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


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broken car glass

It’s no car owner’s dream to walk out and see that your car windows have been smashed to pieces. Regardless of what may have caused it, you still need to put in a lot of effort to clean up all the broken pieces. This article will walk you through a step-by-step process to clean broken glass from cars effectively.

The best way to clean broken glass from a car is to use a shop vac and thoroughly vacuum all the glass pieces, paying additional attention to cracks and crevices around car seats. Car vacuum cleaners are specially designed to have the power to suck up all the debris left by the shattered glass. 

Understand that a regular vacuum cleaner that you use to clean your floors and carpets is not strong enough for gathering broken glass off the car. The recommended device is a shop vac with more powerful suction and can pick up all the debris.

Always ensure that you have safety equipment on before you start a thorough cleaning of the car. It would help if you made sure that every piece of glass was out of the way before using your car again. 

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

Here are some things you can do if the glass on 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 either discuss with your insurance company for the expenses to get a new glass or your car dealership if your car is under warranty.
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How To Clean Broken Glass From Your 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 into 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 clean up 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:

Now that you have all the more significant pieces of glass out of the way, you only have to collect the tiny pieces. This step is by far the most daunting step since some of the pieces could be shattered into powder.

Please do not attempt to collect these pieces by hand since they can do more harm than good. The most effective way to clean these pieces is by using a vacuum cleaner. This process will require you to go through a couple more steps. Let’s take a look at it:

Separating the seams of your car seat:

Broken glass could get everywhere inside your car and especially in between your seats if the glass was broken in the passenger or the driver’s seat. You may not see it, but some stray pieces will be sitting there. If you have leather seats, it may be easier for you to locate these stray pieces and remove them, but it becomes more difficult with cloth covers on your seat.

Take your vacuum, hold it with one hand while using your other hand to separate the seams. Try to get into every nook and cranny with your vacuum. The recommended device for this purpose is a high-quality shop vac (check my recommendations here).

These devices are made especially for cars, so they have attachments that can quickly help you reach every inch of the car. They are also primarily cordless, so as long as you have it charged or battery-powered, you don’t have to worry about the length of the cord when cleaning.

Remove the cushions:

Remove the cushions of your car and use the vacuum cleaner there as well. Depending on what kind of car you drive, the process of removing your cushions will vary.

Check the dashboard and the floor for glass:

If the windshield was broken, you would probably have to check the dashboard, the gearbox area, and the floor of both the driver’s and the passenger’s seats. You also need to check the back seats to see if any stray broken glass is on the floor.

Regardless of where the glass was broken, it is best to vacuum the whole car.

Adjust the seats:

Roll the seats forwards and back to reach all the areas on the floor. Vacuum the floor as thoroughly as possible. Make sure to use narrow attachments for your shop vac, they’ll allow the vac to have more suction power over a specific area.

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.

What Are Some Other Methods To Clean Broken Glass From a Car?

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.

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 cars’ 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 does 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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