How To Clean Broken Glass From Your Car? Best Tips and Tricks

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Sometimes it’s hail damage, sometimes an accident, and sometimes it’s someone purposely breaking the glass on your car. Aside from the cost of replacing the glass, you’ll also have to deal with cleaning it from all over the car.

I recently shattered my rear windshield, and now I’m sharing all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned through the process of cleaning broken glass particles from all over my vehicle.

Luckily, I had window tint film applied when I broke the glass, so it didn’t spread all over the car immediately. But when I took the car to the shop to replace the back glass, they didn’t clean the car, and I had to do it myself.

Key Takeaways:

  • While shattered automotive glass isn’t very sharp, you should still wear safety equipment when cleaning it.
  • Always remove larger pieces of glass first.
  • Vacuum smaller fragments by using a shop vac and narrower vacuum attachments so you can reach all the nooks and crannies around the vehicle.
  • Areas around car seats are the hardest to clean, so move seats back and forth to remove all the glass particles.

What You Can Do In Case of Broken Glass In Your Car

shattered glass inside the car

Here are some things you can do if the glass in your car is broken:

  • The first step is to call authority, especially if you suspect foul play. You also need to contact your car dealership and talk to insurance about it so that you don’t have to shell out loads of cash on it.
  • If the case of broken glass is due to natural calamities such as bad weather or a stray baseball crashing into the car, you can start the cleanup process. We will talk about this step in detail below. However, if you suspect that it is a crime scene, it is better not to touch the car at all and wait for authorities to come and check it out.
  • Finally, you need to cover the broken glass, so you will have to discuss the expenses to get a new glass with either your insurance company or your car dealership if your car is under warranty.

How To Clean Broken Glass From Your Car

broken window on a car

Here is a detailed step-by-step process on how you can effectively remove all the broken glass pieces from your car.

1. Safety first

Before getting down to business, make sure that you have safety gear on. Even if it’s tiny pieces of glass, you still have to be careful about not cutting yourself. Take the vehicle somewhere safe so you don’t have to worry about the shattered glass falling on the streets.

Next, wear protective gear such as gloves and a complete outfit that covers all your body so that no stray broken glass will cut your skin.

Additionally, make sure that your gloves are industry-grade and not those flimsy disposable ones because you will be handling sharp objects. They can easily cut through the thin disposable gloves. Also, it would help if you had a trash can ready by your side so that you could throw away all the tiny pieces of glass.

2. Pick out all the big pieces of glass

The first step in your cleaning process should be to manually pick up all the big pieces of glass and throw them away. This is probably the most dangerous step, so make sure you have your gloves on.

Moreover, you shouldn’t rush this process. The glass pieces are big enough to cause a deep cut, so be very careful when you pick them up. For every piece of glass you pick up, throw it away immediately in your trash can.

You don’t have to be extra careful during this process since the glass is already broken, but try not to create even more small fragments since it only makes your overall cleanup more difficult.

3. Seal the trash can

If you are using a regular trashcan, make sure you have a garbage bag over the can to quickly tie it up and keep it to the side to discard. If you are using a box, make sure you seal the box when it’s full before moving on to the next box or the next trash can.

4. Collect the smaller fragments:

After removing larger glass pieces, focus on the tiny fragments. These can be as fine as powder, so never use your hands to pick them up.

Instead, follow these steps:

  • Use a high-quality shop vac designed for cars. These vacuums often come with special attachments to reach tight spaces and are typically cordless, making them convenient for car interiors.
  • Glass can easily hide between the seams of car seats. While vacuuming, use one hand to separate the seams to ensure you cover all areas. Leather seats might make it easier to spot glass compared to cloth seats.
  • Take off your car seat cushions and vacuum underneath them. The method to remove cushions might vary based on your car model.
  • If the windshield was the source of the breakage, remember to check the dashboard, gearbox area, and floors. It’s a good practice to vacuum the entire car to ensure no glass remains.
  • To access all areas of the car floor, move the seats forward and back. When vacuuming, use the narrow attachments to focus the suction on specific spots.

5. Additional steps

Now that you’ve cleaned up the entire car, you need to take extra preventive measures to ensure you didn’t leave anything behind. You can use a lint roller to gather up any excess debris that the vacuum cleaner might have missed for this process.

This works best on the car seats. You can even make a DIY lint roller if you don’t have one by rolling a piece of duct tape around your fingers and using that to pick up the glass. Make sure that you always have your gloves on when working.

Additional Ways To Clean Broken Glass From Cars

broken car glass

The most obvious and easy way to clean broken glass from a car is using a vacuum cleaner, but if you don’t have one, you can try any of the following methods:

Visit your nearest carwash

Most carwashes these days have vacuum machines that can vacuum your car of debris. This is an excellent option if you don’t have a car vacuum at home. However, since these machines are stationary, you will have to move your car at intervals to get each order cleaned.

If you wonder if you can vacuum glass at car wash – yes, you can.

Call a Professional

Professional detailers are available for hire to clean your car. These people are experts at what they do and have been professionally trained to navigate all the crevices of the car effectively. They do cost a lot of money, but if you are comfortable with cashing out, this is one of the best ways to make sure you clean your car’s interior thoroughly.

Use a lint roller

If you have no access to a vacuum cleaner, you can use a lint roller to gather up the broken glass, but it is recommended that you have safety equipment on before you start your clean-up. Also, most lint rollers come in a specific size that may not reach all the corners of the car. It would be best if you use this in addition to a vacuum cleaner, but not on its own.

DIY cleaning

If you believe that the broken glass is not much of a hazard and can do it yourself, you can use any DIY method. For example, bread and a sliced potato do a great job gathering small pieces of glass. Just press down on the bread or the potato, and the glass pieces will sink right into it. You can also use a wet paper towel for this same procedure.

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