My kids made a beeline for the big LEGO pile and dove in. I was two steps behind, ready to bury my son up to his chin in LEGO. Like Scrooge McDuck in a vault of gold coins, my kids tossed the brightly colored bricks in the air, and their smiles widened.
My wife couldn’t bear to watch. Her mind raced with thoughts of where that LEGO had been over the course of its cross-continent tour with LEGO KidsFest, a traveling show that brings truckloads of every type of brick imaginable to cities around the country.
Later in the show, when she had a chance to pull one of the Master Builders off to the side, she didn’t ask anything about building, or inspiration, or creativity. No, her questions were all about cleaning the bricks.
“Do you clean them?” she asked. “Yes,” came the polite response. “How exactly do you clean LEGO?” she pushed, and the wondrous answers were revealed.
Here’s the big secret, gang. Here are three ways to clean LEGO after your team has a playdate, or, you know, you dump a truckload in a convention hall for kids to jump in.
Note: For all of these cleaning methods, using a mesh bag (like you might use for lingerie) is a good way to keep all the LEGO bricks collected.
Get a big bucket of water, drop in a splash of chlorine, and dunk your bricks. You can slosh in the bag of bricks, or just let them float about individually. After stirring for a few minutes and letting them sit for a few more, dump the bricks out (careful not to lose any down the drain) and air-dry them on a towel.
Throw them in the washing machine
You don’t want to let them loose in the washing machine, so if you choose this method, use the lingerie/mesh bag. Drop the bag in, put the machine on delicate, and let it do its thing. Again, dump them out on some towels and let them dry overnight, or however long it takes. Make sure you’re rotating them during the drying process to dump out all the water that might sit in the holes.
Use the dishwasher
Put the bag of bricks on the top rack and let the dishwasher go through its cycle. Again, make sure you rotate the bag and bricks when you pull it out to drain them properly and dry them out.
That’s all it takes. A little bit of chlorine or your choice of washing appliance, and you can get your LEGO fresh and new and ready for the next big party.