LEGO bricks are perfectly designed to construct anything builders can imagine. But those interlocking nooks and crannies that make them great building blocks are also breeding grounds for bacteria. And if the pieces are handled every day, they can get filthy fast. To make LEGO play sessions more sanitary for you and your kids, here's what you need to do.

As Wirecutter reports, there's an official LEGO brick cleaning guide for customers on LEGO.com. The company recommends washing the bricks by hand using warm water (no hotter than 104°F) and a cloth or sponge. Using mild detergent will sanitize the plastic without damaging it. After soaping up the individuals blocks, rinse them well with clear water and set them out to dry before returning them to your toy bin.

The most important thing to remember when cleaning LEGO pieces is to protect them from intense heat. Because LEGO products are made of plastic, hot water from your dishwasher or tap could warp their parts and render them unusable. This is also why you should never dry wet bricks with a hair dryer or microwave. Instead, spread them out on a towel and let them dry gradually. To speed up the process, try laying them in front of an electric fan.

Any toys that are played with by young children should be washed frequently—about once a week for hard plastic toys, especially if they're touched on a daily basis. And if you have a LEGO piece has been in a kid's mouth recently—or beneath someone's foot—it should be cleaned right away.

[h/t Wirecutter]