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Cleaning Lego

135

Comments

  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    Always pillow case in the washing machine for me with bio.
  • DaddyWhaleDaddyWhale Member Posts: 130
    Just wanted to add my experience.

    Got a used Taj Mahal and (as a free throw in) USC General Grievous last week. The pieces needed cleaning! So I put all 7000 pieces into pillowcases (which I then tied up) and cleaned in the dishwasher in a couple of loads. Dried the pieces gently with a hairdrier. It worked fine for getting residue off. Some of the pieces will need additional cleaning with a microfiber cloth to remove bits of grit.

    Thanks for the advice in this thread!
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    edited March 2012
    I am curious if anyone has had any luck removing pen ink from minifigs. I bought a bulk lot of bricks and there are 30 storm trooper minifigs that a kid decided to add red, green, and black ink too.
  • jtkauffjtkauff Member Posts: 15
    I just cleaned my Western sets, which were dusty from years of display at my parents' hosue, and actually had decent luck with a terry-cloth towel. I had initially washed one set with a detergent/water mix and while that was good for most pieces there was still some dust in-between the studs on the larger plates. As I had the towel out from drying them I tried getting the remaining dust out by putting the plate face-down and using a combination of an up-down motion, followed by a side-to-side motion, followed by a circular motion - this took care of the rest of the dust pretty easily. Sometimes I had to turn the plates 45 degrees and do a quick swipe on each side to get the dust off from the sides of the plate but the middle section was basically completely taken care of with the first 3 motions. On the next few sets I actually bypassed the washing and just used the towel and was able to get the dust off from in-between the studs easily, and just used the towel on each piece as I disassembled the sets. I figure the terry-cloth is going to be softer than a lot of the other brush-based options and obviously readily-available without needing to hit up a store. It also went pretty quick as well - I was able to just incorporate it into my disassembling/inventory-taking process and it went by nicely.
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    Let me add tho this, It actually looks like sharpie was used to color on them.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    I also found this, for the next newbie like myself seeking advice:

    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/497/un-yellowing-old-bricks#Item_41
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 563
    @parkerwilson I don't know about removing Sharpie marks from Lego, but I know that rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) will remove Sharpie from a good number of other surfaces.
  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,092
    Has there been a verdict on whether or not a toothbrush will scratch the bricks? I have used a toothbrush and water to clean stuck on dust before, but only on vintage sets (sets that probably already have a lot of scratches already)

    I bring this up because I finally finished moving the rest of my vintage pirate ships from my parents house to my condo and want to display them, but they've collected a lot of dust. Like I said, I already used a toothbrush and water on some older ships and they look fine, but I have the new Imperial Flagship waiting to be clean and those bricks should be in like new condition (except for the dust of course) so I wouldn't want to scratch them by using a toothbrush.

    Does anyone know for sure what kinds of brushes will or will not scratch the bricks?
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,822
    ^soft tooth brush will work fine. In fact Id doubt a hard tooth brush will scratch unless you really go at it. But gentle circular movements are fine. We use tooth brushes to clean museum items :-)
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    I've been using warm soapy water, and a toothbrush. Rinse in a collander then a couple shakes to dry. Then dump onto a large clean towel to air dry.

    This method is fairly quick and I haven't noticed any scratching from the toothbrush yet.

