When reaching for the phone, I accidentally knocked a glass onto the floor (the floor is a hard surface). I tried vacuuming, picking up the individual pieces, and even using paper towels. How do I clean it up? I don't want me feet getting stabbed!

  • 1
    Is this on a hard surface, or carpet? Dec 10, 2014 at 2:54
  • @AdiBradfield hard surface. I put it in the question. Dec 10, 2014 at 2:59
  • 1
    Define "best," please....are you looking for fastest, most efficient, leave the least pieces around, etc...? -1 until that's defined; otherwise, question is "unclear" (from the DV button hover-over)
    – Shokhet
    Dec 10, 2014 at 3:01

6 Answers 6


First, put shoes on. And turn on all the lights. You'll want lots of light. Pick up anything that might get in your way and move it to some other location: chairs, books, dogs, etc.

Then, pick up the large pieces. By "large" I mean "big enough that you can grasp them without touching the broken edges".

Then sweep. Use a good broom, one with feathered bristles, and work slowly. Coax the small pieces out of cracks and out from under any furniture you couldn't move.

Then vacuum. Don't use a sweeper; use a machine with an extensible hose that can be guided through any areas missed by the broom.

Remember, pieces of shattered glass can fly a long ways; be sure to expand the area you're working in to include all those that might have been hit.

If all else fails... I've had a piece of glass embedded in my foot for several years now; you get used to it.

However, you can go to the doctor to get that glass out of your foot or anywhere else on your body that it entered.


The trick to picking up glass is water.

Follow the common sense approach of lots of light, shoes, do not wear your shoes outside of the affected area to avoid tracking glass around etc, but the trick is:

Towel or paper towels doused in water to get everything littler than easy pieces to grab with your fingers. The little slivers will stick to wet paper towels or normal towels if necessary (don't suggest a cloth towel as you'll want to dispose of it afterwards). Also I encourage all broken glass be placed in any cardboard boxes you have laying around for disposal as this is much better way of ensuring you don't cut yourself vs. bags (take the cereal out of it's box and use that, any shoe boxes laying around, any box is better than a bag for containing broken glass)


If the vacuum is not sufficient, as expressed in your question, I'm assuming that this is only the really small bits of glass that you can't pick up?

Try using something that is slightly adhesive like sticky tape, or post-it notes to pick these tiny shards up. This won't work great on carpet, but does a great job on hard surfaces

  • If you are confident in your eyesight, turn on a light at one end of the room, but make sure there's no light on behind you.

  • The light in front of you will reflect off the glass into your eyes, making it easier to see. With the light behind you turned off, there's no shadow to interfere with seeing the glass.

  • A wet paper towel is the best way to collect the glass. It doesn't need to be dripping, just damp.

  • Then give some space between you and where the glass broke so you don't kneel on a shard. Get down on your hands and knees (with the wet paper towel within reach), move your head near the floor and move back and forth while 'scanning' for glass shards.

  • Then slowly drag the wet part of the towel along the floor where the glass is. It should pick it up, but go in a couple of different directions just to be sure.

  • Just to be sure you got it all, do it again from another angle.

  • Dance!


I know not everyone has access to one but a garage shop-vac works wonders. you just have to work slow and be very careful that you indeed covered the entire affected area. A normal vacuum might not work so well but the more powerful suction that the shop-vac has picks the smallest of shards up like they were nothing.


Use a potato cut in half or a slice of bread. They work like sponges!

  • I don't think that this would be very effective at picking up big pieces of glass...
    – michaelpri
    Apr 24, 2016 at 18:49

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