There are several ways broken glass can embed in your carpet; if you aren’t careful, it can rip and tear your carpeting. The fibers can also hide tiny shards of glass, so avoid walking barefoot while cleaning. It’s also best to check the area first and determine where you can walk safely and where to be careful. Then, once you’ve assessed the total spread of broken glass, you can start cleaning.
To safely remove broken glass from your carpet, sweep up as many pieces as possible with a broom. Then, use a brush to bring the remaining glass to the surface, and use heavy-duty duct tape to pick it up. Lastly, vacuum the area to remove any remaining shards of glass.
Because carpet fibers can hide small pieces of glass, you won’t be able to clean up the mess with a quick spot cleaning. To avoid injuries or cuts, taking the proper safety measures is essential. Let’s look at whether broken glass will damage your vacuum and how you can safely remove broken glass from your carpet so you don’t have to worry about accidentally stepping on a shard and cutting yourself.
Will Broken Glass Damage Your Vacuum
Using your vacuum to clean up broken glass can damage the hoses in the appliance. Even if you remove larger glass pieces by hand, the sharp edges of tiny shards can ruin the vacuum hose.
Even a tiny slit will result in the vacuum losing suction, making it essentially ineffective in cleaning up dirt and dust.
Most vacuums also feature powerheads with rollers or beater brushes to help loosen the dust embedded in carpet fibers. Unfortunately, these rollers or beaters can cause tiny glass pieces to spread even further or become embedded in the brush itself.
Since broken glass will damage your vacuum, it’s best to try a few other methods before you start using the machine.
Cleaning Up the Broken Glass
Before sweeping away broken glass, ensure you take the proper safety measures—for example, wear shoes, so you don’t accidentally step on any shards and hurt yourself.
It’s also advisable to wear thick rubber gloves, like the ones you would put on while cleaning or washing dishes, to ensure you don’t cut your hand picking up the glass. It’s very easy for tiny shards to cut your hand in a way that requires stitches, so make sure you’re safe before picking up anything.
Now, let’s go over how to clean up the broken glass without risking injury to yourself or others.
Step 1: Sweep as Much as You Can with a Broom
Take a broom and sweep up as many glass pieces as possible. It’s best to avoid collecting the broken glass pieces in a garbage bag, as the sharp edges can easily tear the bag, spilling the glass and causing you to clean up everything again.
Instead, it’s better to dump the glass in a plastic bin or garbage can that you can quickly empty into a trash can, recycling bin, or dumpster when you throw away the rest of your trash. The bin won’t break and will ensure that you won’t have to touch the sharp glass pieces after initially picking them up.
Step 2: Use a Brush to Bring the Remaining Glass to the Surface
Use a dustpan and carpet brush to pick up the remaining pieces of glass, and then shine your phone’s flashlight to spot any tiny shards that might still be left.
Continue clearing the carpet until you’ve removed all the glass pieces you can see and pick up. You may think you’ve picked up all the glass pieces by this point, but there are still a couple of steps left to follow.
If you don’t have a rubber glove or broomstick, you can pick up the remaining glass with an old piece of newspaper. Fold the newspaper a few times to make it thicker, sturdier, and more rigid. Then, use this DIY brush to sweep up and remove all the tiny shards of glass.
Step 3: Use Heavy Duty Tape to Pick Up Any Remaining Glass
Even if you can’t see any pieces of glass on the carpet, there could still be a few shards left. Luckily, the sticky part of duct tape will help you clean up the smaller pieces. Simply paste a piece of tape on the carpet and let the glass stick.
Once you’ve gathered all the tiny shards, peel off the duck tape and dispose of it properly. Keep using duct tape until you can’t see any smaller shards of glass littering the carpet.
Step 4: Vacuum the Area
When you have broken glass on your carpet, most shards will be visible to the naked eye. However, there will also be a lot of tiny glass specks that will be all but impossible to see.
While you could try picking each shard one by one on your hands and knees, this will be highly ineffective and time-consuming and might lead to accidental cuts. Instead, use a vacuum cleaner. However, only use the machine as a safety measure and not as a cleaning method.
Vacuum your entire carpet, and as you do, you’ll probably hear little clicks and pinks as the machine sucks up the glass pieces. Keep vacuuming the carpet until you stop hearing the glass entering your vacuum cleaner.
Then, empty your vacuum container or bag into your glass recycling bin, and vacuum the carpeted area one final time to ensure you didn’t miss any shards.
If you don’t have a glass bin, there are other ways to dispose of broken glass.
Other Methods to Try
Use a Potato
If you don’t want to risk damaging your vacuum cleaner, press a potato or bread over the surface area to clean up the carpet. Then, dab the area with a potato or piece of bread to remove tiny shards of glass from the carpet.
It’s also advisable to vacuum your carpet every day for a week after cleaning it up to ensure you’ve sucked up all of the glass. Wear shoes or socks around the area for a few days to protect your feet.
Call a Professional
If you cannot remove broken glass from your carpet or are worried your vacuum won’t be able to get it all, call a carpet shampooer or a professional cleaner for a more thorough cleaning.
Use Plastic Cups
If you want to completely avoid the hassle of removing broken glass from your carpet, try substituting all your drinking glasses with plastic cups and your glass dishes with plastic ones.
And before long, you’ll have a clean carpet without any trace of tiny glass shards embedded in the fibers.