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Nov 22, 2008 07:33 PM

Pls advise - how do i clean up the shattered pyrex?

I just dropped a pyrex onto a tile floor. There are a zillion sharp pieces everywhere.

Have picked up all the bigger pieces and "mopped" what i can see with wet paper roll.

I am shocked at how many minute sharp pieces there are, some are in the tile "cracks".

Am very afraid that i have left any tiny tiny sharp pieces - how to i ensure there's none left?

FYI i dont have a vaccum cleaner, only a small dustbuster that does not have a dustbag. Am afraid that if i go over the area with the dustbuster, the small sharp splinters will somehow spoil the dustbuster.

Any advise please.

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  1. Rent a shop vac. Those things are made to suck up all sorts of sharp nasties. Until then, wear shoes (preferably hard-soled so glass won't get embedded in them) in the affected room.

    2 Replies
    1. re: stilton

      I'm seconding the vacuum. Find something with good suction tools that will get into the small cracks. It seems worth it to pay the rental price to avoid stepping on shards indefinitely.

      1. re: queencru

        I third a vacuum. And frankly, after that, then I'd do the sponge technique. But I have post-traumatic-glass-in-foot-disorder from a previous glass incident :o)

        I've been between vacuums before, and always surprised how neighbors will be with theirs. You can always borrow one.

    2. I had a similar experience with a Picardie glass over a year ago. I am still finding glass all over my kitchen. I cleaned up by picking up the pieces I could grasp with my gloved fingers. I didn't drop the glass on the floor, it shattered in my hand. I had my head and right hand in the refrigerator and my left hand had just picked the glass up out of the dish rack. Otherwise, I would have surely gotten glass embedded in my face, based on how far the glass flew. I had some on the floor but most was on the counters.

      I cleaned up the small shards using a thick large sponge. Make sure it has some water in it but not to much. Before starting to wipe, mark one side of the sponge and make sure you only use one side. Wipe in one direction. You may need a few sponges.

      I hope this helps--if I think of anything else, I will let you know.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Kate is always hungry

        OMG Kate, one whole year later and you're still finding glass shards????? I'm in triple shock now!!

        I have "dab and swipe" the whole floor with damp paper towels goodness knows how many times * shakes head*.

        In a sick sort of way, it's fascinating to discover how far the glass shards can fly from the point of impact.

        1. re: enzymes

          "In a sick sort of way, it's fascinating to discover how far the glass shards can fly from the point of impact."

          Perfect description. I know, I 'm still amazed everytime I find a tiny chip in some faraway place. Apparently, the glass is manufactured in a way so that it takes a lot of punishment. By doing so, it stores up a lot of potential energy. When it does break, it sends the chips fast and far.

          1. re: Kate is always hungry

            kate, did yours shatter from temp shock, or what?

            1. re: alkapal

              Hi Alkapal!

              Not from temp shock--my experience was with a Picardie drinking glass. They are (were) very popular in restaurants in France. My glass had been hanging on the glass hook of the dish rack. I had washed it hours before. I grasped it with my left hand, and opened the refrigerator door with my right hand to get the milk. (Imagine me as the base of a unilateral work triangle) I suddenly heard an explosion. Simultaneously, I didn't feel the glass in my hand. When I turned back to see what happen, I saw that glass was all over my kitchen.

              I looked online for "spontaneous shattering of glass." I read that those glasses, which are tempered, will suddenly break without any noticeable stress at the time they shatter. They are made so that they can be dropped many times without breaking. When they do, they don't break the way a normal water glass breaks. It's more like a broken windshield. I was very lucky that I had my back turned toward the glass.

              1. re: Kate is always hungry

                kate! i recall an elder friend of mine who used the picardie glasses over and over for zapping tea. i notice that it (picardie glass) is not obvious in the current wiliiams-sonoma catalogue.

                i'm def. squirrelly re bodum -- it is very fragile, imo.

                1. re: alkapal


                  Williams-Sonoma discontinued them a while back. From what I recall, when the glasses receive mechanical shocks, as in being dropped, the glass stores up the energy. Then, without warning, the glass releases the stored energy sending the chips in all directions.

                  I packed mine up and took them back to Williams Sonoma. The salesperson told me they had stopped carrying them because of this problem. I had to leave the glasses there and come back and talk to the manager. They exchanged them for the new model.

                  I don't know if the glass used in Bodum products is the same as the Picardie glassware or Pyrex. I think if you drop Bodum on a hard surface, it will probably break on contact. The Pyrex or Picardie will usually not break the first time

                  1. re: Kate is always hungry

                    Bodum's double-walled glass is made from Borosilicate glass.

                    1. re: OCAnn

                      ocann, what are the characteristics of that borosilicate glass?

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Here's what their website ( says:

                        The Assam double wall glasses can be use the whole year round. You can use them for your cold drinks in summer and hot drinks in winter. They are made of a very strong but yet light weight glass (borosilicate glass). They can safely go in the dishwasher and microwave. No coaster needed.
                        Bodum's insulated glassware is made from durable Borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is a strong heat-resistant glass that weighs less than traditional glassware. Used to make scientific lab glass, borosilicate glass (medical grade glass) is stronger than traditional "soda-lime" glass and can be used for everything from drinkware to cookware. Borosilicate glass substitutes boron oxide in place of the soda and lime used in traditional glassware. The boron oxide acts as a glue holding the silicate together and due to the small size of boron particles, the glass is held together tighter, resulting in a stronger glass. Some customers may perceive the glass to be "thin" as they hold it. It is important to explain the difference between borosilicate and soda lime glass. Borosilicate glass doesn't need to be as thick as traditional glass to be just as strong. Borosilicate is simply a different type of glass that is resistant to temperature swings and scratching. Because the particles are held together so tightly, borosilicate glass is dishwasher safe and will not become cloudy over time; you can rest assured that after 100 cycles, the glass will be as clear as the day you bought it.

