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Next level dirt: how do I clean it?

MiriturMiritur ItalyMember Posts: 2
edited October 21 in Everything else LEGO
Hello everyone

So I received from a friend a nice big bulk of bricks, approximately 14kgs.
Of course I'm very happy because there is a lot of rare stuff in it (including a still working 6990 set) but.... There is a but.
This friend of mine did not care much about LEGO® and these bricks were literally left to rot out in the open in his garden, inside plastic boxes. When I write 'rot' I literally mean it: rain filled the boxes, and over the years some terrain got inside along with algae, larvae...
Well it became the same type of water you would find in swamps, I have no other way to describe it.
Result: the bricks have not only yellowed, they are encrusted in a weird, difficult to remove, brown layer that I can not identify in any way. I tried with limescale removing products but it's no use. 
The only way to remove some of it is to manually brush each brick. I attach pics so everyone can see what I am talking about. 
Has anyone ever had this same type of dirt? What could it be? Do you know of any product/tool that could help me cleaning faster?
Thanks all!


Comments

  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 6,543
    This is just depressing to look at. Maybe try running it through wash using a mesh laundry bag? some is probably totally ruined and not worth saving.
    daewooFizyxAstrobricksMr_Crossandhe
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 463
    If they all look like that I would try to clean the rare parts and chuck the rest.
    BumblepantsFizyxAstrobricksJudgeChuckPaperballparkmadforLEGOandherd1899
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 954
    If you have to clean them, I have a feeling its going to come down to hot water, soap, a toothbrush, and a lot of time.  And some hydrogen peroxide treatment for the yellowed bricks.  Agree with daewoo and Bumblepants that it's likely not worth your time and effort to clean it, unless you're doing it as part of some zen meditation practice or something...
    drdavewatfordAstrobricksSwitchfoot55madforLEGOandhe
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,445
    This definitely wins the “Dirtiest Lego” ever posted award 😳
    Cyberdragonandhe
  • JudgeChuckJudgeChuck UKMember Posts: 1,270
    That is a shame. I have to admit that I agree with @daewoo and only save the rare / desired parts and throw the rest.

    @Astrobricks I'm sure I've seen a recently-ish posted Lego city that comes close. ;-)
    AstrobricksCyberdragonandhe
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,445
    That is a shame. I have to admit that I agree with @daewoo and only save the rare / desired parts and throw the rest.

    @Astrobricks I'm sure I've seen a recently-ish posted Lego city that comes close. ;-)
    I figured my comment might serve as an interesting, if disgusting, challenge ;-)
    andhe
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 954
    That is a shame. I have to admit that I agree with @daewoo and only save the rare / desired parts and throw the rest.

    @Astrobricks I'm sure I've seen a recently-ish posted Lego city that comes close. ;-)
    I figured my comment might serve as an interesting, if disgusting, challenge ;-)

    Sounds like we're about to need to petition Hew to add a 'Made me vomit' button to go along with the like button...
    560Heliport
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,445
    Fizyx said:
    That is a shame. I have to admit that I agree with @daewoo and only save the rare / desired parts and throw the rest.

    @Astrobricks I'm sure I've seen a recently-ish posted Lego city that comes close. ;-)
    I figured my comment might serve as an interesting, if disgusting, challenge ;-)

    Sounds like we're about to need to petition Hew to add a 'Made me vomit' button to go along with the like button...
    I’m guessing that would go the same way as the “Dislike” button did!
    Also, it’s Huw :)
    andheHuw
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 The Northwest, USAMember Posts: 2,022
    Well, I'm likely a rare opinion that says spend the time cleaning them. But, it will come down to the time investment and whether or not it's worth it for you. It will definitely take time with each individual brick to get it clean. And even then, there are some that are probably so dirty you won't get them clean, no matter what. 

    Unless you already have one, it's likely cost prohibitive for what you have, but something along the lines of an Ultrasonic Cleaner could lend some assistance. It's something I've considered investing in with the amount of bulk bricks I tend to purchase during any given year. 

    If you decide to clean them, I'd set 10 parts aside of varying filth and them time how long it takes you to clean them. You could then gauge how many total parts you have and do some rough calculations on exactly how long you're looking at investing. Again, sometimes it's worth it. 

    Best of luck.   (I'd recommend wearing some gloves) 
    560HeliportFizyxJudgeChuckKungFuKennyandhe
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 954
    I’m guessing that would go the same way as the “Dislike” button did!
    Also, it’s Huw :)
    Agghhh! I knew that, but I was typing while I was in on a call, and someone started talking to me (how dare they address me during a meeting that I'm on!) and threw me off... and now the edit window is closed.  Oh the Huw-miliation ;_;

