Can you vacuum glass?

In short: it is not smart to vacuum glass, because shards of glass can damage vacuum cleaner parts. Already vacuumed up glass? Then it is smart to get a new vacuum cleaner bag and you may also need a new vacuum cleaner filter.

We use a vacuum cleaner to suck up dust, pet hair and small dirt. But beware: you can't just vacuum up every type of dirt. For example, if we look at vacuuming liquids, you need a special hydrogen vacuum cleaner. What about glass shards? Can you vacuum glass with a normal vacuum cleaner? I figured it out!

Why vacuum glass?

Around me I got a lot of questions about what you can and cannot vacuum. One of the biggest questions is about vacuuming glass. And that is – especially within this time – not a silly question. Does a glass ornament break after hitting the Christmas tree? Then of course you want to know whether you can use the vacuum cleaner for this. The same is true of course for a broken wine glass or a mirror.

It's not a crazy thought, because you want to be sure that there is no glass left on the floor. Often people first take a dustpan for the larger shards of glass, after which the vacuum cleaner is used for the small shards of glass. That turns out not to be as good an idea as it seems…

Vacuuming glass is not a good idea

I strongly advise to don't use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning glass shards on the floor. It can destroy a normal vacuum cleaner. Whether you pick up a bagless Dyson vacuum cleaner or a handheld vacuum cleaner: it can break. Vacuuming shards of glass can result in the following situations:

  • The glass can get stuck in the vacuum cleaner hose or floor brush
  • The vacuum cleaner bag can be broken by sharp glass shards
  • Small glass particles can get into the vacuum cleaner motor

With the above consequences, the vacuum cleaner can decrease suction power. Or even worse: the vacuum cleaner can even break. This is not only the case with glass: vacuuming pine needles can also cause blockages and loss of suction power.

I strongly advise to don't use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning glass shards on the floor. It can destroy a normal vacuum cleaner.

Shards of glass can also cause accidents when cleaning the vacuum cleaner. If you take the dust bag out of the vacuum cleaner, the glass can cause a cut if you're not careful. The same applies to cleaning a HEPA filter and other accessories.

Replace the vacuum cleaner bag and filter when you have vacuumed glass

Have you already cleaned up glass with your vacuum cleaner? Then it is very important to immediately provide the vacuum cleaner with a new vacuum cleaner bag and a new filter, before you continue vacuuming. When buying new filters, it is of course important that you check whether they are suitable for your vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaner brandView filters
AEG View filters
Philips View filters
Bosch View filters
Miele View filters
Dyson View filters
Numatic View filters

A construction vacuum cleaner can vacuum glass

I would like to take a moment to consider a special type of vacuum cleaner that is suitable for vacuuming glass: the construction vacuum cleaner. This type of vacuum cleaner, also called an all-purpose vacuum cleaner, can suck up sharp objects just fine. This is because there is often a reinforced vacuum cleaner hose and a stronger vacuum cleaner bag.

It's also common to find sharp objects like glass in a car. Prevent your vacuum cleaner from getting damaged by opting for a suitable cordless vacuum for cars.

Alternatives to cleaning up broken glass

But, how can you properly clean up glass on the floor? When you drop something made of glass, it is first of all smart to put on shoes. This prevents you from standing in the glass later. Keep pets and children away.

Then it is wise to grab a dustpan for the large shards of glass.

Grab a broom for the bigger shards

For the smaller shards it is wise to use an indoor broom: this is often also suitable for sweeping small dirt such as sand or stones. Glass can also be swept together well with such a broom. It is a good idea to knock out the broom afterwards.

Done with sweeping and do you see no more glass and all the glass thrown in the trash? Then you can now safely use the vacuum cleaner to vacuum the floor again. Does he still come in handy!

In summary: if you have broken something made of glass, do not immediately grab the vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming glass can damage parts of the vacuum cleaner. If you have already vacuumed glass, it is important to provide the vacuum cleaner with a new vacuum cleaner bag and a new vacuum cleaner filter.

Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.

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