Can You Vacuum Broken Glass?

This article comes from The Spruce.

Can You Vacuum Broken Glass?

How can one small shattered glass tumbler or lightbulb create so many tiny pieces of glass? When a breakable item hits the floor or a countertop, glass pieces seem to scatter to every corner of the room. Your first instinct may be to grab the vacuum cleaner to clean up the mess as quickly as possible. But, is it safe to vacuum glass?

The quick answer is it depends on the type of vacuum. Learn which types of vacuums can safely be used to vacuum glass and other recommended methods to get rid of every tiny piece of glass.

Tip: Never Use a Vacuum With a Flexible Hose

Using your vacuum with a flexible hose to suction away glass can ruin the hoses in the machine. Even if you pick up the larger pieces by hand, the sharp edges of glass shards can cut the vacuum hose. A tiny slit in the hose will cause the vacuum to lose suction causing it to be ineffective in suctioning away dust and dirt.

Many vacuums have powerheads with beater brushes to help loosen dirt embedded in carpet fibers. The beaters or rollers can cause the glass shards to scatter even further or the glass can become embedded in the roller.

How to Vacuum Glass With a Handheld Vacuum

Sweep Up Large Pieces

Begin by using a broom and dustpan to sweep up the large pieces of glass. Dispose of them in a thick paper or plastic bag. Try to remove as much of the glass as possible before moving on to the handheld vacuum.

Use a Handheld Vacuum

If you have a handheld vacuum that does not use a flexible hose, you can vacuum away shards of glass. Be sure that all filters and the collection cup or bag are firmly in place. Since you will probably be working close to the floor and the shattered glass, it’s a good idea to wear eye protection, thick gloves, and sturdy shoes. In the brightest light available, work slowly and methodically in a grid to capture as much glass as possible.

Dispose Of the Glass

When you are finished, carefully empty the collection cup into a thick paper or plastic trash bag for disposal. If the vacuum uses a disposable collection bag, place it in a trash bag and dispose of the bag immediately.

How to Vacuum Glass With a Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

A wet/dry shop vacuum that can handle water and metal shavings can also vacuum glass. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for operation and follow these tips for any brand of shop vacuum:

Sweep the Glass Into a Pile

First, be sure to wear safety goggles and thick shoes when vacuuming glass. Be sure there are no blockages in the hose or collection port. Wearing thick gloves, pick up the large pieces of glass before vacuuming and sweep as much of the glass as possible into a small pile. Use a dustpan to dispose of the glass.

Vacuum Remaining Glass on Low

To clean up the remaining pieces of glass, begin vacuuming on the low setting and move to the highest suction level to capture the smallest shards. Use a bright, LED light held at different angles to be sure you have gotten rid of all of the glass.

Dispose of Glass in Thick Trash Bag

Use a disposable collection liner when vacuuming glass for easier clean-up. Wear gloves when removing the liner from the shop vacuum and dispose of it in a thick trash bag.

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