                        1. re: OCAnn

                          bless you, ocann, you have eased my mind with your diligent research. ithe bodum cups i have do seem thin, and washed in the dishwasher beautifully! look neat, too!

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I really do love the dual use of my Bodum double-walled glasses. I also like that they have no handles; it feels more natural to hold cups/glasses sans handle. During winter months, the hot beverages warm the hands w/o being too hot to the touch, unlike most mugs/cups. Outside the one mishap, these have been quite the durable glass soldiers.

      2. As others have mentioned, shop vac the floor as thoroughly as possible and you can also follow up with damp newspapers - they're a lot cheaper than paper towels. Sponges will trap but not release the glass shards so you can only use it once. Newspaper tends to be very porous - good for catching the sharp tips and edged of glass - and cheap - rotate them out (toss it) often. The only downside is the ink does come off. This is where the paper towels come in for your final passes. I'd suggest wearing gloves of some sort and kneepads as well. As careful as you will try to be, there's a good chance you'll pick up some of the glass if you don't take precautions... Good luck and be safe!

        1. This may come too late to help, but try using masking tape to get the tiny pieces out of the cracks.

          1. As others have said, you can't beat a really powerful shop vac. But...Do you have any unbaked bread dough? Do the kids have some fresh Playdough? Either should pick up the shards, including pulling it out of the "cracks" and crevices in your floor, but wear gardening gloves while working with it, then wrap it in several layers of used paper towels and put it in the trash. Good luck!

            12 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Thank you all for suggestions.

              Masking tape! Great idea!!! I think i will "mask-tape" over the whole area and beyond again.

              The dough idea's great too but i have none and no kids either.

              I used old newspaper to pick up the larger pieces so from experience i can state that it won't pick up the smaller ones. The "crumbly" softer texture of damp paper towels allows the small sharp shard to "stick" to the paper towels - sadly can only be used once so yes, i did use a LOT of paper towels. Cost was not on my mind at that time.

              Yes, i wrapped up all bits and pieces in several layers of newpapers - wouldnt want anyone to get hurt from the debris.

              I'm not in the US so no access to any shop vac, rental or otherwise.

              I was in a state of terror when it happened - i didnt have my glasses on (extremely shortsighted) at that time and had to negotiate over the main disaster area to get my glasses and paper towels.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Great idea, Caroline - will have to keep that one handy...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  In relation to Caroline1's bread dough suggestion - soft bread slices work as well in picking up small shards of glass. Cay

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    For laziness purposes, I usually keep a bag of unbaked yeast rolls in the big freezer. They aren't bad if I want fresh yeast rolls in a hurry, but they're also handy for rolling out to make filled Chinese dimsum steamed buns or mini-pizzas or Indian fry bread.... Or for picking up the occasional broken glass! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      I keep for lazy/quick fix/something cheap to snack on purposes, is refrigerated tube biscuits. Now talk about something tacky!!! ;-)

                      1. re: RShea78

                        Do theymake good Chinese steamed buns? '-)

                  2. re: Caroline1

                    Great idea.

                    I've had my Bodum glasses shatter into bits, and like the OP, had no vacuum. I ended up going down on hands & knees trying to "mop" the tile floor with a wet paper towel. Instead of wrapping up the bits in newspaper like the OP, I put the shards in an empty disinfecting wet wipe container. I now keep the empty containers to dispose potentially dangerous material.

                    I have a shop vac, but decided not to use it b/c throwing out the shop vac bag full of glass shards seemed to dangerous for any sanitation worker who might handle it....

                    1. re: OCAnn

                      Would the disposable shop vac bag fit in a hard plastic disposable container? The thought of you on hands and knees cleaning up glass shards is really scary!

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        My shop vac bag is too big for the plastic container. But I like that idea! So much so, that perhaps my wet Swiffer container is big enough to hold the shard-stuffed bag.

                        Cleaning on hands & knees is actually scarier than it sounds. Just start slowly & carefully from a glass-free spot and work outward....

                        1. re: OCAnn

                          label any cut glass as "broken glass" on the container ( i use paper bags, taped up) and draw a skull and crossbones on the bag.

                          ps, ocann, i have some bodum coffee cups that i do not have lots of experience with -- is there a temp shock issue? thanks in advance....

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I had eight Assam double walled glasses ( and broke two. One shattered when it was placed on a tile counter very hard (our fault); the other was indeed a temp shock issue. The glass had been sitting in the cupboard for sometime when I poured hot water from one of those nifty Japanese hot water pots ( It shattered into a billion tiny pieces. In defence of the product, it happened during winter, where it can get to be a chilly 50-60°s indoors here in OC w/o heating on. <g>

                            I haven't had problems with the remaining six glasses which we regularly use for both hot & cold beverages (but not simultaneously).

                            1. re: OCAnn

                              i keep our temps at 60 degrees. i worry about "bursting". maybe i have to "suspend" these till spring, for sure. they look neat, but not at the expense of safety!