If you have kids, you probably have some type of LEGO bricks (or their generic equivalent) in your home right now. You’ve also probably stepped on (at least) one with your bare feet, and, in the process, taught your child some of their first curse words.
When you think about it, these small, plastic building bricks are kind of gross. They’ve likely been in mouths, under bare feet, and on the bathroom floor, and have definitely been in your kid’s grubby little hands. If you haven’t washed yours in a while (or ever), here’s how to get them clean them.
How to clean LEGO bricks, according to LEGO
For some reason, within minutes of coming out of the package, LEGO pieces seem to develop this film that’s part sticky, and part grimy. If you’ve purchased these plastic building bricks at a garage sale, yard sale, or thrift shop, they almost always come pre-filmed. Either way, you’re going to want to wash them.
The official cleaning instructions from LEGO are pretty straightforward:
We recommend that you clean your LEGO® parts by hand using water no hotter than 104°F / 40°C and a soft cloth or sponge. Higher temperatures may affect the quality of the parts. You can add a mild detergent to the water—please rinse them well with clear water afterwards and you’re done!
They also come with this warning:
Please don’t put your LEGO® pieces in the washing machine or dishwasher, and don’t try to dry them in the oven, the microwave or with a hair dryer. When the bricks get really hot they may change shape, which means they won’t work anymore!
They make it sound so easy.
More detailed tips for cleaning LEGO bricks
We understand why LEGO wouldn’t want to provide potentially overwhelming, highly detailed instructions for washing their bricks, but having a bit more information can be really helpful. This is something that Joshua Lyon provides in a recent article for Wirecutter.
To start with, Lyon specifies that you should clean each brick individually—which means separating any that are clicked together. While LEGO sells their own brick separator, which Lyon says makes the job much easier, you can certainly pull them apart by hand. (Although the brick separator is $2.49, so if your kids are big LEGO fans, it might be a worthwhile investment.)
From here, Lyon breaks the washing process down into steps, based on the supplies you need:
- Large plastic bin: Fill this with detergent, water, and a whole bunch of Lego bricks.
- Mild dish detergent: Never use anything that contains bleach to clean Lego because it will damage the bricks.
- Soft cloth or sponge: Lego advises using one of these to scrub each brick.
- Small plastic bin or mesh bag: Soapy Lego bricks can be washed off in batches using a small bin, or use a mesh bag to wash off all your bricks in bulk.
- Towels: Use as many as you need to spread out your Lego bricks as they air-dry.
- Fan: Don’t subject your Lego pieces to the extreme heat of a hairdryer. A fan is the best way to expedite the drying process.
And he doesn’t stop there: Lyon also provides instructions on cleaning a large batch of LEGO pieces, restoring discolored bricks, and dusting displayed sets.