Cars are great. They do so much for us, and these days, they require less maintenance and upkeep than ever before. That said, there are plenty of things that can go wrong with a car, and one of the scariest is blunt physical damage. Cars need windows so you can see, but when a window breaks, it’s not the least bit fun. There are plenty of options for fixing the window and moving on, but before you can consider those options, you need to deal with the glass. These tips will walk you through a safe, reliable way to clean up broken car window glass.
1. Safety First
Before you get into the actual cleaning, you want to take some precautions to make sure you’re safe. You want to start by getting the vehicle to a place where it isn’t in danger. You also want to remove yourself from the glassy situation. While vehicle glass is designed for a lot of purposes, it can still cut you, and those cuts can be worse than you might expect.
Once you have mitigated any dangerous situations, you want to outfit yourself for effective glass cleaning. This means wearing good shoes and stout gloves. It’s tempting to be lazy about the gloves, but one slip can turn a simple process into a bad day. The gloves are worthwhile. You also want to have a box or trash receptacle that won’t get sliced by the glass and can be safely closed. If you have all of your tools and resources, you’re ready to begin cleaning.
2. Throw Away the Big Stuff
The first step in cleaning glass is to manually remove the large, obvious pieces. Let’s be overly cautious and take a moment to remember to wear gloves for this part. In fact, in many respects, it’s the most dangerous part of the process, so please take your time and be careful.
The large pieces can be discarded in your box (or another receptacle). While you don’t want to add to the mess by shattering additional pieces, you don’t need to be excessively gentle with the glass shards. It’s already broken. As long as you aren’t creating tons of new fragments that will make life difficult, it’s OK if some of the pieces crack or break while you’re cleaning.
The most important step here is to seal your box when you’re done placing glass in it. If you toss it haphazardly, it poses a risk to trash collectors who have to deal with the broken glass later. If it’s sealed, they’ll be just fine.
3. Get a Vacuum
Ultimately, the vacuum is vital to clean the glass. Small pieces will exist; you won’t be able to get them all with your hands; and they are just as dangerous as the big pieces. A vacuum will allow you to get every tiny shard.
Unfortunately, this can feel a little tricky. Many people use car wash or gas station vacuums on their cars. You can’t exactly drive your vehicle to one of those vacuums, so you need a different plan. If you have access to a shop vac, that’s ideal, but a hand vacuum or standard floor vacuum can work in a pinch.
If you’re using a floor vacuum, make sure you’re using the hose setting. It sounds obvious, but trying to clean glass through the rollers doesn’t work very well. It would also be an awkward way to try and vacuum a car.
The trick to vacuuming is to be thorough. One way or another, every shard is eventually going to be found and removed. Try to make sure it’s the tool that finds them and not your unsuspecting body. That’s not fun.
When you’re done, you want to dispose of the glass. Empty the vacuum into a box (or whatever you used with the larger shards) and seal it.
4. Make a Plan to Fix the Window
Well done! You cleaned up all of the glass. That still leaves you with a hole in your window, and you don’t want to ignore that. Even a little rain can get through that gap and damage electrical components inside the car. And you can be sure that because you have a compromised window, it’s definitely going to rain.
Schedule a repair for the window as soon as you reasonably can. Advanced Auto Glass can fix your broken car window and get it back to a good place. If for any reason you have to wait on the repair, try to get a temporary solution up and running. You can use cardboard and garbage bags to semi-waterproof the window. Unfortunately, securing the window is something that won’t be very doable until it’s fixed.