    560HeliportAstrobricksKungFuKennyCyberdragonSeijiAmasawa
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 1,971
    I would soak them in water with some sort of disinfectant- bleach, Pine-Sol, something like that. Give it at least a day, maybe a week: if it helps, great; if not, you haven't spent much time at it.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,848
    Honestly? I'd personally just throw it out. My free time is too valuable these days to spend so much time cleaning bricks.
    JudgeChuckandhe
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,841
    Like others have said. If anything is just dirty, soak it in dishwashing soap in a small tub, stir the parts gently and and change out the water from time to time to get some of the really nasty stuff off. Any discolored parts, cut your losses and head over to bricklink.
    TkattAstrobricksJudgeChuckandherd1899
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 501
    Given that it was under dirty water, this is likely some sort microbial growth. Try mold/fungus remover first, then run it though the dishwasher without heated drying.
  • MiriturMiritur ItalyMember Posts: 2
    I am astonished. Not particularly because I have a kind of a "world first" type of dirt, but especially because people on brickset are actually suggesting to throw lego away😅
    That was unexpected! 
    Anyway, thanks for the inputs guys, I will make a few experiments (even if parts break it will not be a huge loss I guess) and will let the world know if it is possible to remove this filth. 
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 463
    I've got a friend whose son used to be really into Lego but now has moved on.  I cringe when I visit his place because the Lego is EVERYWHERE.  It's scattered all through the front and back yards; it's all over the house, including in the bathrooms; and it's all over the garage.  It's as if it was all in one big ball that was exploded.  The Lego in the yards is all sorts of nasty (similar to the pictures in this thread) and much of it has met a lawnmower blade at least once. It's just sad as I would love to be able to look through it all, with the hope of finding some rare elements, but it's just not worth it to me.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,583
    I'd try Orpine boat soap
    https://www.amazon.com/OP2-Orpine-Boat-Soap/dp/B00144GPB4

    I found out about it in the early 1970s and it has not ever failed me in cleaning stuff that others had declared uncleanable. Just a little goes a long way, just a teaspoon in a 5-gallon bucket of water was always enough for washing my car.



    pxchrisSwitchfoot55FizyxAstrobricksBumblepants
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 6,543
    I'd try Orpine boat soap
    https://www.amazon.com/OP2-Orpine-Boat-Soap/dp/B00144GPB4

    I found out about it in the early 1970s and it has not ever failed me in cleaning stuff that others had declared uncleanable. Just a little goes a long way, just a teaspoon in a 5-gallon bucket of water was always enough for washing my car.



    There is also GRRR! industrial cleaner. Does amazing work (15 ft high suds!) in a rival university's fountain. Not that I would know anything about that though.
    560HeliportdaewooKungFuKennyAstrobricksandheCyberdragon
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 463
    Yeah, be careful generating suds in a fountain as they harm the pumps.
    Cyberdragon
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,445
    edited October 23
    Reminds me of the classic sabotage of a hotel jacuzzi ;-)

    Also, the height of the suds is how cleaners should be evaluated.
    Switchfoot55FizyxBumblepantsKungFuKennyCyberdragon
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 954
    Miritur said:
    I am astonished. Not particularly because I have a kind of a "world first" type of dirt, but especially because people on brickset are actually suggesting to throw lego away😅
    That was unexpected! 
    Anyway, thanks for the inputs guys, I will make a few experiments (even if parts break it will not be a huge loss I guess) and will let the world know if it is possible to remove this filth. 

    Little late, but I actually agree that I find it a little odd that I even recommended tossing some bricks given how I treated LEGO even 4-5 years ago. But what I really realized (at more than just an intellectual level) and have started putting into practice more over the last several years that my time is literally worth money.  That's why I sell my time to a place to do a job for them.  And so if I'm doing something, it should be worth it, whether that be in monetary value, entertainment value, artistic value, etc.  And that kind of thought definitely colored my advice here. 

    I think that if you are going to find value in cleaning the bricks and making them useful again, even if the value is just that of being able to stop in a chaotic world and focus on something as simple as cleaning some LEGO bricks, then totally go for it.  But as soon as it starts being a chore/not worth what you're getting out of it, don't hold onto it just because you started, dump it and do something you're actually going to get value out of from with your time.  Because quite frankly the monetary value of the bricks that you're going to salvage is generally NOT going to make up the economic value of the time that you put into cleaning them. :)

    As an aside, I always wanted to put jello in a mall fountain cause that seemed like it would be fun, but I also never did because the pump scenario gave me nightmares.

    KungFuKenny560HeliportpxchrisAstrobricksstlux
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,445
    ^ At some point you have to turn the fountain off or it will never set up properly :)
    FizyxKungFuKenny
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 501
    Don't put thick liquids through a fountain pump, it might get...jammed.
    560HeliportmadforLEGOAstrobricksBumblepantsKungFuKennyvanvonfullCymbelineFizyx
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,445
    Better to put pureéd fruit through it, then it will be... preserved.
    560HeliportBumblepantsKungFuKennyvanvonfullCymbelineFizyx
  • vanvonfullvanvonfull washingtonMember Posts: 129
    That sounds improbubble. 
    560Heliport
  • jmeninnojmeninno The Batcave (MA)Member Posts: 807
    ...but not impossibleh.
    560Heliport
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