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Cleaning Lego



  • pricey73pricey73 UKMember Posts: 352
    I like to think that the small amount (not even an eggcup full) of bleach, along with the washing up liquid gets rid of smells and brings the bricks back to "like new" in appearance!
    Outdoors is probably the best drying method, it's up to the individual how long they leave it.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    My tip is not so much about cleaning as drying! I've dropped 4 (four) trays of LEGO during this week, grr; rinsed and dried them on teatowels afterwards. Very slow to dry, and there are teeny watermarks on them which I'm sure will show up in macro photography.

    So today I bought a salad spinner! Great fun, and really gets the water out of those crevices. Still not perfect, but vastly improved.
  • dneuldneul Member Posts: 369
    Yes, a salad spinner works magic! I bought one at a resale shop.
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    Awesome idea about the salad spinner - I've been having the same problems with the teatowel drying method, and still finding pockets of water caught in brick cavities after days of drying.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,151
    edited September 2012
    I usually knock my plates and brick against a surface which usually dislodges most water, but I keep forgetting to buy a salad spinner, which is probably the better way to remove the water
  • NgclarkIVNgclarkIV Member Posts: 19
    I have a good collection of LEGO that I love to display but over time, they gather dust. Are there any techniques that collectors use to keep their Legos clean and looking like new?
  • NgclarkIVNgclarkIV Member Posts: 19
    Thanks Joseph!
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    A major component of dust in homes is flakes of dried, dead skin. I suggest killing anyone in your house so that they don't keep leaving that stuff all over.
  • carlqcarlq Ruislip Manor, MiddlesexMember Posts: 792
    ^ - like so many handy hints, this one is both useful and...disturbing....!
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    prof1515 said:

    A major component of dust in homes is flakes of dried, dead skin.

    Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Eat my dust!' :-)

  • BrickjunkyBrickjunky Member Posts: 5
    OK, I have been reading the comments on cleaning lego and I need some advice. Picked up a few lots on craigslist, 50 Lbs +. They don't smell like smoke but have a musky smell, like basement. I used some dawn in hot water(not too hot) Let them soak, a good while. Dried them with the fan. Smelled fine. But after a day smelled again, some of the musky smell is still there. DO you think it will just take multiple times, or do I need to go the vinegar/water solution?
  • PicopiratePicopirate Member Posts: 318
    Has anyone tried using Star San to sanitize bricks? I have used it on beer bottles (what it is intended for), and other items with no adverse side effects (discoloration, etching, drying out, etc.). However, I have not yet tried it on LEGO. It is a sanitizer not a cleanser, but if bricks look clean, it should be able to kill any bacteria or mold that may be present.
  • LeonCLeonC United KingdomMember Posts: 364
    Quick question. I've just received a used set I bought off ebay and on opening the bag it was in it smells almost like its damp. I've washed it in soap & water and the bricks seem better now, but the tyres (they're part #4283701) still really smell. Any ideas for getting the smell out of rubber?
  • pricey73pricey73 UKMember Posts: 352
    edited March 2013
    . Any ideas for getting the smell out of rubber?

    @LeonC oo-er, wrong forum maybe!

    Have you tried same method as per bricks with a little bleach, then leave to soak for an hour then rinse thoroughly.

  • LeonCLeonC United KingdomMember Posts: 364
    Thanks @pricey73. I read elsewhere about using bleach, but was worried it would damage the tyres. Then again, I've probably got nothing to lose as if I can't get rid of the smell I'll probably bin them anyway.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,769
    The other way to get rid of a bad smell on rubber is to mask it with something nicer. Put a little bit of lavender oil or similar in a bowl of water and dump the tyres in and give it a good swirl and leave it for a while, then agitate again.
  • kimiko2339kimiko2339 Member Posts: 2
    I always use 2-3 layers of dense network laundry bag to clean my bricks. Keep the bag full without any space inside. Put the bag and few towels in the washing machine. Wash it with "SOFT/Gender/baby clothes" mode.
    When it's done, you can get you whole new bricks.
    Bricks can be very clean, but it's just for basic bricks.....
  • LeonCLeonC United KingdomMember Posts: 364
    CCC said:

    The other way to get rid of a bad smell on rubber is to mask it with something nicer. Put a little bit of lavender oil or similar in a bowl of water and dump the tyres in and give it a good swirl and leave it for a while, then agitate again.

