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

Buying Used Lego Help

I recently bought for the first time a used lot from my neighbor who is a real estate picker with hoarding tendencies (and probably not the best hygiene).  The lot I bought was most likely left outdoors (unsure if covered) as I found chunks of leaves and other debri in the bin.  However, taking a small glimpse I quickly noticed some intact pieces of some star wars ships and made an offer on the spot (FOR DIRT CHEAP...litterally).  After bringing it home and leaving it in my garage I was able to confirm by the minifigures I picked out on what I had scored.  However, looking through most of the Lego and intact pieces it was pretty dirty and grimy, and some were just plain disgusting.  Also as I was cleaning the minifigures I did find a live and dead bug (praying its not a flea).  But I'm telling myself...Lego is Lego

So here are my questions for those who do buy used Lego and can help answer anything:

1.  Can you spray down lego with organic insecticide (peppermint smell) and re wash them later?
2.  What is the best way to clean this and if it's worth the time to do it?
3.  The minifigures I found (only 1 or 2 had a crack torso) had extremely stiff joints but seemed to be in very good condition.  Is the stiffness caused by environmental elements (heat, cold, etc)?
4.  Would you sell this dirty lot to someone else as is after thoroughly picking out the minifigures?
5.   Would you attempt to rebuild these star wars ships knowing how much they can resell in the aftermarket?  Looking at just certain key pieces (cockpits, Lego colors, etc) it seems like most is there.
6.   Do you skip buying these type of lots because of how poorly the used Lego were stored?  Have you ever bought anything in this condition?

The box on the right are the intact pieces I picked out...the box under (30x21x11) is still full with Lego, non Lego, outdoor debri and possibly living or dead bugs.   

Here's a sample list of what is possibly in this lot...
Star wars:  7263, 7251, 7252, 7255, 7257, 7261, 10144, 6210, 7658 + others

Thanks.  I appreciate any feedback (besides not writing a entirely long story).

Comments

  • arathemisarathemis RomaniaMember Posts: 458
    1.IDk

    2 & 4. Well, it depends really on the person. I can handle dirt. Leave the lego in soapy water for 2-3 - 5 days and it will clean (stir them every 12 hrs or so). But if they also smell.... Then its a big no no for me. Yes i did get such a lot. Picked out maybe 0.5 kg of pieces and minifigs before i got so grossed out, that i could not bare to touch them again. So sold them further for 5$ per kilo, mentioning that i sell pieces not broken down sets.
    3. Possibly (maybe dust or rain water too) 
    5. The important / expensive ones yes. Small/medium ships not really. 
    legomyeggos
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,428
    edited January 28
    1.Remember these are kids toys, spraying them down with anything other than dish soap and water is not really advisable.
    @arathemis covers. Do not put them into a washing machine, lest you want many of the pieces scratched severely.I tyically pick through the pile and remove any non lego and try to remove any loose debris/flotsam from the pieces and then move those pieces into a wash bin and load it up with dish soap, warm water and time is your friend. Heck most muck will float to the top and if you are good enough you can dump the grime off and leave the pieces to keep soaking.. for a good loooong while. Also do not try to mask any smells with dryer sheets or perfumes, even Smokey LEGO tends to lose some of its smell if you leave it in the open air long enough.
    3. Heat, cold, play wear.. If they are Chinese made (like from Keychains or from old Magnet sets where the figures can be removed) I know that plastic is thinner than regular LEGO.
    4. I guess if you have a conscience you would not. Never mind lack of interest as someone else is likely not going to pay a lot for that lot like it is, or worse yet, it does have something like Fleas, cockroaches, etc that you send someone.
    5. Depends on the sets and figures with them. If no figures, they do not tend to go for much.
    6. I have on wittingly bought such lots and really have not been happy when I found out the condition, but with so patience, and constitution, I have gotten through them to clean them up in a dish bin with dish soap and a toothbrush and gotten a few sets I wanted out of it and sold the rest for what I paid or more for the cleaned and sorted parts (as people do like to buy that).

    legomyeggos
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,208
    For 5, it is not really any different to clean collections. You just have to add a clean and dry step near the end. I usually do something like this, stopping when one fails:

    Find the minifigs, are they all in decent condition and complete.

    Identify the set, and check its price. Is it worth my time sorting it out assuming it is all there?

    Check the inventory for expensive parts, can I find them?

    Start sorting by part type.


    If I stop at any stage, I sell off minifigs and expensive parts individually. They might actually be more valuable than the whole set anyway if sold individually.  And you don't have to sort cheap parts and can sell them off as bulk.

    legomyeggos
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 658
    For dirty lots I put it all into a plastic crate, add washing up liquid and spray it with a hot shower until everything's underwater, and soak it for a few hours. The shower probably helps loosen things, and I'll shake the crate a couple of times too to help loosen stuff.

