Lego Washing Hints

Ingo Althöfer;
July 16, 2013; English translation on September 13, 2013

First of all a clarification: "LEGO" is a trade mark of the LEGO Group in Billund, Denmark. This website is neither sponsored nor authorised nor supported by the LEGO Group.

Lego bricks in a washing machine tend to build complexes. In the last few months I performed more than 60 washing runs with Lego bricks. By and by, I understood how well certain variants of the procedure work. For the experiments I prefer to use old Lego bricks. Their clutch power is somewhat reduced, leading to larger complexes in the average.

Good news first: the three washing machines from the experiments (one from Miele, one from Siemens, one from Bosch - so all three "made in Germany") do not show any signs of damage! The Miele with almost 60 runs has carried most of the burden so far.

One bad new: water with 60 degree Celsius temperature is already too hot for some Lego bricks. After such an experience with deformed bricks I made further experiments only at levels "cold", 30 degree, or 40 degree. It seems that in this range the temperature does not make much of a difference for the complexes. So, now most runs are with cold water, to save energy.
I have never put Lego bricks into a drier! These machines often have 80 degree Celsius inside. Speed spinning in the washing machine never turned out to be a problem. In contrast, complexes typically were more stable after the run.

In the very first runs I had put the bricks loosely into the washing drum, without any buffers. That made a loss of noise, but it did not lead to better complex-building. It is better to put the bricks into some closed cushion or even better into knotted socks. In such narrow space more complexes form. By the way, it is no problem to include normal wash pieces in the washing; also washing powder is no problem for the bricks.

A few pictures give an impression how the preparation for a Lego washing run can be done. Typically, I put several filled socks simultaneously in the machine. For instance, ten socks are not an exceptionally large amount.

An empty sock: I prefer men's socks of size 44-46 (German measure). The red Lego tower in the background is built from 4x2-bricks which were in the washing machine for about 20 times without cushion or socks. You see that they really have aged. They look almost like bricks in a real world building.

I recommend to include several flat Lego plates of sizes 8x6 or 8x4 in the ensemble. Very often smaller bricks "like" to settle on such wide planes. For each sock, ten plates seem like an appropriate amount for me.

Concerning smaller bricks I also prefer flat plates now. They like to settle on both sides of larger plates. Some mobile round elements and flat roof bricks add a certain stylish element to the complexes. I have stopped to include 1x1-bricks. If sometimes the knot of a sock gets loose, they would be the first to find their ways to strange places within the washing machine.

Here you see a well-filled and knotted sock. The knot even does not have to be very tight. During the washing process it typically (I do not know why) tightens itself.

Here the result of one sock from another run.

And here the same complexes, seen from the back sides.

At the end one more hint of warning: Of course I do not take any responsibility for damages that happen during Lego washing sessions by other people. Each person has to know by herself (or himself) what (s)he can do to her washing machine. In case of doubts you should try to stay on the safer side.

Should something go wrong in interesting ways in your Lego washing runs, feel free to send text and photos by email to .
Of course, "ballaballa" has to be substituted by the correct symbol.

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