How to wash Lego (in 6 easy steps)
This week my son had gastro. What does that have to do with washing Lego you ask? Well we were up to day three and he hadn't vomited for a good 18 hours or so. He still felt shocking but I thought we were in the clear with the really awful part. So he went to bed and straight to sleep. Then at 3am I hear a terrible groan from his room followed by him calling out "where is my bucket". I'm guessing you can see where this is all heading....
Yes, I had forgotten to put the bucket in his room that night and so the vomit went EVERYWHERE. On the bed. On the floor - and yes, you guessed it, in the Lego bucket all over the tiny, little Lego bricks.
It was a blessing in disguise really. I had been meaning to re-sort his Lego for a few months, so the next day I took the opportunity to do a big clean and sort and as I started it occurred to me that this may make a helpful post for others.
Before you start, be warned, if your kids have as much Lego as mine this can be a very time consuming task. So make sure you've got a day up your sleeve to slowly get these steps done. And do it on a sunny, warm day as part of the process involves lying the pieces out to dry in the sunshine.
And don't forget to get the kids involved. Mine loved playing in the water and washing all the little pieces. And I even got them involved in re-sorting back into colours at the end. Saved me heaps of time and they actually thought they were having a good time :)
Step 1: WASH
Fill your kitchen or laundry sink with some warm, soapy water and tip in your first load of Lego. Make the water as warm as you can (not too hot if you've got the kids helping). Then leave it in there to soak for 10-15 minutes. After that time, give the pieces a good mix around to get all the dirt off.
Step 2: RINSE
Fill your second sink (if you have one) with more warm water - no soap this time. And as the Lego is cleaned, put it in this second sink. If you don't have two sinks just skip this step and rinse with clean water in the next step instead.
Have a towel set up next to your sink to lay the Lego out on later.
Step 3: STRAIN
The easiest way I've found to get the Lego out of the water is to use a strainer as a huge scoop and put it in the sink to drain the water away. I tend to leave each one for a few minutes, to let as much water drain away as possible.
Once you've done that, tip the Lego out on to the towel you've prepared earlier and repeat these first 3 steps until you're towel is full.
Step 4: DRY
Scoop up your towel at each corner and carry it outside. Make sure you put it somewhere where you won't lose all the little pieces (i.e. grass is not a good idea, nor is a a deck as bits fall down the cracks).
Unfold your towel, spread out the Lego and leave it to dry in the sun for a few hours. Move the pieces around every half hour or so to give the bits that are underneath a chance to dry as well.
Step 5: SORT
Once the Lego is dry it's time to sort it. Get some large boxes or baskets, thinking about where you will store it after this. Our Lego is kept in drawers in a tallboy in my son's room so we find large baskets (ours are from IKEA) work really well. Get some boxes with lids if you're going to store on shelves.
I sort as follows:
whites (including clear windows)
blacks (but not wheels)
blues and purples (including blue windows)
oranges, reds and yellows (together)
browns and beige
accessories (e.g. suitcases, animals, food items, etc. - all the other small pieces that aren't bricks
I also have a drawer in his Lego storage drawers where he keeps all the instruction manuals for every set he has. That way he can make them again in the future - or they can be handed down to younger kids.
Step 6: Finished!
Yes, that's it. You should now have everything organised and ready for the kids and their creativity!
I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have any other tips for how to wash, sort or organise your kids' Lego!
Have a great day,