Surprising Ways to Clean Up Broken Glass

by Nancy Dezarn

5/20/2016 6:10:28 PM

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We've all done it...broken something that is just ridiculous to clean up. Often, that includes broken glass. Particularly if you have little ones or fur babies in your house, cleaning up broken glass is stressful. And you can virtually guarantee that you'll find any leftover pieces with your bare feet later. (The good news is, if you broke your glass, you can get replacement glass here).

First, you should pick up any large pieces that you can pick up safely without cutting yourself. If you have rubber gloves, you might want to put those on. Interestingly enough, Good Housekeeping magazine says you should never use a vacuum because the glass could ruin it. However, I've used a shop vac, which is sturdier, many times for broken glass items.

Forgetting any straggler pieces, there are a few things we learned from scouring the internet:

Use a Potato

The Kitchen recommends using a spud to get any small pieces. "Grab a raw spud or really any other larger root vegetable, cut it in half, then press the cut halves into the glass," they say. This is a new one to us, but the soft flesh of the potato would be good at grabbing little slivers.

Similarly, a damp bar of soap will help clean up the extra bits also. This works best on a hard surface (because you don't need a soap mess on your carpet on top of the glass mess.)

Grab Some Sticky Tape

The good folks at Apartment Therapy suggest using a roll of sticky tape to get all remaining specks of glass. "I like to wrap the tape completely around my palm -- sticky side out -- to get the most control (and hand protection)," says this blogger.

Use a Slice of Bread

Good Housekeeping (the folks that revealed that the thing I've been doing for years -- using a vacuum to clean up broken glass -- is ill-advised) also have another "hack for glass." They suggest that a slice of good old-fashioned sliced bread is the best vehicle for collecting small pieces of glass.

Damp Paper Towels Help, Too

This is something I've been doing for years in this situation. I grab a couple of paper towels, get them damp under the faucet, and wipe down the entire area. This works on carpet and hard surfaces. Just be sure not to apply too much pressure as your wiping the area, in case there are any larger pieces that you can't see.

The Trick With The Flashlight

My family swears by the flashlight trick. If you can turn out the light or at least get the lighting in the room really low, grab a flashlight and shine it on the floor. The glass will reflect the light and draw attention to itself. This is good for getting glass up off of hard surfaces like hardwood, where there could be glass in the crevices. And, it's especially good for finding glass bits on the beige carpet where broken glass doesn't show up well.

Safety Tips for Cleaning Up Broken Glass:

    1. If you did use the vacuum, make sure you wipe the hose down with a wet paper towel and make sure to empty the bag so that someone else doesn't run into glass later on.

    1. If you use a broom, some sources recommend throwing the broom out and just getting a new one, because little glass pieces get in the bristles and can get stuck and come out later.

    1. Use gardening gloves, rubber gloves, or work gloves to pick up large shards of glass.

    1. If you throw broken glass in your trash can, make sure you have it wrapped up in a brown paper and thoroughly contained so it doesn't spill.

    1. Depending on the force of the break, glass can travel much farther than you think. Make sure to clean a larger area.

Whew! Ok, now that you're done cleaning up all that broken glass, you'll need a replacement. If it was a tabletop, cabinet glass, a glass shelf, a mirror, or anything made of flat glass, you need to head on over to Dulles Glass & Mirror and order your glass replacement online. Not sure about buying glass online? We have all the reasons it's a good idea here.

Photo Credits:
Bread: Rainer Zenz [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Potato: By Fk (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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