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Is It Safe to Vacuum Broken Glass?

A single broken glass can scatter into hundreds of shards and create a dangerous mess in your home. You may be tempted to pull out the vacuum and clean it up right away, but not every type of vacuum cleaner will survive this venture. Below we explain what kind of vacuum you can and cannot use to clean glass shards, and how to clean up glass safely and responsibly.

1. Prepare the premises and gear up

Broken Glass putting on gloves
Start by clearing the area of kids and pets to prevent any accidents. Then put on a pair of closed shoes, sturdy gloves, and eye protection. Last but not least, turn on the brightest lights you can to see all the shards of glass. If the area is poorly lit, use a flashlight to illuminate the broken glass pieces and make them easier to spot.

2. Clean up the big pieces

Broken Glass sweeping floor
Begin by cleaning up the larger pieces of glass with a broom and dustpan. A stiff-bristled broom works best for this task. Use short sweeping motions to prevent any small pieces from flying away in all directions. Collect the broken glass in a dustpan.

3. Use a handheld vacuum for easy cleaning

Broken Glass handheld vacuum
Let’s start with a word of warning - a vacuum with a flexible hose should never be used to clean up broken glass. The glass shards can cut tiny holes in the hose and make it less effective at cleaning dust and dirt in the future. That being said, a portable vacuum without a flexible hose can certainly work for this type of task.

4. Use a thick bag to dispose of the broken glass

Broken Glass cleaning up
When you’re done, avoid throwing the broken glass into the regular trash. Instead, collect the pieces in a thick paper bag or sturdy plastic trash bag. Wear gloves while you’re transferring the broken glass. If your handheld vacuum has a disposable collection liner, it’s still safer to place it in a trash bag before throwing it in the trashcan.

5. Get every tiny shard

Broken Glass bread

Even after sweeping and vacuuming the floor, you may notice tiny shards of glass shining here and there. There are several safe ways to pick up all of those without a trace, here are the best ones:

  • Fold a paper towel into three layers. Dampen the paper towel and press firmly over the broken glass. The tiny glass pieces should stick to the paper towel right away. Fold the paper towel in half and place it with the rest of the broken glass. Repeat with a fresh sheet if necessary.
  • Press a slice of soft bread onto the broken shards. Dispose of it right away.
  • Slice a potato in half and place it over the glass shards cut side down. Then throw away the potato immediately.
  • Pick up the glass with a lint roller designated for removing lint and hair from clothing.
  • Wrap a piece of duct tape around your finger with the sticky side on the outside. Press the duct tape over the glass shards, and then dispose of it promptly.

Once all the glass is in the trash, dispose of the bag you used to collect the broken glass. Then carefully rinse the broom, dustpan, and the bottom of your shoes to avoid spreading glass around the house.

H/T: The Spruce

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