Scientist and author, Beth enjoys living life in the slow lane. She takes time to enjoy the little things in life.
How to Safely Remove Shattered Glass
Even tiny pieces of glass can cause nasty cuts to bare feet and hands, so it's crucial that all fragments are removed. Sweeping up every piece of broken glass from a flat surface is difficult, but removing small fragments of glass from grass is even more challenging.
If the lawn surface is rock-hard due to drought, you can treat it as the same as if accident had happened indoors. However, if the soil is wet and soggy then some of the glass may become embedded in the top layer. There are four steps you should follow to ensure safe removal of every single piece of smashed glass.
4 Steps to Clearing Broken Glass
- Put on gloves to protect your hands and arms from cuts.
- Pick up the largest pieces of broken glass and remove them to a garbage can.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to hoover up small pieces from the grass lawn or yard floor.
- Finally use bread or play-doh to remove any remaining tiny glass fragments.
1. Put on Protective Clothing
To protect your hands from cuts and abrasions always wear gloves when handling broken glass. A pair of gardening gloves is ideal or some heavy duty dishwashing gloves.
Don't forget to cover your feet too. Doing this job barefoot or in is a no-no. Remember to put on some shoes (not flip-flops) to protect your feet before you begin this clean-up job. Stay calm and don't panic. Think safety first and you can prevent injuries.
2. Remove Large Pieces of Glass
Carefully remove the largest pieces of the broken glass one by one. Wrap them in newspaper to protect the sharp edges from cutting though the outer bag and injuring someone. Place the wrapped glass pieces inside a plastic bag ready for disposal.
3. Vacuum Clean the Lawn or Yard
If the soil is very muddy, you can use a wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner to remove the last few pieces of glass from the lawn. Be careful as ordinary domestic vacuum cleaners may be damaged by hoovering broken glass, so this solution may not be the right one for you.
Your other option is to remove the top half inch of the area of grass affected. This means that you will have to rake over and reseed a small patch of lawn. But that's a small price to pay for a safer lawn or backyard. It's better to be sure all the broken pieces are removed than have someone cut their bare feet later on glass that was left behind buried in the soil.
4. Remove Remaining Glass Fragments Using Bread or Play-doh
Use a piece of bread or some children's modelling clay like Play-doh to pick up the remaining shards of glass. I use kid's Play-doh as I find it is stronger and easier to use than bread at picking these up. The slivers of glass embed themselves in the slice of bread or clay making removal easy. When the job is complete, put the entire slice of glass-embedded bread or Play-doh into a trash bag for safe disposal.
The Cut-Free Way To Pick Up Broken Glass
Minimize Use of Glass to Prevent Accidents
The best way to clear up broken glass on grassy areas is to prevent such accidents happening in the first place. There are many alternatives to using glass, including plastic, paper, cardboard, and wood.
Many parents give young children plastic beakers to drink from to minimize breakages. You could make it a house rule that all drinks taken outside, by adults as well as kids, must be in non-glass containers. Most people will see the sense in this and it could save you a lot of clearing up later on.
What is Safety Glass?
Safety glass is used for auto windscreens and patio doors. It is a kind of toughened or laminated glass. When it breaks, the pieces formed don't have sharp edges and so do not cause injuries in the same way as conventional broken glass. Instead, the glass fractures into chunks that look a bit like hexagonal sugar cubes.
This type of glass is much safer than conventional sheet glass. Injuries in car accidents from shattered windscreens been reduced to virtually zero, thanks to its adoption as standard in the auto industry. Its use in patio windows and doors has also meant a huge reduction in laceration injuries to children who mistake clear glass as an unobstructed way into the garden.
What's the Best Way to Remove Glass from a Paddock?
Broken glass in paddocks or fields is a danger to animals. It can cause mouth and hoof injuries to horses and other livestock. If possible, fence off the affected area until all the glass has been removed. Glass shards can cause life-threatening injuries to wildlife, pets, and farm animals.
For small areas of broken glass, follow the advice given in the rest of this article. If the glass is scattered over a larger area of the field, then removing the top inch of soil and grass would be the best solution. If you don't have a digger yourself, a local farmer may be able to help. There are also specialist companies that hire out earth-moving machinery.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.