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Can You Vacuum Glass?

So, you’ve dropped something on the floor, and now you’re surrounded by glass. How are you supposed to pick it up? A broom might be the safest way, but it’s not always efficient at picking up those tiny little shards that your feet will find later.

Can you vacuum glass? You can, but it isn’t recommended. Newer vacuums are powerful and often come with collection canisters instead of bags, making them more capable of handling glass. Old vacuums should never be used because they usually have bags and aren’t nearly powerful enough. Many people advise against using new vacuums because they can still spread glass shards. 

You might be able to use your vacuum if it’s new and has the latest powerful technology. This article will discuss why vacuuming glass isn’t recommended. Continue reading so you can make the judgment call for yourself.

Why Is Vacuuming Glass So Dangerous?

You may have heard conflicting information about vacuuming glass. That’s probably because some people think it’s safe to do while there are others that don’t think it’s safe. Now that modern vacuums are more powerful and have more durable pieces, the topic is a bit more confusing.

Vacuums Spread Glass

Vacuums can easily spread the tiny glass shards it picks up, which is arguably the most concerning reason why vacuums aren’t recommended for the cleanup job.

If your vacuum has rotating brushes, those will most likely cause the glass to be thrown across the room with some force since the brushes rotate quickly. This can be a hazardous situation for you and anyone else in the room.

Glass can get caught in the hoses and attachments. If your vacuum hose is especially long, there’s a bigger chance that glass will be caught in there. Once you turn the vacuum off, the glass might fall out. If the glass is caught in the brush attachments, they can fall out of the bristles the next time you use them.

If you aren’t careful when vacuuming up glass, you might find glass shards all over the house. It can be very dangerous, so if you decide to vacuum glass, make sure you go straight to the garbage can and thoroughly empty out hoses and brushes as soon as possible.

Glass Can Damage Vacuums

Not only will you receive round two of glass shards, but you can also end up with a damaged vacuum after vacuuming glass. 

When you use a vacuum cleaner, dust comes into contact with the motor, hoses, brushes, filters, and the collection bag or canister. 

The glass will come into contact with all of these parts, as well, and it’s possible for them to damage every piece. Many vacuums filter out debris with rotation, so glass might spin around at high speeds inside your vacuum and cause scratching or damage.

Large pieces are the most damaging but don’t underestimate the capabilities of the tiny pieces. Every piece, no matter the size, is capable of tearing the collection bag, tearing hoses, breaking the air filter, and damaging the motor.

It’s possible to replace several parts of your vacuum if they get damaged, but this can be an expensive process, especially if you’re unable to do the repairs yourself. If the glass is big enough, it might be able to damage a piece beyond repair, leaving you no choice but to buy a new vacuum altogether.

What If I Want to Vacuum Glass?

There are many people who say you should never vacuum glass, even if you have the best vacuum out there. But, there are also many people who say it’s okay to vacuum glass as long as you’re careful about it.

What You Need

If you want to vacuum glass, you will need the following:

  • Shoes with thick soles
  • Work gloves
  • Broom and dustpan
  • A vacuum cleaner that’s fully functioning and not damaged

You need thick-soled shoes so the glass won’t be able to cut through them if you happen to step on it. You also need some thick work gloves, so the shards don’t prick your hands. These items should always be used when you’re handling glass, with or without a vacuum. 

You will need a broom and dustpan to pick up the largest pieces. It’s best to keep those out of your vacuum.

Finally, you need a vacuum that isn’t damaged. Make sure all of the hoses are properly connected and don’t have any holes in them. You should only use a vacuum that was manufactured recently since older vacuums aren’t suitable for picking up glass.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 20, 2020.

How to Safely Vacuum Glass

In order to safely vacuum glass, follow these steps:

  1. Clean your vacuum cleaner. Remove dust and debris from the hoses and collection canister. If there is debris clogging your vacuum hoses, it will be difficult and dangerous to remove it after you’ve vacuumed glass because the shards will be caught in the debris.
  2. Put on your protective gear. Wear shoes with thick soles and thick gloves.
  3. Sweep up the bigger pieces. You need to keep these out of your vacuum as much as possible. 
  4. Begin vacuuming with a low setting. Many modern vacuums have multiple power settings. Start with the lowest one to lower the possibility of small shards being thrown across the room or damaging your vacuum. 
  5. Follow up with full power. After you have vacuumed the area on a low setting, go over it again with full power to make sure you have picked up every piece of glass.
  6. Use a flashlight to look for pieces you may have missed. Even though you’ve gone over it twice now, it’s possible that there’s still a piece or two left behind. A flashlight or your phone flashlight should be able to reveal any pieces left behind.

Alternative Methods to Pick Up Glass

Maybe you’re not too sure about vacuuming up a pile of glass. Ultimately, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when being sorry means purchasing a new vacuum. Here are some alternative ways you can pick up broken glass. 

Vacuum Hose and a Sock

You can use your vacuum to pick up glass shards without damaging it. Use the hose attachment and cover it with a sock. You can secure the sock in place with a rubber band, hair tie, or duct tape.

Turn on the vacuum and use the hose to pick up the glass. The suction will make the glass “stick” to the sock, but it won’t go in the vacuum. Don’t turn off the vacuum until you have the hose positioned over a trash can so you won’t get glass all over the floor again.

Only use a sock you don’t mind throwing away. Don’t wear the sock again as tiny slivers of glass can get stuck in the material.


You can use bread to pick up those tiny pieces of glass that a broom will never be able to use. Just gently press the bread onto the floor where the glass is. Wear shoes and gloves while doing this in case you happen to drop the bread.

Duct Tape

Duct tape will work similarly to the bread but will be a bit more successful since it’s sticky. Take a piece and stick it onto the floor. Shards shouldn’t fall off, so it should be easier to make it to the trash can.

Final Thoughts

Vacuuming glass is not recommended, but it is possible. You can choose to do so if you have purchased a new vacuum fairly recently.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 20, 2020.

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