You can wash your Legos in your dishwasher, but it is recommended that you don’t. The simple reason for this is that the heat from the dishwasher causes the pieces to change shape. And this is the last thing you want.
Lego does need to be cleaned though, and this article looks at the recommended safe and effective methods for washing (and drying) your Lego collection.
What Happens if You Put Legos in the Dishwasher?
Unfortunately, the water in your dishwasher, in order to be effective, has to be really hot. This is the problem – the heat warps and discolors the plastic.
Water of any temperature will also destroy the stickers on your pieces and will fade any general printing your pieces have. Many lego components contain electrical parts. Don’t let water anywhere near these.
What Is the Best Way to Clean and Sanitize Legos?
The best way to wash your Lego set is in warm water with a mild dish or laundry detergent. Depending on how many pieces you have, place them in a bowl, a bucket, or a large plastic bin.
Some collectors use their hands to swish the lego around in the soapy water. Others use a soft brush or a soft cloth. Rinse the pieces under clear water before drying them.
If your set is really soiled, place a small amount of vinegar into the water. The vinegar will sanitize the pieces and remove any odors.
Some experts recommend bleach but advise a very small amount; it has been known to fade the blocks.
Always remember to put any lego pieces with stickers or electric parts to one side. These can be wiped over with a dry cloth instead.
Other Legos to put aside are the multi-unit pieces. These contain parts that are not meant to be separated. Clean these with a dry cloth or toothbrush.
What’s the Fastest Way to Clean a Set of Legos?
The fastest way to clean a large collection of single Legos is to place them in mesh bags and dump the bags into warm soapy water and swish them around for as long as you need.
If any of the individual pieces are very soiled or have anything stuck to them (mud or plasticine, for example) keep these aside. Even a vigorous swish within a mesh bag probably won’t clean these properly.
A toothbrush or a small paintbrush are ideal for those Legos that need extra work.
When your collection is clean, keep them in the bag and rinse the whole lot thoroughly with cold water.
What Is the Best Way to Dry Legos?
You can dry your Legos by spreading them out on a dry towel and leaving them to dry naturally. Some people use a fan to speed up the process.
Some things to remember when drying your collection:
- Don’t use a hairdryer. The hot air can damage the blocks.
- Likewise, don’t dry your Legos in the oven or in the microwave.
- Legos are best dried off inside away from wind and dust.
- When you spread your Legos out, make sure they are all right side up, so no pools of water can collect in the cavities.
- Be sure to completely separate the pieces from each other.
What Does Lego Customer Service Recommend?
Lego’s customer service advice is to avoid using dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, microwaves, or hairdryers to wash your Legos.
They recommend instead that you clean your Lego parts by hand at max. 104°F / 40°C’, and this is because higher temperatures can affect the quality of the parts.
It is ok to add a mild detergent, but they advise to rinse well with clear water afterwards and to air dry your blocks at room temperature.
Legos With Stickers or Printed Colors
Legos with stickers and printed colors may not survive the washing process intact. The water will damage the stickers and can fade the printed colors.
Stickers and printed patterns are most vulnerable to heat and light and even to the bristles on soft brushes. These pieces are best restored with a slightly damp or dry cloth.
Why and When to Wash Your Legos
There are a few reasons that you might want to clean your Legos. For example:
- You have just bought yourself a wonderful second hand Lego set, and it just needs some refreshing.
- Someone has accidently spilt something over your display model.
- Your pet has committed an accidental offence way too close to your collection.
- You have noticed your Legos have lost their shine.
- You are planning to sell some Legos (or an entire collection).
Can You Fix Warped or Faded Legos?
Unfortunately, the plastic used to manufacture Legos does deteriorate over time, and there is not much you can do to restore them.
Legos are generally very robust, but they can be damaged by certain environmental elements. The result is blocks that are faded, fractured, cracked and/or warped.
The worst culprits for Lego damage are heat and strong light. This is why it is recommended that we follow specific cleaning procedures. It is also best to store your collection away from strong light. The company have discovered that certain color pigments used in dying the bricks are more vulnerable to fading than others.
Always remember that if your new Legos arrive damaged, or the damage is due to a production fault, the company wants to hear about it.
They will replace anything that arrives to you in substandard condition.
If you are planning to wash your Legos in the dishwasher, keep in mind that they may not survive the washing cycle as well as you hope.
It is well worth investigating how to care for the intricate pieces in your Lego collection in a way that will both protect and preserve them.
It is also useful to keep up to date with Lego’s news and advice regarding product care and the way to replace faulty pieces in your collection.