Can You Vacuum Glass With A Shop Vac?

Do you already possess a shop vac vacuum cleaner in your house? Are you planning to replace it with a new one or get it repaired? in that case, you're probably wondering what kinds of messes a shop vac is suitable for.

Surprisingly, your Shop-Vac can offer plenty of help in cleaning around the home. However, one of the main questions that most home cleaners raise is how to handle broken glass pieces using a Shop-Vac.

Vacuum cleaners have made our lives so much easier that we don't think twice before using them for just about any spill or mess around the house. But, does it concern you to use your Shop-Vac when cleaning up pieces of glass, especially those tiny glass shards on your floor?

An upright vacuum cleaner may or may not be suitable, and here is what you should know about shop vacuum cleaners.

Can You Use a Shop Vac to Vacuum Up the Glass?

It is a no-brainer that picking up large pieces of broken glass can cause a nasty wound or even serious injuries in some cases. Ideally, you should avoid trying to clean up large shards of glass or even smaller shards.

Glass can cut through your skin without any difficulty and cause you intense pain as you try to pick it out of the many layers of your skin.

You should know that using vacuum cleaners has become mainstream in houses, offices, and industrial spaces. Hence, it isn't a surprise why people would consider vacuuming broken glass off their floor.

But can you actually vacuum broken glass shards and pieces off the floor using Shop Vac? As far as the concept of removing broken pieces of glass from the house floor goes, you should know that any high-quality vacuum cleaner such as Shop-Vac can suffice for small glass shards.

In simple words, you cannot use a vacuum to clean up broken glass pieces, significantly bigger pieces. Wear protective gear such as thick gloves, eye goggles, and don't forget to wear shoes (thick-soled shoes).

Avoid working with open-toed footwear. Instead, make sure you have closed-toed shoes during the vacuuming process.

Can You Vacuum Glass with a Dyson?


Most people consider vacuuming nearly everything off the floor with the hope of cleaning all the mess on the floor within minutes. But, in combination with larger pieces of glass shards, smaller pieces are also hazardous to safety.

A Dyson vacuum cannot pick up a broken class due to hose attachment issues as small pieces of glass can stick into the hose. If you don't have a tear-resistant bag inside the vacuum, smaller glass pieces can tear the bag and lodge into the motor.

Dust and debris might also get caught inside the motor in most cases. So, good luck cleaning the huge mess that's going to form inside the motor of your Dyson vacuum cleaner when you use it to vacuum glass pieces.

Does Vacuuming Glass Damage the Vacuum?

Yes, vacuuming glass can damage your vacuum cleaner, regardless of whether they're older or newer vacuums. Pieces of glass can tear the bag, affect the motor, and cause a debris buildup which is a huge mess. The main brush can also suffer from damage due to glass shards, including the fan.

Can a Shop Vac Pick Up Broken Glass?

Can a Shop Vac Pick Up Broken Glass

Here're a few tips that you can use before getting into the step-by-step process of vacuuming small pieces of glass.

Using a Vacuum Cleaner to Clean Broken Glass Shards


Newer vacuums have several power settings, so try going with a low power setting at first.


Now, you should gradually move the power setting towards the full power mode to suck up all the leftover small glass shards.


Take a flashlight to search for any pieces that you may have missed. Avoid wearing flip-flops for your safety.

Step 1: Removing Larger Pieces of Glass First

Firstly, you should have all the required material to clean away the larger pieces of glass from the floor. This includes a broom, sweeper, dust bin, and paper towels. Use these before you start vacuuming fine glass pieces off of the floor.

Ensure no children or pet is near the site of broken glass to prevent serious injuries. Once you get a broom, start sweeping the larger chunks of broken glass off the floor.

You can also use a brush or dustpan to clean the larger glass pieces off the floor. Make sure that you sweep thoroughly and gather all the glass shards and debris in a safe corner once you sweep all the larger pieces using a broom.

Step 2: Gather Small Shards Using Damp Paper Towels

Once you sweep the area after picking off large glass pieces, try grabbing the remaining medium-sized glass pieces using damp paper towels. Don't plunge onto the glass pieces too hard; otherwise, they might tear into the paper towels.

Since vacuum cleaners don't usually work well with moisture, try to soak up any liquid that you may have spilled along with the broken glass. This will also reduce the risk of electrocution through the electric vacuum cleaner.

Not to mention, if you are not using a dry vacuum cleaner like Shop vacuum, you may risk spoiling your tear-resistant bag inside the vacuum if you pick up wet food or liquids.

Step 3: Vacuum Smaller Shattered Glass Fragments Using Shop-Vac

This next step is quite simple and basically holds the answer to this topic. You should vacuum glass pieces that are too small. The best approach is to not leave any tiny shards on the floor by sweeping all of it. Hence, you should only vacuum extremely tiny glass pieces.

Check the main floor head and vacuum hose before beginning the vacuuming process. If you are using an upright vacuum cleaner, make sure that you check the rotating brushes or any spinning brush available in the design.

Once you ensure that the vacuum is ready to use, start to vacuum glass pieces. Avoid going full power from the start as it can block your vacuum hose and cause the redistribution of glass onto the floor.

Step 4: Ensure Proper Vacuum Bag Disposal

When you vacuum glass shards off your floor, keep an eye on the dust bag. You have to be mindful of when it might be full. Try wrapping the dust bag into lots of newspaper or a cardboard box for the safety of those handling your trash. Or at the very least, you can label the dust bag when you throw it in the trash can with "contains glass."

How to Clean Up the Broken Glass without a Vacuum?

How to Clean Up the Broken Glass without a Vacuum

Take a look at some of the alternative methods of cleaning broken glass before you start vacuuming tiny pieces off of the floor.


If you lack paper towels inside the house, try using moist pieces of bread that can stick the tiny and even slightly bigger pieces of broken glass onto them.


The damp flesh potatoes can also act as moist bread or paper towels in picking up the pieces of broken glass all over the floor. Wear protective gloves at all times and pick up the tiniest glass pieces off the floor within a short time using potatoes cut in half (length-wise). Make sure to check the floor for any leftover starch residue.

Damp Paper Towel

Damp paper towels can be a great help if you want to avoid using a vacuum cleaner on broken glass. If you dampen the paper towels slightly and use them to pick up medium and tiny pieces of glass from the floor, it should work.


If you're a professional DIY-er, this thought may have already crossed your mind, especially when reading about the potato and bread methods. Whether masking tape or duct tape, you can use them to stick the tiny pieces of glass onto them.

Be careful when you collect those tape pieces into one big pile because glass pieces can easily cut through tape and skin.

Dustpan and Broom

This is a no-brainer because even if you wish to use a vacuum cleaner to pick up all the glass pieces, you will have to opt for a dustpan and broom combination. You should wear gloves even if you plan to broom and sweep the larger and smaller pieces away.

While brooms and sweepers are best for window cleaning and door cleaning, when you are onto big pieces of glass on the floor, avoid clogging up too much in one place to reduce the risk of experiencing any cuts or injuries.


Now you know the required tips, techniques, and a step-by-step guide to help you with vacuuming glass off the floor. Remember that your safety is the priority. That's why you have to wear protective gloves at all times.

If you have the time to go for alternative methods, they should be your first choice. But if you're in a rush, vacuuming according to the way explained above can help you get the chore done quickly.