not thousands because that mess would have required patched or replaced carpet.

    Thank you for all you do. God bless you for helping the rest of us save money to be financially independent. You are the best!


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