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How to clean old second hand bricks?

PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 295
I have bought my first second hand set, #6980 which was my favourite Space set back in my 80's childhood. Am a bit unsure of the condition of the bricks and would like to give them a thorough clean before assembling and displaying the model. Any tips on the best way to clean old Lego? Or should I just chuck them in warm soapy water and hope for the best? Any particular care needed for printed pieces?

I did try searching the forum but only see topics about restoring bricks from sun damage, which I will probably do for discoloured bricks!

Thanks.

Comments

  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 723
    I soak them in water with a little Dawn dish detergent, then use an old toothbrush and more Dawn on any obviously dirty bricks. If they're bricks I got secondhand, then I scrub a handful at a time- just sort of holding a dozen smaller pieces in the palm of my hand and using the toothbrush to give them each a rather casual going-over. Rinse several times, place on a towel to dry, usually with a fan blowing on them to speed drying. I just tried the hydrogen peroxide and sunlight yesterday on some white bricks that were pretty yellowed- it worked quite well. They're not all like-new, but all were improved. It helped a couple of old transparent bricks too.   
    PJ76ukmadejp86kiki180703gmonkey76
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,423
    A search for "dishwasher" in the forum will yield lots of results. Here's a link to one of the threads I found useful.

    https://forum.brickset.com/discussion/69/cleaning-lego/p1


    gmonkey76PJ76uk
  • HugeYellowBrickHugeYellowBrick At my PCMember Posts: 478
    edited September 2018
    I soak them in warm water plus detergent overnight, then dry on newspaper. Ones that are still dirty get the toothbrush treatment. I don't have a dishwasher.
    PJ76uk
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,189
    Do not use a dishwasher or clothes washer. At least do not pile up brick and do such a thing or you risk scratching the snot out of the brick and panels. I stand by the old toothbrush and soap method.
    madejp86kiki180703PJ76uk
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,371
    I like a soft nail brush, it's bigger. Dawn is the best soap to use. A salad spinner works well for drying. For really dirty bricks try a Magic Eraser, just not on printed pieces. 
    madejp86kiki180703PJ76uk
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 1,377
    ^+1 to the salad spinner for helping the drying process. I worked through about 50lbs of nasty old dirty bricks a few months back and it was a life saver. 

    Much like others have said, I tend to sort and pull out any stickered parts, then soak the bricks in warm soapy water. I agitate the water every so often in case any parts were laying on top of each other. 

    I'll caution the toothbrush method to make sure you get a very soft bristled brush. Even slighly rigid bristles will scratch your bricks. 
    Mr_Crosskiki180703PJ76uk
  • PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 295
    ^+1 to the salad spinner for helping the drying process. I worked through about 50lbs of nasty old dirty bricks a few months back and it was a life saver. 

    Much like others have said, I tend to sort and pull out any stickered parts, then soak the bricks in warm soapy water. I agitate the water every so often in case any parts were laying on top of each other. 

    I'll caution the toothbrush method to make sure you get a very soft bristled brush. Even slighly rigid bristles will scratch your bricks. 
    What do you do with printed/stickered parts?

    Cheers all for the comments, much appreciated.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,320
    Washing printed parts is fine.  If stickers, check if they are dirty then just wash by hand if need be. Be careful not to rub the sticker and don't soak the part.
    PJ76ukmadejp86madforLEGO
  • PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 295
    Thanks @CCC
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 1,377
    ^ and ^^ What CCC said. The printed parts are fine. I tend to still sort them out so it's not as much of a hassle trying to find them in the mass of bricks later on. But if you're just doing one set, it wouldn't be an issue. 

    I tend to use just a dry paper towel or slightly damp Q-tip to clean the more delicate stickered parts. 
    PJ76ukmadejp86
  • PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 295
    Cheers @Switchfoot55 its just the one set atm as usually buy sealed bag/boxes, this one will be displayed but all printed/stickered bricks from my non-display sets are all stored separate!
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,172
    edited September 2018
    As long as you’re not soaking, I’ve found that stickers seem to stay stuck just fine through washing. The modern ones aren’t made of paper and the adhesive doesn’t seem to be water soluble. However, if you wash a big pile together, the parts scraping together might damage them.

    I have washed a lot of parts in a BlockWash bag in the washing machine with my towels. I never noticed a lot of excess scratching doing this, but they were all older parts and probably scratched somewhat to begin with. I took long skinny parts, large plates, and transparent parts like windows, windshields, and canopies out and washed them by hand to avoid breakage and scratching. I found some interesting self-assembled combinations after removing parts from the washer :)
    SprinkleOttermak0137
  • PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 295
    Which proves even the robots cannot deny the allure of the brick! If only John Conner knew that, the films might have been different!*

    *other robot movies are available...
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