  • Legofanatic2414Legofanatic2414 Member Posts: 37
    edited May 2012
    I recently bought the Captain America set for my son. When we built it, we found a strange blue stain on Cap's star on his torso. THEN, we saw that his mouth was a bit faded. I realize nothing can be done about the mouth, but the blue smudge on the star doesn't seem like a manufacturer error. It seems as if it appeared there. We don't want to ruin the figure, but is there any way we can get rid of it? My brother recommended alcohol, but, were not entirely sure. Any suggestions? They'll be gladly appreciated.
    jesirose
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,912
    Any pictures? It could actually be a printing error in the factory. I suggest you contact LEGO customer service and request a new torso and head. They'll be glad to send those parts out to you free of charge. Hope this helps!
  • Legofanatic2414Legofanatic2414 Member Posts: 37
    edited May 2012
    Really? Wow, I didn't know that! For years, I never knew LEGO would replace messed up figures. Thanks a lot, but, sorry I'm new to this, how can I contact LEGO about this error? Is there a special page on the site about replacing minifigures, or what?
    Any pictures? It could actually be a printing error in the factory. I suggest you contact LEGO customer service and request a new torso and head. They'll be glad to send those parts out to you free of charge. Hope this helps!
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,912
    I can't stop complimenting LEGO's customer service. Definitely the best out there. Here is the link to the customer service page, just click "Email" and I think you can figure it out from that.
    jesirose
  • Legofanatic2414Legofanatic2414 Member Posts: 37
    Thank you very much!
  • 260madison260madison Member Posts: 50
    i always use a can of compress air to dust off my built sets

    for old bricks, i just use soapy water or water down bleach to clean them, lysol wipes sometimes

    was always afraid that i might lose a brick inside my washer
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 416
    edited May 2012
    I just dusted a imperial flagship that was slightly caked with dust. Used a small paintbrush near a running fan with a filter. Parts look brand new.

    I would have tried washing but the drying process just looks like a pita.
  • PlayftlPlayftl Member Posts: 178
    edited July 2012
    Hello, I was just wondering, what is the most effective way to clean minifigures? Also, what are the chances that some of the paint will come off in the process?
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    @Playftl - Please note that I've merged your question into this existing discussion. Please feel free to read through it to see if anyone has so far had some pointers. If not, I'm sure some of our members will quickly weigh in. :o)
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,545
    I am curious if anyone has had any luck removing pen ink from minifigs. I bought a bulk lot of bricks and there are 30 storm trooper minifigs that a kid decided to add red, green, and black ink too.
    Well if the marker or any 'added coloring' is on the printed part then you may be out of luck as in removing the coloring you may also remove the print.Use WD-40 or Goo Gone for parts without print. Just be sure to thoroughly wash them when done.
    What you can try to do if it is on a printed part (like a minifig torso) then maybe try to use light 'elbow grease' when wiping down with the Goo gone/WD-40 and try to get the marker off without the removal of the torso printing.
  • JeffLordJeffLord Member Posts: 1
    I've had good success with clear nail polish remover applied with cotton balls.

    Others have reported good results with Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser (a soft foam-like sponge).

    Hope this helps.
  • MarkVMarkV Member Posts: 42
    I bought some Lego sets off a smoker (didn't know of their habit until the transaction). Has anyone tried a vacuum chamber to remove the smell from the ABS plastic? I've seen the method mentioned, but I'm not sure if I want to let my pump run for 24 hours to get the stink out of ABS.

    Any other methods? Dryer sheet in the ziplock baggy to replace the smoke stink with the dryer sheet stink?

    I've run air via a fan over boxes for a few days and that seems to do a good job on the cardboard. Instructions don't seem to benefit as well from the fan job. I'm trying them page by page now. Bagging them with a dryer sheet might be an option.

    I also tried an enclosed container with arm&hammer baking soda in the same box. That seemed to do very little for the boxes.

    I've also seen mention of using ozone generators. I believe they're rentable, so Legos + Boxes in an enclosed room for 24 hours may be an option for me (or whatever the method is). Has anyone tried this?

    Thanks,
    Mark
  • Penkid11Penkid11 Member Posts: 783
    I've had good success with clear nail polish remover applied with cotton balls.
    Heh, heh. Ever completely submerged a brick into nail polish? Let's just say, melted bricks look kinda cool, and feel wierd. :P
    This was all in an attempt to remove Sharpie Pen (I needed good looking eyes okay!).
    As mentioned it was somewhat of a failure (mark removed with about a milimeter of ABS coming off with it too). So here's the big question:

    How do I remove Sharpie Pen marks without damaging the brick it's drawn on?
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 517
    I use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. A few quick rubs and it erases all pen/sharpie marks - it's my go to cleaner for Lego.

