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Bulk Cleaning

I picked up an 80lb lot of Lego locally for quite a deal.  Between the included instructions and known sets (from stickers) I will be able to make a good amount on it and also have some fun building sets with my son.  But, they need to be cleaned and sorted first.

Sorting, i can figure out.  It's the cleaning I don't know.  I've read tons of stuff online, but I have no plans to hand wash 20,000 or more individual pieces (these are all in storage tubs, not boxes or bags). 

So, any suggestions on how to quickly clean a bulk amount of Lego like this?  Has anyone had success with putting Lego in a tied up pillow case?  These aren't overly dirty...some dust here, some fuzz and other cleanable stuff there. 



  • akunthitaakunthita Member Posts: 1,038
    I would take them outside it a big wash-tub and hose them down. The washing-machine also works. I like mesh-bags better than pillow-cases because the water can circulate through better. Throw in a towel or two with the load to keep balance in the washing-machine and to eliminate the pieces knocking around too much.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,677
    For that size of a lot, you have more like 100000 pieces but I prefer the bath tub.
  • graphitegraphite Member Posts: 3,275
    I do mine in big rubbermaid type storage bins sitting in the tub.  I use fairly hot water and dish soap.  Fill it up let them soak and stir it around some.  I use a strainer (kitchen type) to scoop out and rinse with cold water and then lay out on some towels on the floor with a floor fan blowing over it.  If you care about possible stickered pieces I would try to pick them out ahead of time and just wipe them off separately.
  • jpczjpcz Member Posts: 95
    Thats some great advice, thank you all very much.  Im going to try the storage bins idea with strainer in the bathtub/outside washtub.  thanks again!
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 283
    I use a mesh laundry bag. I hand-fill it because invariably you will have stickered pieces, electrical pieces, non-lego, or other things that shouldn't get wet. Then I soak the bags in the sink in warm dishsoap water, and swish them around. It gets the dust and loose dirt off but doesn't help with really dirty pieces. I rinse the bags by soaking them in clean warm water, then spread the parts out on a towel to dry. It can take quite some time to dry the pieces unless you use a fan. The process is fairly time-consuming. Frankly it puts me off buying used lots.
  • lordzaraklordzarak Member Posts: 329
    I can only echo what others have already said. Cleaning can be time consuming, but no where as time consuming as the sorting process.  I look at it as part of the treasure hunt as the cleaning phase is my first chance to survey the goods and look for the "good stuff!"
  • graphitegraphite Member Posts: 3,275
    ^^ The cleaning process is the easiest part of buying bulk used lots.  I don't buy them anymore because I clean them and put them in a tote and then never get around to doing anything with them.  I use this cleaning method when I buy used complete sets as well.
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Member Posts: 2,442
    Washing machine user here.

    Use pillow case or fine mesh bag (make sure it won't tear easily).
    Warm water, spin low, drop and spread them on a large towel to air dry.

    When there are stickers on them, it's really tricky. The water won't move affect them much unless they're already shredded or loose.
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 Member Posts: 1,827
    I use a mesh laundry bag, and use the top tray in my dishwasher. Any plated parts(gold chrome), printed parts, sticker parts I wash with an old toothbrush and hand soap. You may have to play around with the drying setting as there may be  water left on the parts. So far the only damage I've had is some gold coins that snuck in the dishwasher and are now dull.
  • jpczjpcz Member Posts: 95
    Thank you everyone!  How about sails?  Dish soap and warm water in the sink with cold rinse?
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