Forresto

Cleaning Grime Off of Bricks

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So its an odd to write it, but I live in a swamp or rather in the barometric region of swampland. 

Unfortunately as a side effect of that, dust mixing with the humidity in the air can lead to more grimy looking dust.

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Now i'm at a loss of what to do in regards of cleaning.

My plan was to take a Q-Tip and some water and scrub it off. Will this cause water damage to the parts? 

I've never had to dust Lego before let alone scrub them.

 

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That looks quite extreme! You get that over here only when you left the pieces outside in the garden!:wink: No worries though. A bath in warm water with some dishwasher fluid in it should help getting rid of all this. Maybe use a soft brush (like a toothbrush) on the less cooperative dirt. The cleaning wont have any negative effect on the bricks. And the stickers likely will stay on as well, afaik. Ideally you have to disassembly the sets though for better cleaning and drying results.

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I use an ultrasonic cleaner for caked on dirt. If you have dirt that's a mix of dust and grease, you may need to alternate ultrasonic cleaning; and soaking in detergent until it's clean. 

Please don't do what many people do and use a dishbrush though - that's a great way to scratch up your pieces.

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A couple of years ago I set to work cleaning and restoring many of the old sets from my childhood which had been stored in my parents attic for over 25 years. Most of them were covered in caked on grime very much like the ones in your photos.

I soaked the pieces in warm water with a very small amount of mild detergent. I then painstakingly scrubbed each brick with a soft toddlers toothbrush. After this I simply laid them out flat on a towel and left them to dry out thoroughly over few days.

It took ages but was well worth the effort. Most of the bricks regained their original shine and look as good as new.

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Oh dear, some of those stickers appear to be cracking apart. You'll need to be really careful with your sets if you want the stickers to stay in OK shape when you clean them!

I have had the experience that "old" stickers just seem to start lifting, peeling, and cracking after some years. Not quite sure what causes it, though it almost seems they are happiest stored in a box with a ton of pieces rather than on display in a room. Perhaps some sort of solvent dries out in them that is present in Lego pieces so they stay good in a box with lots of pieces?

So far my best fix for old stickers has been to put glossy clear packing tape over the stickers and cut the extra tape off with a razor blade. Naturally, you'll need to ensure all the dust is gone first or the fix will look bad. :wink:

If the stickers aren't peeling too badly using a soft dusting cloth might take off the dust. But if they're cracked or lifting at all the chances are good that the stickers will partially flake off.

Of course if you're de-stickering the parts now's a good time to do it!

Edited by Bricks On Print

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