    Thanks @CCC, although Lavender? Not sure I want my Lego smelling like my Nan's house :-)
  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,092
    Looking for some more suggestions on cleaning display LEGO sets without having to take them all apart and wash separately. I've read about the common ones, Toothbrush, Compressed air, disassembling it and washing it with soap and water. I was hoping people could share their "not so common" techniques. I've heard of keyboard vacuums that I really want to try since its small, portable, and the ones I've seen have brush attachments. However the only ones I find on amazon have horrible reviews, and I'm not sure it's worth it.

    Here's what I have been using recently. Some stuff called Cyber Clean, it's meant for keyboards and electronics but I find it great for cleaning assembled LEGO sets as it's like silly putty and you can squeeze it all around the studs. Works pretty quick, don't need to rub it or anything just press and pull.

    There are some CONS to it I've found though, and that's why I'm looking for other peoples techniques. Mainly the stuff is a little expensive. about 5 bucks for a 3.5 oz bag, or $8 for a 7oz bag. It doesn't seem that bad, until you realize you can only clean a couple of these really dirty sets that I posted pictures of before the stuff should be replaced. The packaging it comes with has a window with an indicator showing when you should replace it. More importantly I'm beginning to think it leaves a slightly stick residue, but I'm not convinced it comes from the cyber clean, it could just be cause the set was really dirty. None the less I thought I'd share it with you guys and see what others have to say.
  • johnwartjrjohnwartjr Member Posts: 0
    Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I was pretty heavily into legos. Times change, kids grow up, and have families of their own, I guess.

    My legos have been sitting in the corner of my parents basement for more than 15 years. I've rediscovered legos through my kids.

    I have numerous sets - mostly city themed, but some that I custom built myself. I'm sure the blocks have dust, dirt and who knows what else on them, as my parents have pets, there have been leaks and everything else.

    What's the best/safest way to sanitize them? I imagine I'll need to take all the sets apart and clean them seperately. That's not a big deal, if I can't find the manual, I'll take pictures as I take them apart, and use the pictures to reassemble them.

  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,080
    Sorry to be this guy - and welcome to Brickset, you'll find everyone really friendly and all that - but 'Lego' is never pluralised. It's always 'Lego bricks' or 'Lego pieces', never 'Legos'. Sorry, I just had to clear that up.

    As to your query, personally I'd break it all down, secure the pieces in a washbag or something similar, wrap it all in a few towels and put it in the washing machine. Others who have more knowledge may advise differently though, and I will caution that I've never actually tried that.
  • JosephJoseph Member Posts: 651
    You'll probably find answers to your questions in these threads:
    Cleaning Lego
    Washing Lego
    And since some of the bricks have likely yellowed over the years, you might want to take a look at Un-yellowing Old Bricks
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Northern VirginiaAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 5,208
    @johnwartjr - I've merged your question here. There is lots of good info above so hope it helps!
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    I need to wash all the Lego I just sorted from a 30 year old collection. Some of it is dirty some looks new, but I have no idea how to wash it or what to use.

    Do you just put it all in a pillow case and put it through the wash cycle in the washing machine?
    Do you put it through the dish washer?
    Would you just dump it into the sink with dish washing liquid?

  • theskirridtheskirrid Member Posts: 12
    Mine goes through the dishwasher, with a dishwasher tablet [cheap Asda] on a log cool cycle. It gets thrown in a net bag designed for washing lacy girls things in a washing machine. Any bricks that discolour are thrown. Not many do, it's usually old sun damaged bricks where the iodides are starting to leach out.
    I always do transparent and printed bricks by hand, or not at all.
    Microfibre cloth to polish, job done.
  • dannyrwwdannyrww WisconsinMember Posts: 1,395
    I saw on facebook that Lego discovery center throws them in a washing machine (for clothes)
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    I thought one or the other.
    Thank you. I will wash by hand the printed Lego, I have lots of those, and do the others in a machine with some towels in a pillow case to even the wash.
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    Ok washed all the printed Lego by hand, and put the others in two pillow cases. It would have been fine but one of then tore so I had to pick up Lego from the bottom of my machine. Lucky there is no way for it to get inside the machine.

