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How to Clean Up Broken Glass Safely Without a Vacuum?

Everyone knows glass is dangerous when broken, but what do you do if you find some shattered at the end of your driveway?

Or a lightbulb that suddenly drops to the floor when you are in the middle of changing it out? Perhaps you have never dealt with fractured glass before?

Below are a few safety tips to consider should you ever find yourself needing to know the best and most effective way to approach cleaning up broken glass and glass dust.


How to Pick Up and Clean Broken Glass Safely?

how to pick up broken glass

First, determine what type of glass you’re dealing with. There are many different types of glass, but the most widely used three are annealed, tempered, and laminated.

  • Annealed Glass– Prone to breaking easily, this type of glass is identified by long cracks and splintering
  • Tempered Glass– Shatters all over the place. This is usually easy to identify because there won’t be much left in the frame after it breaks.
  • Laminated Glass– This type shatters but mostly stays together by adhering to the plastic interlayer behind it

Glass dust particles are very fine grains of glass that shower the area after the larger cut of glass has been shattered.

You will more than likely not need to deal with this if you are dealing with laminated glass, however, tempered glass is highly prone to shattering with glass dust.

Once you identify what type of glass broke, you will be ready to begin the cleaning process.


How to Clean Shattered Glass Without a Vacuum or Broom?

how to clean broken glass without a broom


To begin the clean-up process without a vacuum, clear the area. Make sure all pets and children cannot run through the broken glass.

Check beneath the furniture. Do a perimeter search to be sure the fractured shards didn’t glide across the floor to the other side of the room.

As with anything sharp, you will want to be sure to protect yourself from being injured.

Before you pick up the pieces, be sure that you have on some rubber gloves and shoes with thick soles. If you do not have any gloves, use tongs or forceps to pick up the larger pieces of glass. Also, be sure not to crouch down on your knees as they could become cut.

Step 1. When ready, remove each shard one at a time. The larger ones should be removed first.

Step 2. Place them in a plastic bag or wrap them in the newspaper. If you are close enough to a trash bin, you can also throw them in there if there is trash bad already in it.

Step 3. Sweep up the remaining smaller pieces with a broom and a dustpan.

Step 4. Check the broom’s bristles when you are done.

Step 5. Tiny pieces of glass can cling to the individual strands. If this happens, shake it off or throw the broom away.

No broom? No problem! To clean up smaller pieces of glass without the help of a broom, you can use sheets of moist paper towels or a piece of bread to pick up and hold the glass dust.


How to Clean Shattered Glass from Carpet?

how to get glass out of carpet


The first thing you should do when cleaning glass from carpet is to secure the area. Make sure anyone that could get hurt is safely out of the way.

Glass can travel far when it breaks. It is important to note not to attempt to pick up the broken glass with bare hands. Large shards can leave messy cuts and tiny shards of glass can get wedged painfully under the skin.

Always be sure to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves and thick-soled shoes.

You may choose to also wear goggles to protect your eyes from stray pieces that can be sent up into the air during the cleaning process.

Step 1. Use masking tape and gently press onto the affected area. The glass pieces will adhere to it perfectly. You can also use an old towel, fresh bread, or old newspaper. Pretty much anything that is moist enough to encourage the shattered glass to stick to it.

Step 2. Painter’s tape is not recommended as it doesn’t have enough strength and the pieces of glass can fall back off onto the floor.

Step 3. Once you are done with the clean-up process, be sure to switch off the lights and use a flashlight to check for any missed pieces.

Step 4. Discard the pieces of glass you’ve collected in a plastic bag. Then simply discard the bag in your trash bin. Although not recommended, glass shards can be placed in the trash if the pieces are small and double-bagged. Larger shards cannot be discarded in the trash bin as they will slice through the plastic.


How To Clean Broken Glass Shards from Tile/Concrete Floor?

tips on removeing glass from tile floors

Step 1: If the glass shatters on your concrete or tiled floor, again, the first step is to secure the area so that no one else gets hurt.

Step 2: Once that is done, put on some rubber gloves (garden gloves won’t work as large glass shards can cut through the fabric and cut your skin).

Step 3: Then, be sure to put on protective footwear like shoes with a thick rubber sole.

Step 4: Don’t vacuum the mess. This will ruin your vacuum. Instead, wipe the area with a fresh slice of bread or you can also use a potato.

Step 5: Simply cut the vegetable in half and proceed to wipe the glass pieces up off the ground. Tape can also be used but do not use Scotch tape. Instead, reach for packing tape or duct tape. Masking tape can also be used if the other two are not available.


How To Clean Up Broken Glass in the Sink/Dishwasher?

How To Clean Up Broken Glass in the Sink

Step 1: To clean up broken glass from your sink, first be sure to have rubber or thick leather gloves. Then use moist cotton and gently wipe the surface.

Step 2: This is especially important if your sink is porcelain, as too much pressure on the glass particles can leave the sink scratched permanently.

Step 3: Repeat this until the glass pieces are gone. Place the glass-filled cotton in a secure plastic bag and discard.

Step 4: Be sure to check around the sink on the floor as well because sometimes the tiny pieces can shoot out from the sink basin.


How To Clean Broken Glass Pieces in Grass?

How To Clean Broken Glass Pieces in Grass

Step 1: If the glass shatters in your yard, don’t panic. Secure the area, then put on a pair of split-leather gloves or rubber gloves if you have any handy.

Step 2: Pick up the glass shards you can visibly see. Places the pieces in a plastic bag. Then use a portable light or flashlight if it’s dark out, to see if you can spot any of the other smaller pieces.

Step 3: After the easy stuff is done, get a shovel and dig the grass sod. Turn over the section of the earth with the glass pieces.

Step 4: Flipping it over buries the pieces into the ground. You can then leave it or reseed the area. The pieces will not resurface.

Step 5: The other avenue you can use if you don’t want to create a huge divot in your yard, is to use a hose and let it run on the area.

Step 6: After a decent soak, put on some thick-soled boots and stomp the ground in case any shards were missed. For added protection, you can also add some fresh soil to blanket the area.


How To Clean Broken Glass Out of Oven?

While this might sound strange, this can happen if your glass dish experiences something known as “thermal shock”.

To approach the mess properly, first be sure your oven is not on and is cool to the touch. Climbing into a hot over is never advisable.

Step 1: Put on a pair of thick rubber gloves to remove the larger glass pieces. Once that is done, use a moist paper towel to remove the small glass pieces.

Step 2: The glass will cling to the moisture. If there is a mess of food left behind, clean up the bulk of the mess as best you can, and then add three teaspoons of baking soda to a spray bottle of water.

Step 3: Spray around the oven and wipe down with a sponge. Finally, rinse the area with a clean cloth and water.


Is it OK to Vacuum Broken Glass?

Cleaning glass with a vacuum is not recommended to clean any sort of fractured glass. The pieces, although varying in size, can actually cause damage to the motor, fan, and even the filters themselves!

If you attempt to vacuum glass, do not use a spinning brush. A spinning brush will cause pieces of glass to fly in all directions, ultimately making the mess much worse.


Glass Cleanups and Precautions to Keep in Mind

  • Do not use bare hands.
  • Do not walk over the area with bare feet.
  • Do not dispose of glass on the inside of the trash can.
  • Do not check the tile grout and the areas under the carpet.
  • Do not forget to clean the broom after using it (or just throw it away).



Cleaning up broken glass is easy when you use safe and effective methods to do it. Just be sure to use good common sense in order to avoid injuring yourself and others.

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