How to Remove Broken Glass From Grass

Updated on March 2, 2018
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Broken beer bottle shards on grass and stone cobbles should be cleared asap.
Broken beer bottle shards on grass and stone cobbles should be cleared asap. | Source

Broken Glass is an Accident Waiting to Happen

Accidents happen when you're feeling tired or rushed off your feet. It's important that where glass is involved, cleaning up is done swiftly and safely. Broken glass anywhere can cause nasty cuts. When cut glass splinters are left on the floor there is the danger that someone will walk on them. Broken glass in your backyard or garden presents a greater danger, as it can lie forgotten and unnoticed until someone cuts their bare feet on it. Don’t let this happen to a member of your family. Make sure you always clean up broken glass properly and quickly.

The video below demonstrates the thousands of sharp slivers of glass that are produced when a wine glass is broken. Each one of these tiny pieces cuts like a knife and can cause you pain and discomfort if you are within their spatter range.

CGI Simulation of a Wine Glass Shattering

Safety First - Wear Gloves When Handling Broken Glass
1. Remove large pieces of glass.
2. Remove small glass fragments.
3. Vacuum clean grassed area.

Protect Your Hands and Feet from Glass Splinters

When glass shatters, the pieces are often very small and difficult to see. It's easy to accidentally walk on them or to brush bare hands against them as you clean up. In your rush to clear up, you may be tempted to tackle the broken glass shards with your bare hands.

If the accident happens on a sunny day, you may also not be wearing any shoes. Don't be a fool and rush in where angels would fear to tread! Take a couple of minutes first before you start the clean-up and make sure your hands and feet are protected. Put on shoes and thick gloves for protection.

Cut wounds needing stiches can occur when handling trash.
Cut wounds needing stiches can occur when handling trash. | Source

Clean up Safely

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How to Remove Glass from Yard, Lawn or Grassy Area

Sweeping up and removing every piece of broken glass from a flat surface is difficult enough, but removing the tiny fragments from a lawn or grassy area can be extremely challenging. If the lawn surface is rock-hard due to drought, then you can treat it as you would if breakage occurred on your kitchen floor. However, if the soil is wet and soggy then some of the glass may have become embedded in the top layer. There are three steps you should follow to ensure safe removal of all the minute pieces of glass.

1. Remove Large Pieces of Glass

To protect your hands from cuts and abrasions you should wear gloves. A pair of gardening gloves is ideal or you could wear some latex dishwashing gloves. 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.

2. Remove Small Glass Fragments

Even after sweeping with a broom, there will always be some tiny glass fragments left that are too small to be collected by the brush or to be picked up manually. To pick up the smaller pieces of glass use either a piece of bread or some Play-doh.

The video below shows how easy it is to gather up all the teeny-tiny pieces of broken glass with some bread. Once you have done this, don't try to remove the shards from the bread or Play-dough, but put the entire slice of glass-embedded bread or Play-dough into a trash bag for safe disposal.

How to clean Up Broken Glass with Bread

3. Vacuum Clean Lawn

If the soil is very muddy, you could use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to remove the last few pieces of glass from the lawn. The video below shows how a powerful vacuum will easily suck up glass, soil and similar debris. However, this may not be suitable for your situation.

If you are still left with some bits of glass twinkling in the sunlight, then you may have to remove the top half inch of the area of lawn affected. It can be a nuisance to have to rake over and reseed a small patch of lawn. But it's better to do this than have someone cut their bare feet later on a piece of glass that was left behind in the soil.

What is Safety Glass?

Safety glass (for example the type used for auto windscreens and patio doors) is a kind of toughened or laminated glass. When it breaks, the pieces formed do not have sharp edges. Instead, the glass breaks into chunks looking a bit like hexagonal sugar cubes. This type of glass is much safer and its use has saved many laceration injuries since its use for patio windows became standard.

Shattered safety glass.
Shattered safety glass. | Source

Accidents Caused By Non-Safety Glass

Ordinary glass (for example, the type used to make drinking glasses or wine bottles,) shatters into fine shards when broken. These splinters are extremely sharp and can cause deep wounds.

In 2013, a man in Anglesey, Wales, UK died after his femoral artery was accidentally cut by broken glass. He had been clearing up the pieces of a broken wine glass and had put the pieces into a black garbage bag. However, he failed to wrap the broken glass in some newspaper first.

As he carried the bag outside ready for collection, a piece of the glass poked through the black garbage bag and cut into his leg. He received a cut that measured an inch and a half and which severed his femoral artery. He lived on his own and he bled to death before he could summon help. The pathologist said that it was likely that the speed at which he bled to death would not have given him enough time to get to the phone.

Safety First Prevents Accidents

Broken glass on the lawn may come from someone accidentally dropping a wine bottle or a drinking glass. A less common source would be broken glass from an old window pane or garden glass-house or cold-frame. The best way to clear up this type of accident is to prevent it happening in the first place by limiting the use of glass in your backyard or garden.

There are many alternatives to glass, including plastic, paper, cardboard and wood. The best one to choose depends on the use to which it is put. Clear plastic sheeting could be used to replace cold-frames and greenhouse glass. It is common for parents to give young children plastic beakers to drink from to minimize breakages and this could be extended to include teenagers. In some towns plastic drinking glasses are used in bars, pubs and restaurants to avoid broken glass being used in fights.

You may decide to continue to use glass in your home, but could try to minimize the problem of clearing up glass shards from lawns by making it a house rule that no one takes drinks beyond your paved patio area.

If someone is injured by broken glass, take them to your nearest ER (Emergency Room) or A&E (Accident & Emergency department) as soon as possible if:

* you cannot stop the bleeding

* there is a loss of sensation around the injury

* the wound looks infected

* there is a foreign body in the wound

* the wound is very large or the injury has caused a lot of tissue damage

— Advice on treating glass cuts and injuries from UK's National Health Service


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