    I'll post some before/after photos tonight.
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 563
    @Penkid11 - As I've been cleaning and sorting a Criagslist lot, I've found that rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) will remove Sharpie from Lego. I've not yet noticed any damage to the bricks, although depending on how thickly it was applied, and how long ago, the Sharpie may leave some discoloration. I have two dark bluish-grey parrots that were colored dark green and dark red when I found them, they are now dark greenish-bluish-grey and dark reddish-bluish-grey, although I'm planning on soaking them in rubbing alcohol to see if it will further remove the discoloration one of these days.
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 416
    Anyone have a favorite go-to cleaner for dirty bulk Lego?
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 517
    @Penkid11

    In lieu of photos, I posted a video of how quickly the Magic eraser gets out pen/Sharpie marks.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7594134318/
  • Penkid11Penkid11 Member Posts: 783
    The moment I saw the video, I drove down to the nearest convenience store and bought a 4 pack. I tested it, and it works! :O
    Over 100 bricks and I thank you, toki!
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    Wish I'd seen that before I discarded a load of minifigs I couldn't get the marker off of. Such is life I guess, they are probably running around the local landfill at night causing havoc. I hope so!
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 517
    My pleasure! Now, if we could only teach people/kids not to draw all over Lego in the first place. That's the real PSA in this. LOL.
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    When removing sharpie marks from slopes (with the non-smooth surface) or from minifigure-legs, I've had success using a small electric toothbrush, where I first dipped the brush in alcohol, and then brushed away.

    I used an old worn toothbrush, so the hairs were very soft, and after having sprayed alcohol all over my workarea, i did the rest of my work inside a cardboard-box. It worked great on the uneven surface of the slopes!
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    For ink, try hairspray. My wife and I ran a second hand book business when we were in the UK and for any book with a glossy cover that had an ink stain on the cover, give it a spray and leave for a few seconds before wiping off - it literally disolves ink. Works on most plastic, PC cases etc as well so lego shouldn't be a problem. I'd avoid printed bricks/minifigs though. Also the cheaper the better as far as hairspray is concerned.

    The downside is it leaves a sticky residue but with lego it could be rinsed off. Lighter fluid works as well and isn't as effective but doesn't leave the residue. Baby wipes also work but again nowhere near as good as hairspray.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,248
    Penkid11 said:


    Heh, heh. Ever completely submerged a brick into nail polish? Let's just say, melted bricks look kinda cool, and feel wierd. :P

    I tried straight up acetone in an attempt to get some glue (was probably super glue) off a ninjago set I picked up and witnessed this. Ruined a 1x1x5 pillar piece. It pretty much completely melted the square block part at the bottom of the pillar.

  • Penkid11Penkid11 Member Posts: 783
    @littletoki
    I am curious if the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers remove the printed decals of pieces? It isn't for customs, there is just sharpie on several of my minifigure heads with one of them I (believe) being young Boba Fett!!
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,545

    Wish I'd seen that before I discarded a load of minifigs I couldn't get the marker off of. Such is life I guess, they are probably running around the local landfill at night causing havoc. I hope so!

    Im guessing a Magic eraser will also wipe away any decorated torsos. Remember the torso decoration is usually painted/printed on You may be able to save the torso decoration and only remove the marker/paint but you have to be VERY careful.. unless you are looking for 'plain' minifig torsos then have at it.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,545
    edited July 2012
    Duplicate
  • MarkVMarkV Member Posts: 42
    MarkV said:

    I bought some Lego sets off a smoker (didn't know of their habit until the transaction). Has anyone tried a vacuum chamber to remove the smell from the ABS plastic? I've seen the method mentioned, but I'm not sure if I want to let my pump run for 24 hours to get the stink out of ABS.

