More than another brick in the wall

16th of September 2021
More than another brick in the wall

Lotte Printz in Denmark on a cleaning tour in LEGO House, Home of the Brick. 

The managing director of LEGO House bungee jumping off a bridge in a mountainous landscape. That’s just one of numerous details that guests – or perhaps more likely AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) – may spot inside this house of bricks, play and experience zones in Billund, Denmark, that opened its doors in 2017.

Such ‘details’, along with huge LEGO models, rubber floors in traditional LEGO colours and shiny tile walls creating the illusion of the house being built of LEGO bricks make cleaning LEGO House’s 12,000 square metres an incredibly specialist task.

Sometimes it involves taking the shoes off, climbing around a LEGO landscape equipped with a toothbrush or even makeup brushes to dust the bricks meticulously. Spots or models often touched by human hand are steam cleaned to get rid of grease, using lifts where necessary and a vacuum cleaner on the back.

And when LEGO House’s iconic Tree of Creativity - 6.3 million bricks forming a tree that roots at ground floor and grows upwards to the third floor - is to be cleaned, two people, a cleaner and a technician must spend three to four hours to finish the job. Taking it in turns to bend over the glass banisters that surround the tree with a ‘homemade’ device consisting of a hose and a compressor that both blows and sucks up dust.

Physical work

“It’s a bit of a Gyro Gearloose device. And doing this is physically hard work, which is why they take turns. But it’s what works best of the things we’ve tried. We’ve even tried with a drone that was to blow the dust to the ground, but it couldn’t navigate properly so it ended up crashing,” Henrik Voss Andersen, team manager of Cleaning and Projects, explains when taking ECJ on a guided tour.

The cleaning team at LEGO House consists of three full-time, highly experienced, cleaners and three so-called play agents, young seasonal or flexible employees, that have been trained in cleaning and spend most of their working hours in that team. The team handles the specialised cleaning tasks, while an external cleaning company takes care of the more ‘ordinary’ cleaning, like floors, toilets and surfaces, outside opening hours. To work on the cleaning team, in-house training is essential in addition to general cleaning knowledge – and a passion for the LEGO brand doesn’t go astray.

Passion for the brand

“We have many tasks that you won’t find in other cleaning jobs and it’s important to us that we include everybody in our rather unique place and the work to be done. I wouldn’t say that our permanent cleaning staff are AFOLS like some of the seasonal employees, but everybody does have a great passion for the LEGO brand and the whole history. Unavoidable really, once you’re here,” Henrik Voss Andersen says.

In addition to the daily cleaning routines and the specialised cleaning of the largest models four to six times a year, the house undergoes a deep clean in January, the only time of the year when the whole house is shut for three consecutive weeks. Not letting guests play with the bricks would be unthinkable in a house where play is at the core of the brand, and the name itself so, of course, the pandemic brought considerable changes to the cleaning efforts when guests were allowed to visit again.

On a daily basis, out of opening hours, all the pools with LEGO bricks or LEGO DUPLO bricks were emptied manually and cleaned, and the 25 million bricks within them were placed in boxes and quarantined for 72 hours. The next morning the pools were disinfected and a new set of bricks placed in the pools. Looking out extra carefully for dirt or dust that naturally accumulates in cracks and crevices.

Cleaning stepped up

“Of course, this is a very demanding task and made us consider other ways. Many tried to sell us the idea of spraying disinfectant into the pools. But it only reached the top layer of bricks. Washing the bricks was another option, but drying them was the soft spot. If semi-damp bricks mix with dirt or dust, it will only make matters worse,” Henrik Voss Andersen explains.

Other extra initiatives introduced include flyers explaining how cleaning has been stepped up, numerous hand sanitiser dispensers placed around the house and more visible cleaning staff during opening hours. This has proved very popular with the guests.

When restrictions in Denmark were further eased in early summer, some heavy burdens were taken off the shoulders of the LEGO House staff. Emptying the pools only takes place once a week now. However, Henrik Voss Andersen says that valuable lessons have been learned, and the higher frequency of cleaning is here to stay, along with the hand sanitiser dispensers and the visible cleaning team.

And if not in sight for a moment when a brick building guest needs advice on how to clean models at home, a Play Agent will find a cleaner that’ll happily help the guest with the ‘secret’ recipe.

During the pandemic, people worldwide have not only taken up knitting a whole lot of jumpers and scarves or doing jigsaw puzzles, building LEGO has become a favourite fad, too. So, if either
you or your kids have joined the trend, here’s the LEGO House cleaning tip. Use steam for your assembled, most adored models or throw the individual bricks in the washing machine.


Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited