I bought a 25L drum of multi-purpose cleaner in the now-gentrified fish market district in Oostende. The guy told me to be careful and always use gloves, even when working with highly diluted product, because a friend of his had neglected to do this, and his nails hadn’t grown back out. Oh baby, now we’re talking!
The stuff worked great, it laughed at shaft grease and anything else you pointed it at, only real issue was that it would strip paint if you let it. We just called it nasty shit and used it for everything. A little bit went a long way, so we kept a bit in an old PET bottle clearly marked “NASTY SHIT!” and put the drum away in the paint store. I figured that was plenty safe, because who would drink from a bottle with that written on it?
Things went well for a long time until we were in Tunisia having work done. One of the yardbirds figured Nasty Shit must be somebody’s name, and was sure Mr. Shit wouldn’t mind if he “borrowed” his water bottle. Thankfully, he noticed that it was foaming a bit much for drinking water, and tested it on his fingers, whereupon all hell broke loose. He was very angry with me. I asked him: “So what does your religion say about theft anyway?” which put an end to the discussion.
In the end, I learned my lesson about using food packaging for harmful substances, and have also come to realize that pictograms have their place.
As for stripping soot, there is literally nothing out there that’ll dissolve it without all kinds of exothermal fun and games. The best you can hope for is to dissolve the carrier substance. I’d use nasty shit if I had it…