Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

LEGO and the Detroit flood

My parent's house was affected by the recent flooding in Detroit:

Fortunately it was just storm water, not sewer water in their basement - where my LEGO collection is stored. The sets were stored in their original boxes in a 50 gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck tub, and we all thought the tub was fine - until it was opened 6 days after the flood. You guessed it. The "feet" on the bottom were cracked, and had let water in, which sat for 6 days unknown to us. Mold and mildew. I completely lost the boxes for twenty-eight sets, some dating back to 1978, molded through and unsalvagable. Eighteen of the sets are large box sets, like the Airport, and Main Street from the Classic line.

Even the LEGO has mold/mildew on it. I spent that day on the patio outside in the sun, soaking/washing sets in a dunk bag in a big dish pan, in a 10% bleach + Dawn dish soap solution, and letting them dry on towels. The problem is, the soaking/washing did not remove all of the mildew spots, though it did prevent further growth.

I have read numerous threads/posts/blogs about washing LEGO. I am going to try taking the bag of random pieces that was bought at a flea market and has no distinct "set" and putting it into socks/nylons, and washing that in the dishwasher, with vinegar added. I do not have a washing machine in my home at this time. Barring that, it looks like scrubbing the individual pieces with a soft toothbrush in more bleach/dish soap.

I would very much appreciate any additional advice! I am debating whether or not to strive to replace those boxes...


  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    I live in Canton and I'm lucky we didn't flood. My next door neighbor's did though. His sump pump blew up during the heavy rain. It was so bad that 2 cars stalled out right in front of my house because they hit the water and killed the engine.

    Sorry to hear about your Lego sets. Awful!!! My advice is to not use bleach. Soap is fine. Then I would do what you are going to do; wash them in dishwasher with white vinegar.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,756
    edited August 2014
    Tooth brush, elbow grease. Or a dedicates laundry bag and in the clothes washer from what I have read on here. As for dishwasher.. not sold on for small parts, seems to do OK for larger parts, but be careful with the heat the washer produces.

    I feel bad that all of that is destroyed like that, I can only imagine and I wish you well on salvaging what you can.
    I think there are some places that maybe can remove the moisture and whatnot from the cardboard but I believe it is really expensive.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    Yeah, I use diswasher for mostly larger parts, but I use a strainer and put it on the top rack so the heated water isn't as bad. I also turn off the heated dry cycle.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Wow... sorry to hear about that neighbor... I live east of you in the eastern suburb of St. Clair Shores, just 1 mile inland from the lake (900 sq. mile Lake St. Clair is part of the Great Lakes)... and we dodged that bullet by only getting about 2 inches... but my sister and niece in nearby Fraser (next to hardest hit Warren) were inundated. My niece spent the night in her SUV parked on high ground in a Lowe's parking lot, along with about 500 other vehicles escaping the flooding. I imagine all 9 of the freeways in the metro area were flooded to some degree... I live right next to I-696 freeway, and it was closed for days.

    Ironically I wasn't aware of the seriousness of the flooding... an hour after the rain ended I took my bicycle to the nearby ATM and didn't notice anything unusual... until an hour later (11PM) when I saw the late news about other parts of the metro area! WOW!!
  • legogallegogal Member Posts: 754
    That is so sad about losing the very old boxed sets. I hope you can salvage the parts. I try to store my LEGO in Rubbermaid Roughneck containers placed on tall rolling racks at least 6 inches above the floor any time they are on a cement slab floor for this very reason.

    The rain storms this summer have been frightening in the Eastern US. We have had several storms with 6 inch dumps of rain in a few hours; anyone living in a low spot has been flooded at least once this summer. We are fortunate to live near the top of a steep hill and have decent drainage only because my husband dug the trenches with a shovel and laid the drain pipes before our driveway was poured. It is critical that your home has adequate drainage for even the biggest downpours. Make sure that the soil slopes away from the house and that your gutters and downspouts are clean and draining properly. We use leaf guards on our gutters to keep the debris out.

    And if you rely on a sump pump to drain your low spots. remember that they burn out often and are useless when the power is out. So elevate your cherished belongings. Put the valuable toys up high and your junk down below. Inspect your downstairs area and your roof (from your attic) after each heavy rain. If there is any moisture on the boxes or containers, empty them ASAP and dry the contents out before mold takes over.

    Furniture with metal legs and tile floors downstairs may be good ideas if you live in a flood plain. Build display shelves high on your walls to prevent moisture problems. Put the valuable sets up there. And take precautions to raise items off your lower floors when a huge storm is coming. We have to prepare for every potential hurricane and use a checklist that makes it easier. You will sleep better knowing that you have a chance of surviving these storms if you are prepared. And please don't go for a drive when floods or hurricanes are predicted. That is how you end up drowning in a flooded creek.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Member Posts: 10,756
    Flooding seems to be happening a lot more through parts of the US lately.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Just came across this image of the flooding of interstate I-696 in Warren MI.... unbelievable!! This is just 7 miles down the road from me... although my town was spared the worst of it...
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    Yeah, it was crazy out there.
  • ZeyaZeya Member Posts: 36
    I had good luck washing old batches of Lego with mesh laundry bags in the dishwasher. (I wouldn't recommend risking a clothes wash machine, even the upright-barrel ones.) You can buy these thin mesh bags at any general store like Target. You'll want a good few of them. They're pretty cheap, maybe 2 bucks per. And then just lay them on the dishwasher rack and spread the bricks as evenly as you can manage. I had a day or two on a weekend where I was just running the dishwasher like this all day. I'm trying to recall what I used as solution in the dishwasher. Mine were really tainted with moth ball vapor (that stuff is nasty and carcinogenic - don't touch the stuff). I think what helped the most was just the heat and steam working over the bricks. I think I just used regular dish soap.

    Special care should be taken for cloth. I had some Pirate sails that I did by hand. Same goes for string, I suppose.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at or Amazon?

Please use our links: Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.