    When tipping the water away, I have a bath hair stopper to prevent smaller parts going down the plughole, and a large fine sieve is useful both for getting the last of the water without parts out of the crate and for rinsing off the soapy water. Then I scatter them on a large towel and leave to dry. May do more than one pass if the lot is particularly dirty.

    After they've dried, a microfibre cloth and light pressure with used toothbrushes does well.

    I pluck out the stickered parts first but any I've missed seem to survive with no change anyway.

    Also for 3 - the arms can get dirt in the socket but water doesn't always get rid of it so you may need to remove the arm to get them cleaned.

    madforLEGO
  • The_RancorThe_Rancor Dorset, UKMember Posts: 2,271
    I don’t know whether it’ll be different for you, but specifically drying the parts has always been important after washing for me. I live in an area with particularly hard drinking water and I made the mistake a few times of letting wet Lego dry on its own over a long period, which left significant whiteish stains on the flat surfaces (even though they were clean). I always dry using paper towel or a hair dryer now.
    legomyeggos
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,004
    Sounds like too much hard work!
    Bumblepants
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,428
    @Bobflip makes an excellent point that I forgot about, you have to dig through the bins to get any printed and stickered parts out and hand wash them (or gently wipe them down with wet wipes).. While you may get away with rinsing them initially, you definitely could see stickers fall off or fall to pieces, or see their prints run off or rub off (depending on how old the stickers are)
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 658
    @Bobflip makes an excellent point that I forgot about, you have to dig through the bins to get any printed and stickered parts out and hand wash them (or gently wipe them down with wet wipes).. While you may get away with rinsing them initially, you definitely could see stickers fall off or fall to pieces, or see their prints run off or rub off (depending on how old the stickers are)
    That's the thing, it's surprisingly not been an issue for me when I've missed them! Perhaps the vintage ones would suffer, but I don't spend as much time looking for them now, as it doesn't seem as big a problem as we'd think.
  • arathemisarathemis RomaniaMember Posts: 458
    I only wash lego after i sort out the lego from non-lego and other stuff (i once found cereals, biscuits, coins, bateries, raisins in a lot) having wet cereals insidr lego is pretty bad.... So the sorting needs to happen on the dry. Soaking is for lego only. 
    madforLEGO
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,428
    Huw said:
    Sounds like too much hard work!

    It is a lot of work, but also why its typically cheaper to buy a typical LEGO lot than one that is sorted by color and clean already (and has instructions books and the figures and what not). You have to like it a bit and not think of it as a chore or else you may as well not do it.
    AstrobricksBobflip
  • truck730truck730 Member Posts: 345
    I find dumped lego , -a soapy water soak ,maybe two, then toothbrush finish and dry, I'm crying through the whole process for how much gets dumped and what I could've got
    Marshallmario
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,092
    Bobflip said:
    @Bobflip makes an excellent point that I forgot about, you have to dig through the bins to get any printed and stickered parts out and hand wash them (or gently wipe them down with wet wipes).. While you may get away with rinsing them initially, you definitely could see stickers fall off or fall to pieces, or see their prints run off or rub off (depending on how old the stickers are)
    That's the thing, it's surprisingly not been an issue for me when I've missed them! Perhaps the vintage ones would suffer, but I don't spend as much time looking for them now, as it doesn't seem as big a problem as we'd think.
    This has been my experience too. I usually remove stickered pieces before washing, but when I’ve missed one, the sticker was fine. Or at least washing it didn’t make it worse.
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,092
    I don’t know whether it’ll be different for you, but specifically drying the parts has always been important after washing for me. I live in an area with particularly hard drinking water and I made the mistake a few times of letting wet Lego dry on its own over a long period, which left significant whiteish stains on the flat surfaces (even though they were clean). I always dry using paper towel or a hair dryer now.
    A hair dryer won’t save you from hard water marks, unless you are physically blowing the droplets off, rather than evaporating them.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,208
    I don't bother removing stickered parts unless it is obvious there is a decent set or one I really want with stickers in there. It requires checking every part, if doing that you might as well sort by part type at the same time and then keep them apart when washing. Plus stickered parts are often less valuable that unstickered and it doesn't really matter if you shift it all as bulk. And if it was a kid set, chances are they weren't applied straight.

    Also if it is left outdoors or cat piss dirty, I'm not sure I'd want to keep the stickers anyway.
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 658
    I don't think I've come across any stickered parts are cheaper than non-stickered! Sometimes I find it's cheaper to buy a replacement sticker sheet and unstickered parts, if there's two or more missing.
    madforLEGO
  • legomyeggoslegomyeggos Member Posts: 47
    I appreciate the feedback everyone!  Still in the sorting process as I'm only sorting for 20 to 30 minutes a day!  I got a lot more to go!
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,092
    I just remembered (it’s been a while) that I usually just remove stickers on used parts assuming I have no intention of building a set and they don’t seem likely to be “valuable”, like certain SW parts for example.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at LEGO.com or Amazon?

Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy Brickset.com

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.

Brickset.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the Amazon.com.ca, 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.