    It worked out well, it is all clean now. Just in a basket under the verandah to dry. I'll go out every hour or so and turn it all over so it all dries.

    Thank you
  • gt182237gt182237 Member Posts: 31
    Dunk them in water?
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    Yes with a little bit of dishwashing soap in it. Then you can use a toothbrush to thoroughly remove all the dust in the nooks & crannies. Air dry on towels with a fan, while periodically flipping & shaking the parts to remove excess water in the cracks.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
    I would just add that if you use a toothbrush, make sure the bristles aren't too stiff. I have seen pieces get a bit scratched up from too stiff bristles.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Especially black bricks, sheesh. I'll never buy a black car.
  • TheBigGuyTheBigGuy New ZealandMember Posts: 69
    I've been wondering about this myself. Thanks for the tips.
  • IckelpeteIckelpete Member Posts: 15
    I just put them in a washing bag and stick them with the normal washing I never put printed parts in.
  • cycoduckcycoduck Member Posts: 22
    I get a very nice paint brush, soft bristle, and brush of the dust in quick motions. The soft bristles don't scratch, but it works wonders on cleaning the parts/sets. Get different sizes for different applications.
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    I did this for a load of Lego. I placed them in two pillow cases and put them in the washing machine with my normal clothes.

    The printed ones I did by hand. I put them under the verandah out the back to dry on a towel. It was a warm 34' that day so they dried quickly.

    Worked a treat.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    Try looking up jaystepher on youtube. I know I saw a lego cleaning video that looks promising.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,151
    I have not tried it yet, but a salad spinner should be able to get most water off of cleaned parts.
    Been meaning to try the washer bags. Also I use a Dish washer for LEGO baseplates. I have used the soap for this too but I think it can bleach out parts a bit so I just use regular water, no soap.
  • Greedfly13Greedfly13 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2014
    I just cleaned some used LEGO by putting them in a laundry bag for delicates like this and running them the washing machine on the most delicate cycle.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    I just use an empty airbrush with compressor to blow the dust off outside, or if it's raining, inside but with the hoover ready to hoover up after.

    I bought it years ago for painting Airfix which I never ended up doing (they're still sat there), but it's helped me with everything from cleaning Lego bricks, to blowing something out from under a cabinet I couldn't reach, to reinflating my car tyre lol.
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    Put in a dishwasher in a string bag. No detergent.
  • JosephJoseph Member Posts: 651
    Soft brissle toothbrush or putting them in a mesh bag in the washer seems to be the general consensus here and here.
  • pricey73pricey73 UKMember Posts: 352
    Surely the action of the washing machine would scratch the bricks?

    Fill a washing bowl with hot water then add some oxy action type product.
    I then put my Lego into a mesh laundry bag, then leave to soak for an hour or two turning the bag a couple of times.
    Rinse, then leave to drain on the drainer.

    Comes out looking like new, even the older bricks.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^Washing machine method does add scratching, tried it on 3 occasions with mesh laundry bags. So now I prefer to just do it in the bathroom sink in small batches. But I don't find that leaving them soaking adds any better cleaning effect, so a quick dunk with brushing and immediate air dry for 24 hours does the trick for me without adding wait time.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    For large plates or other parts that have a lot of studs on one surface, I use a soft, thick towel (e.g. bath towel) and run the part back and forth across it, studs-down.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited March 2014
    I heartily recommend everyone read this whole thread back, with their mind on personal hygiene of the 'privates' sort, and not lego. It's quite hilarious in places.

    Staring with the simple:
    gt182237 said:

    Dunk them in water?

    To the sublime:

    Yes with a little bit of dishwashing soap in it. Then you can use a toothbrush to thoroughly remove all the dust in the nooks & crannies. Air dry on towels with a fan, while periodically flipping & shaking the parts to remove excess water in the cracks.

  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited March 2014
    Edit: Perhaps NOT the whole thread back now, as it just got attached to a pre-existing thread, so is 3 pages longer than it was. (It started with 'gt182237's when i posted the 'are we using lego as a euphemism for something else' bit).
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Northern VirginiaAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 5,208
    Edit: @legomatt has been sacked
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited March 2014
    ^ I bet my severance package is being kicked around a warehouse as we speak.

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