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I've heard from a lot of people that LEGO can be washed in the dishwasher, but I'm concerned about warping, losing stickers, wearing off of painted pieces, etc. Is it safe to actually wash them in the dishwasher? Is there any other precaution you should take?

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See also Lego cleaning techniques and tools. – Dori Oct 26 '11 at 4:36

8 Answers 8

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I have had good experiences when putting them into a washing bag. Stickers will usually come off. Paint differs from model, year and make. Some of my bricks from the 80'ies (such as this one) still look very new, with the original print intact.

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People seem to belive it's not the recommended way to clean LEGO, but I appreciate having some first hand real world experience and will use this method for really old and stained pieces. – Reven Oct 25 '11 at 22:45
I've used this method and had great results, that being said I don't use hot water, or dishwashing soap, just water. – dacopenhagen Jun 12 at 21:44

I wouldn't recommend it, as I once received a large number of old (not sure how old) and dirty Lego pieces. My parents then preceded to put them in the dishwasher. Some of the parts, such as the standard bricks survived, but pieces such as plates became bent and warped.

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I have washed thousands of Lego and Duplo bricks in the washing machine as per the suggestion of Lego Store staff that have kid's events. The Lego stores use washing machines. None of by bricks have warped. I use warm water wash on gentle cycle, and I soak them by lifting up the lid. I add about a half cup of chlorine to a load to disinfect the bricks as I have many different kids playing with the bricks.

I purchase washing machine nylon net bags at the dollar store, and put the bricks in the bags. Equipment bags also work well. Do not wash small items that can poke through the netting holes, and especially leaves that get stuck in the small holes of the nylon net bags and rip them apart - those I wash and disinfect in the sink. There are all sorts of strainers available for you to use to fish out the parts from a sink.

I throw Duplo bricks without bags or nets directly into the washing machine, as they are huge, and I shovel them out using a huge draining spoon also purchased at the dollar store. I have over a thousand Duplo bricks and so far not one has been damaged. Stickers are another story. Some are affected, some are not.

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Don't use the dishwasher. My husband misread washing machine and we put them in the dishwasher nearly half of them warped!

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I would not recommend using a dishwasher. I have seen terribly worn bricks with a very ugly, dull surface as a result of multiple dishwasher procedures. Sometimes you can notice that a dishwasher etches even a glass surface.

The damage could probably be caused by a combination of the water properties, detergent being used, and temperature.

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At some point, LEGO recommended the use of a washing machine instead of a dishwasher, since you could limit the temperature to 40°. However, you'll need to make sure all parts are safely enclosed in a cloth (pillow case for example), and don't expect your bricks not to be scratched at all.

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LEGO does not recommend using a dishwasher to clean your bricks:

We recommend that you clean or wash your LEGO parts only by hand at max. 40°C or 104 degrees (F) Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures may affect the quality of the LEGO parts. You can add a mild detergent to the water, followed by rinsing with clear water. Please don't put your bricks in the washing machine or dishwasher or attempt to dry them in ovens, microwaves or with hair dryers. Any electrical parts, such as cables, motors, battery compartments, can only be wiped off with alcohol. Air-dry parts at room temperature. For disinfecting please use mild bleach.

(emphasis mine)

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I can vouch for this first hand - even hand hot water can warp bricks! – Umber Ferrule Oct 25 '11 at 20:51

The real answer here is no, but please have a look at my answer to this other question for an alternative that really works, bringing them up as new, with only a little elbow grease - a bath of Milton solution.

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