With the New Year often comes the urge to spring clean everything, whether it’s part of a resolution or just to get back into routine after the holidays. It’s a time to put away the decorations and manage to squeeze the new LEGO sets in somewhere. While dusting shelves and cleaning tables is the more obvious task, what about cleaning your bricks? How can you make those LEGO sets already on display look shiny and brand new again?
1. A paintbrush is your friend
Probably the simplest way to clean any LEGO model is using a regular paintbrush. An artist size one is better than the types found in DIY stores, plus it can be the cheapest available. It’s for dusting in between studs, not creating a Michelangelo. Soft, synthetic bristles will easily brush any dust off, and a range of handle lengths can be useful for reaching into differently sized models. Just watch that the ferrule (the metal bit that connects the bristles to the handle) doesn’t come near the bricks because otherwise it might scratch.
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2. Spray it away
Aerosol cans simply containing air are a well known hack for cleaning away dirt from tricky surfaces and are available easily online and in most hardware stores. They’re excellent for blasting the dust out from between grille tiles or complex parts of a model where a paintbrush or cloth can’t reach. One thing to watch out for though – don’t use it on very fragile parts of a set because the pressurised air may knock pieces off.
3. Lens cloths aren’t just for glasses
While it may seem an unusual choice, lens cloths are actually really handy for cleaning any flat LEGO surface. Tile pieces can be coated in dust very noticeably, but wiping a lens cloth over them should do the trick, whilst buffing the pieces back to their original shine too. As the cloths are so malleable, they can also be used for giving minifigures a once over without any fear of damaging their printing.
4. Bathing your bricks
This is when the worst-case scenario occurs and there’s dirt ingrained on your LEGO that can’t be budged any other way. This can particularly happen when LEGO sets are being played with and drink or food stains can appear. Some warm water with ammonia-free washing up liquid (Ecover is a brilliant choice in the UK) is your friend at that point. Don’t submerge bricks with stickers though – if there are stickers present then use a damp cloth or hand-wipes.
5. Reanimating your bricks
Maybe for Christmas you got a vintage LEGO set? Or during your spring clean there was a long-forgotten brick surprise in the attic? These bricks can be yellowed from age and exposure to the elements, so they’ll probably need some more serious work. Thankfully our restoration guide in Issue 86 of Blocks magazine provides everything you need to know and is available as a back issue or in the digital back catalogue for Blocks subscribers.
That’s our best tips for giving your LEGO models a spring clean. But do you have any brick cleaning hacks? If so, let Blocks know on our social media channels!