    BLAH BLAH BLAH
    Thanks,
    Mark

    Well, the simple method worked fine for the ABS legos with the smoke smell. White Vinegar + Water + Soak Overnight. No detectable smell after allowing to dry and sticking back in a plastic baggy to see if the stink would build up in the bag. I suspect I will miss a few pieces that have stickers and need new stickers...

    I'm trying dryer sheets between the pages of the manuals. I'm not sure which smell is more nauseating - dryer sheet, smoke, or dryer sheet smell covering up smoke...

    Removing smoke from boxes seem to work well with a fan blowing across them for a few days. Even the plastic baggies full of smoky Legos with the bag opened up smelled a lot better after 12 hours of a fan blowing into the open bag.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    edited July 2012
    Went to WalMart looking for the Magic Erasers today and they are all scented with Febreeze which I'm highly allergic to. Anyone know if they make unscented ones? Do you use the Original ones? Will check the grocery store when we go next time.
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 517
    @Affol_shellz_bellz ~ that's a "mouthful" to type. I didn't even know they had scented ones. I just use the original ones available at the grocery store. Should probably buy in bulk on Amazon or something given how quickly I go through them...
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    ^ Thanks
  • Penkid11Penkid11 Member Posts: 783
    ^At the store I went to they had, Strength 3x (one for the kitchen, and one for automobiles) and there was scented. These were there along with original. It's packaged in an indigo/blue box. The one I got contained four being the fact that I probably won't use as much as toki would :P

    @littletoki
    How many uses does one small cube of the eraser have for you? The one cube I used effectively cleaned four bricks on a soak with water-use for about two minutes-soak with water again basis. I actually think I could've continued, but I had more brick sorting to get to.
  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 517
    I cut off a tiny bit and can clean about 10+ pieces. The trick is not to get the magic eraser too wet - it falls apart faster. A little water goes a long way.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    ^ That's good to know.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    Regarding the ink remover tips posted above: will any of them safely take ink off the Lego box? A manager just now kindly gave me a clearance deal and (eep!) wrote the price on the box itself.
  • banjobonchbanjobonch Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2012
    I have just purchased a used set from a local garage sale for a great price bet upon getting it home and opening the Ziploc bag, I found it smells heavily of cigarette smoke. Does anyone have any tips on getting this smell off the pieces? I usually purchase new sets so I am sceptical about using cleaners or chemicals as I do not know how the plastic will react.
  • pricey73pricey73 UKMember Posts: 352
    @banjobonch try a mesh laundry bag, kitchen bowl with a little washing up liquid and a small amount of bleach ( yes, bleach!) and hot water (not boiling, it will warp the Lego if you use boiling water). Leave to soak for an hour or two then place onto draining board or washing line to dry out.
    That's how I clean mine anyway and it's worked for me plenty of times.

    Steve
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,248
    I clean mine in a similar way but in a big tupperware container in the bathtub and then I dump it out through a colander to catch the small pieces. I use probably a 1/4 cup of bleach for a batch which is probably 1/2 of the container, so like 4 or 5 lbs of LEGO at a time with like 4 gallons of water.
  • JosephJoseph Member Posts: 651
    edited August 2012
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,545
    edited August 2012
    Yknow if someone could buy a vacuum chamber I think there is a line of people that would want to use it :-)
    Pretty sure the Smoke smell basically binds with the plastic, making it very difficult to remove and cleaning agents only will mask, and not remove, the smell
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    I have had lots of success cleaning smoke-smelling LEGO bricks, just by soaking them in water with washing-up liquid, and air drying them outdoors (not in direct sunlight) for less than half an hour. I would strongly discourage using bleach - at least until you've tried milder solutions.

    The instructions still reeks of smoke though, even though I tried airing them for several weeks ...
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