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How-To: Clean Up Broken Glass

I broke a mercury glass votive in my bathroom last week, and I was kind of careless about cleaning it up. Long story short, I ended up with a piece of glass in my foot. Not. Fun. Since I don't wish the same fate for any of you, I thought I'd tell you how to clean up broken glass the correct way. The first step is to clean up the glass thoroughly and immediately. To hear the other (actual) steps,


  1. First, carefully pick up any large pieces and put them into a trash bag.
  2. Then, sweep the glass as best you can into a pile and then into a dustpan.
  3. Vacuum the entire area, even beyond where the glass fell, as it tends to shoot off several feet in each direction. Use your hose attachment on any crevices, such as the grout between your tile.
  4. Now, you need to make sure all the tiny pieces are cleaned up. You can do this by dampening a paper towel and pressing it on the floor, making sure you do not touch the underside of the paper towel. Wipes, like Clorox Green Works Wipes, are great for this. If you're working with a large area, replace the towel and start with a fresh one after a few presses. You can also clean up these fine glass bits by laying duct tape on your floor and burnishing with a credit card to make sure it's smooth, and then lifting up the tape. This is more time-consuming, but works.
  5. When you're finished, make sure to safely dispose of all of your paper towels in the trash can. Fini!


Image Source: Getty
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sofi sofi 8 years
I totally freak out when glass breaks- usually my fault. I do all those things including the wet cloth- really works. Always double bag or use paper so it doesn't cut anyone :)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great tips especially with pets!
witchbaby witchbaby 8 years
got a piece of glass in my hand a few weeks ago! good to know
cawthraven cawthraven 8 years
You should put broken glass inside a paper bag before throwing it out, so that it doesn't wind up cutting whoever takes the trash out.
brookberrys brookberrys 8 years
A slice of bread also works really well for picking up little pieces of glass.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
My mom used to freak out whenever glass broke... So she made us immediately put on hard bottom shoes and then vacuum like crazy ppl. The wet paper towel is a good idea. Hopefully I will never break glass again, but if i do I know.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Great tips, thanks Casa.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Great tips, thanks Casa.
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Good tips. :)
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Good tips. :)
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