Lestoil Grease and Stain Remover
by Gus Breiland
If you’re anything like me, you are missing that “finesse” button. Torque specs mean nothing but hearing a “snap,” then backing off a quarter-turn. Your shoelaces have multiple knots in them from where they break and you “repair” them. Buttons from your pants have rocketed across the room due to a Thanksgiving meal or just a hell of a pie.
My chain lube also presents a problem for me as I can never quite find that spot in the aerosol can trigger between off and ON. So I douse my rear hub, chain and sprocket with a wax mixture that invariably gets covered in road grime, dog hair and small rodents.
Every once in a while, I get an urge to clean and that urge quickly turns into a yelling and rag throwing episode as I try to cut through this waxy fur-covered build-up with carb cleaner, fuel, and wire brushes. After I magically remove the paint layer under the grime and gouge the metal, the goo still remains. I give up, leaving the bike on the track stand and a garage floor covered in paper towels, grime and empty beer bottles.
Needless to say, I needed a new plan. A friend introduced me to Lestoil a few winters ago and I was amazed at how quickly and painlessly it cut through greasy, waxy layers that can build up on one’s bike. For the dirty wheels, a few sheets off the paper towel roll and a couple of caps full of Lestoil and your rims are dirt and grime-free. There is almost more effort in the tearing off of the paper towels then the motion to clean the rim.
The sprocket and hub require a stiff tooth brush to work the grease and stain remover into and under the surface of the grime, but once it begins to lift, the rear end of your chain-driven bike will be sparkling in no time.
I have been using Lestoil to clean the tools and even the track stand that I use to lube my bikes’ chains. As a general-purpose cleaner, it works wonders on all of those metal surfaces that have been layered with a thick coat of oil changes, lubes, multi-state rides and mayfly hatches.
The one problem I have with Lestoil is it is not an environmentally-safe product. The label states not to rinse off the product into storm drains, lakes and rivers. I tend to wipe down the surface that I am cleaning with a couple of paper towels and then rinse the wheel instead of coating the wheel and spraying it off in the driveway. It is a cleaning product that I use sparingly, but until I find a replacement that works just as well, I’ll continue to use it.
You may need to hunt around a bit, but you can find Lestoil in grocery stores. Look in the cleaning aisle near other soaps and cleaners. A 48oz bottle should run you $7.00 or so and last anywhere from years (if you clean as little as I do) to a full season if you are concerned about your appearance.
Do not store Lestoil outside in a cold garage, it will freeze. If it does, simply thaw it out, shake it up and Lestoil will be as good as new, assuming it didn’t ooze out all over your garage floor. If it did, it works excellent it pulling grease out of your concrete.