How to Clean Up Broken Glass on Carpet

Accidents happen all the time around the house that can affect your carpeting. And while it’s important to tackle stains you encounter from the occasional spilled wine or coffee, there are other ways that accidents can permanently damage your carpet, requiring costly repairs or even replacing all of your carpeting.

One of these dangers comes from broken glass. There are plenty of ways that broken glass can end up in your carpet, and if you’re not careful, it can cause rips and tears in your carpeting. Your carpets fibers can also hide stray shards of glass, leading to possible injury if you find yourself walking around your home barefoot. 

That’s why it’s important that you clean up any and all broken glass from your carpet quickly and safely following these tips.   

Check the Area and Determine How Much Broken Glass You Must Clean Up

Depending on the cause of your broken glass, you may have just a few shards to pick up, or a very large amount over a large area. Most of the time when you have to clean up glass, it will come from a broken drinking glass, or another glass item that’s equally as small. The glass from that sort of accident will be more localized, and easy to clean.

One of the most dramatic and difficult events to clean up after would be an accident that breaks one or several of your windows. It costs a fortune to replace your windows (which is why it’s better to keep them clean to expand their lifespan) but sometimes accidents happen, be it a tree branch falling off in a storm, or a family member decides it’s a good idea to toss a baseball around indoors. If this does happen, Woodard provides 24/7 board up services to temporarily fix the broken window. 

These larger accidents likely mean that the glass has spread over a long area. Carefully examine any surface area in the room, where you should see small reflections or sparkles as light passes through glass shards and bits. 

You’ll want to know where you can safely walk, and where you need to show caution. Once you’ve assessed the spread of glass, you can get started on cleaning.

Wear Shoes and Rubber Gloves

First things first, you need to make sure you clean up glass safely. Wear shoes so that you don’t accidentally step on any glass and cut your foot. You should also have thick rubber gloves, like those you would use while washing dishes or cleaning, to ensure you don’t puncture your hand picking up shards. 

It’s very easy for a small shard of glass to lead to a cut that requires stitches, so this step is crucial. Before you think of picking anything up, make sure that you’re being safe. 

Get a Container for Broken Glass

You might think that you can put all the broken glass in a garbage bag, but glass shards can easily rip through the bag, spilling all the glass and causing you to have to clean everything up yet again. 

Instead, get a garbage can or plastic bin that you can easily empty into your dumpster, trash can, or (ideally) recycling bin when you take out the rest of your trash. The bin will not break and will ensure you don’t have to touch glass once you’ve initially picked it up.

Pick Up Larger Pieces By Hand

The largest, visible pieces of glass should be picked up by hand. This is where the gloves and shoes come in handy, but don’t get too comfortable. Be careful not to poke yourself as you pick up the visible shards of glass and put them in your bin or container. 

Continue to clear the area until you’re confident you’ve removed all the pieces you can easily see and pick up. You might think you’ve cleared your carpet of glass by this point, but you still have one final important step.  

Vacuum the Area Thoroughly

When you have broken glass, most of the glass shards are visible to the naked eye. Unfortunately, there also will be dozens, if not hundreds, of tiny specks of glass that are all but impossible to see. You could get down on your hands and knees to try to pick these out one by one, but that not only is likely to lead to accidental cuts, but it’ll also be time consuming and ineffective.

The best approach to clear up the remaining glass is to simply use a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum the entire carpeted area. As you do so, you’ll likely hear little pings and clicks as your vacuum sucks up those glass pieces. 

You’ll want to keep vacuuming the area until you stop hearing glass come into your vacuum cleaner. At that point, you should empty your vacuum bag or container in your glass bin, and do one final pass with the vacuum cleaner to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Of course, if you’d rather not risk any damage to your vacuum cleaner, you can always clean the carpet by pressing bread or a potato over the entire surface area (seriously, it works!).

If you’ve taken all these steps, you should have a nice, clean carpet that hasn’t been damaged by your little broken glass accident. And hopefully, next time you take a sip from a drinking glass, you’ll keep a better grip to save you the headache in the future. 


About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932.

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Updated 11/25/2020