Keeping Your LEGO Clean: Part I (or LEGO Katamari)

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Like many households inhabited by a collection of children -and a Geek who couldn’t wait for his kids to be old enough to “legitimize” buying sets again- ours has quite a bit of LEGO kicking around.  One of the biggest challenges we have is in keeping the LEGO clean.  And by clean, I don’t necessarily mean that the bricks are getting covered with dirt and crud (washing LEGO will be Part II).  My issue is the dust and especially the pet hair that gets mixed in with everything courtesy of these two (shown innocently camping and undoubtedly accumulating sand to add to their LEGO contaminating trail):

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Actually the cats share some blame too, but these prolific shedders alone output enough hair to build a new dog every week.  And there’s nothing that sucks the cool factor out of a fancy new LEGO creation faster that clumps of dog hair stuck between the bricks.  Unless you were making a LEGO yeti, but once you’ve built one of those, the novelty quickly wears off.  As a mitigation strategy, the bricks are, of course, stored in lidded containers.  And immediately before the LEGO comes out, I thoroughly vacuum the floor.  Still, over time, the LEGO gets kind of yucky.

I’ve experimented with a few strategies lately.  Anti-static dusting cloths do a pretty decent job of it, but they can get torn up on sharp pieces and you pretty much have to do things a brick at a time.  That can make for a very long afternoon.  Vacuuming would be way faster, but my immediate reaction is to avoid vacuuming LEGO- we all know how quickly those little pieces disappear.  I thought about fitting wire mesh over the vacuum nozzle to prevent this, but I’m not sure how well that would work in terms of clogging and I didn’t have any mesh handy to try it- another time.  So next up was the adhesive lint roller.  We appear to have a winner here, although LEGO itself also sticks to the roller quite readily.  Still, it’s easy to pick the LEGO off and I was able to cover territory pretty quickly by just “rollering” over the LEGO piles.

The Lego.com FAQs don’t appear to have any words of wisdom for this particular level of cleaning, but perhaps someone else has a tip they’d care to share?  Outside of “get rid of the dogs”, “shave the dogs”, “get a better vacuum” or variations on those themes…

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