My #1 Arch Enemy == Dust
July 13, 2013

Well, ok, gravity might be #1, because it causes action figures to fall and break. Then there is heat which during the summer causes figures to warp, changing their center of gravity and then causing them to fall. And we have manufacturing issues like one leg being shorter than the other which adds to the likelihood that a figure will fall over. Finally, there is the domino effect which causes closely positioned figures to fall several at a time.

But today I want to talk about dust. For some reason, my figures, large and small, DC Direct, Mattel DCUC, Kenner/Hasbro Total Justice/JLA and HeroClix, all seem to attract and keep dust. I’ve even had opponents in HeroClix games comment on the dust on some of pieces I have brought. Back the the dust problem. Its actually 2 issues in 1.

Superman fights his arch enemy, Dust.

Superman fights his arch enemy, Dust.

1. How to remove dust. A lot of my pieces are already covered with dust. They have been on the shelves for a while. I generally clear off the shelves in my living room, wash the shelves, and then put up a display. After a while, it sort of comes together in a way I find pleasing and I can leave it there for months. Not just dust, but spiderwebs too. Apparently, the spaces between action figures are great for weaving spider webs.


Super Girls Fight Spider Webs.

Super Girls Fight Spider Webs.

2. How to prevent dust from getting on them in the first place. I know putting them under glass is an option, but adding glass to a display that did not start with it is a pain. Spiders and dust seem to be a way of life in my house.

Super Acquisitions Hoping to Stay Dust Free

Super Acquisitions Hoping to Stay Dust Free

Now that I’ve outlined the problem, and I will try to add some photos to detail the situation more, I want to hear from you. How have you handled this situation in your own collection? I’m open to all kinds of ideas because I am growing tired of the “never ending battle” with dust.

Erik Skov

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • Jason says:

    Canned Air, a Swiffer, and an old toothbrush are my usual tools for dealing with dust. I’ve often wondered if one of those Ionic breeze things would help the dust situation…

  • j1h15233 says:

    You know, it’s funny you posted this because I was thinking about this issue not too long ago. When I lived in College Station during my time at aTm, my figures and the shelves collected a ton of dust. Every 2 months or so I would have to take them down and clean it up because dust balls would be flying around in there. The same thing happened when I moved back to Houston for a couple of years but it would take longer for the dust to accumulate, maybe 6 months and then cleaning would have to happen. About 11 months ago, I moved back to College Station, bought a house and set up my displays in what I’m calling a game room. I spend a decent amount of time in the room, maybe 6-7 hours per week (it fluctuates based on what girly show my wife is watching in the living room), the room is almost never subjected to direct sunlight from the window, and there is not a speck of dust on anything. The furniture, the electronics, the action figures, nothing. I came in here to clean about 3 weeks ago and couldn’t find anything to clean. It’s remarkable and I have no idea why it’s happening. And just in case you’re wondering, no my wife has not been cleaning the room haha.

  • demoncat4 says:

    how i deal with dust is just some canned air some time or after dusting the shelves take a swifter and go over the figure before putting them back. plus i also use another long duster and go all around my room to get rid of the cobwebs.

  • Veil1 says:

    I don’t have as big of a problem with dust, as I do with that dusty film that shows up on my JLU figures. I mainly use the canned air as a solution for common action figure dust. The dreaded JLUFilm is another issue.

  • Nuno Mata says:

    Dust is one of the main reasons that our clients on Action Figure Hospital always battle to take out, and often bring the figures, statues and the like to us for cleaning.
    Our mais solution is dusting with a brush of carbon fur (those used to clean camera lenses). Its a detail job and a hard one but we go to all the details a really clean a figure.
    The canned air is great too, and the tooth brush sometimes work miracles.
    The main problem with dust in figures is your hands…your hands leave swet in the plastic even if you think they are dry…that minimum amout of moisture is like a magnet to small ionized particles. All particles in the air get ionized just by traveling in the air. The friction of that small particle with the air kind of make them able to stick to any surface…even walls and other vertical things. Of course its not much but its enough to glue them there.
    Use gloves, those plastic ones the doctors use are great!
    Use brushes, those for paiting oil are very nice and sturdy too, or carbon brushes.
    To avoid the dust, put the figures under glass or in a room with no acess to wind or air fiction. if you put them in a place where you ara always passing by you are carring lots os ionized dust that glues intantly to all surfaces around you…figures included!

    I hope i could help some of you guys…im from Portugal and i have the first Action Figure Hospital in the world…go there and see what me and my team are doing for collector all over the World…


  • Ron says:

    Try Barrister Bookcases. They are bookshelves styled like display cases, with glass doors that slide down and forward enclosing each shelf level. That way the figures are displayed behind glass and can easily be removed and re-positioned by raising the door up. The glass enclosed shelves keep the majority of dust out.

  • Shellhead says:

    My toy room is an upstairs room with a closed door and both windows covered by tall bookcases. I don’t go on there much, so air circulation is limited.
    So dust isn’t that much of a problem.
    Now, car hair’s a whoopee other issue . . .

  • Big B- says:

    I too loathe dust. Most of my collection are in oak and glass display cases. The door to my toy room is shut tight when my wife cleans the house to prevent dust from blowing into the room. Other than that, I have to hunker down periodically and … Dust. :(- My least favorite thing to do in the world. A series of soft paint brushes work great for dusting off action figures. A device I’ve come to love is that battery operated green fuzzy spinning brush infomercial thing. Great for statues. For really delicate stuff, the brush on it works great w/o the power. Spinning, It’s great for doing the tops of books on a shelf too. For shelves and glass you just need to windex. 🙁 Swiffer duster cloths work good on shelves too. B-

  • A glass enclosed cabinet is a very good option but it does still leave some dust particles on the figures. I’m such a lazy person when it comes to cleaning them. Maybe of the 3 years that I had them on display, I’ve only cleaned then once. But getting a glass cabinet is still your best option. Imagine, dealing with how to clean 100+ figures on a constant basis.

  • Mako says:

    If your place (or at least the room where your display is) isn’t carpeted, look into laying some. Carpeting acts like a magnet taking the dust right out of the air. My place was all hardwood, and five minutes after dusting, everything would be dusty again.

    Another thing is dusting frequently. Even with glass cases and what-not, dust can still settle and build up on your figures. Worse, left unchecked, the dust will actually bond to the plastic in action figures. Then your looking at a full wash and thorough scrub to get it off, IF that even works.

  • TheBippi says:

    Why not get acrylic cases and stick the figures on the base with earthquake putty? Case here: Putty here:

  • Alex says:

    I use a medium size paint brush. I find dusting my figures maybe time consuming but it often relaxes me. I get to relive the joy of when I first bought the figure and got it out of the packaging. It helps me unwind especially after a long day at work.

  • tooth granat says:

    I’ve been wanting to try an air purifier but I keep spending all my $$ on toys.

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