The Right Ways to Clean up Broken Window Glass

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated September 24, 2021
Kid playing baseball outside house
Cavan Images/Cavan via Getty Images

Be smart, and be safe

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Like it or not, a broken window is something every homeowner or renter is going to face at some point or another. Dealing with a broken window isn’t just about managing all that sharp glass, either. Sometimes it means getting your entire window repaired. Here are six tips to make sure you get it done safely—and in a snap!

1. Assess the Damage

Before taking action, it’s important to know just what you’re dealing with, all broken pieces of glass are not created equal.

Partially Broken or Cracked Windows

If the window is only cracked or the broken pieces still intact, examine the frame surrounding it and see if the glass is relatively secure for now. Once you’ve done this, go ahead and skip to step 2.

Totally Broken or Shattered Windows

While securing larger pieces of glass is the main job when the window in question is only partially broken or cracked, a shattered window that has been completely broken is about carefully determining how far the glass went so you can thoroughly map your clean-up. 

Remember, glass doesn’t just fall onto the floor when it shatters in a window. Make sure you’re checking all the nearby furnishings for glass shards, too. When glass shatters, it moves at speeds up to 3,000 miles per hour, so don’t be surprised if the glass has traveled farther than you expected.

2. Rope Off Area

Whether the window is entirely broken and there’s shattered glass everywhere, or there’s just a crack, it’s important that you make sure everyone in your household stays away from the area. If you feel like a visual reminder would be helpful, painter’s tape is a great way to remind folks that they’re entering the proverbial danger zone.

3. Wear the Right Clothes

Resist the urge to tackle this project in shorts and flip flops and play it safe. Before you start the task of cleaning up the broken glass in your home, make sure you’re wearing:

  • Long sleeves

  • Thick pants, like jeans

  • Work boots (or footwear with reinforcement)

  • Work gloves (NOT rubber gloves, those do not offer protection from sharp broken glass.) 

4. Secure the Site

Large windows in living room -

We have windows in our homes for more than a nice view. Windows help keep out insects, dust, and rain. While you’re waiting for the repair professionals to come to your home, you’ll need to take temporary measure to secure the site:

  • Remove large, dangling pieces of glass carefully with your gloved hands.

  • If they don’t come away easily, use the back of a hammer to gently shimmy them free.

  • Cover the open window with plywood or plastic tarping.

  • If the window glass is secure but cracked, put painter’s tape over the crack.

5. Clean up Broken Glass

How you clean up the broken glass in your home depends on the kind of surface upon which it shattered. Hardwood floors and carpeted floors require slightly different techniques.

Non-Carpeted Floors

When cleaning up glass on hard surfaces, follow this credo: sweep, vacuum, sweep again. Do all three of these tasks slowly and carefully, particularly when vacuuming. If glass gets caught in your vacuum it can drag and scratch your floor or recoil out of the machine making it a safety risk.

Carpeted Floors

Carpeted floors require their own special technique when it comes to cleaning up broken window glass. First, using gloved hands carefully remove any visible pieces of glass from the carpet. Second, carefully and slowly vacuum the carpet. Finally, press duct tape over the carpet in areas where you expect glass shards may remain. When you pull up the tape the glass will come with it. 

Hardwood or carpeted, once you have swept up and/or collected all of the broken glass, double-bag it using sturdy kitchen trash bags and make sure they go directly in the garbage.

6. Call a Glass Repair Professional

Once you’ve taken up an inventory on just the extent of the damage, it’s time for you to contact a glass repair specialist. While it’s important to move quickly to get your window repaired or replaced, don’t skip the important step of making sure you get at least three quotes before you hire a service. 

Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring

  • Do you repair single windows?

  • Is the cost of removing my broken window included in your estimate?

  • Does this project require a permit? Can you get one if required?

  • What kind of warranty do you offer?

  • How much time do you anticipate this project taking?

  • Can you provide references?

  • Are you licensed and insured?

  • Can you provide an itemized estimate?


Can I repair the broken window glass myself?

Newer windows are easier to repair than older ones. Many window companies sell repair kits for their products that can be purchased online or at hardware stores. Older windows may be trickier and could require the assistance of a trained professional.

How much does it cost to have broken windows repaired?

It costs $350 on average to repair broken window glass, but most people spend between $200 and $500.

How long does it typically take to have broken windows replaced?

Window replacement typically takes just a day to complete, but it may take longer depending on the availability of the professionals hired to do the job.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.