Monday, November 9, 2009

Glass Dismissed

When I was growing up, I was a total bowl-cutted, overall-ed, tomboy bruiser. And my best friend, Chloe, was a graceful, cherubic, feminine ballerina. It would have been enough to make me very jealous, except that I had one big advantage over her: Despite her elegance in a leotard, Chloe was a real klutz. She tripped, she dropped things, and rarely a meal would go by when she would not accidentally spill her drink all over the table. One Halloween, she even backed into a candle and lit her gorgeous long, wavy, hair on fire (just one of the advantages of the bowl cut).

But even if you are not naturally a bull-in-a-china-shop type, you've been there: an errant elbow, a poor grip, a too-tippy stack of dishes... Whatever the cause, there are few sounds universally more unpleasant than that of something fragile (i.e. your china teapot) connecting with something hard (i.e. the ground) and shattering into a million pieces. The blow is two-pronged: first the feeling of loss, and then the overwhelming, dangerous mess all over your floor. But, if you keep your head, at least the cleanup doesn't need to be a painful experience. Here is the right way (no brooms!) to clean up broken glass or china quickly and efficiently.

And FYI, Chloe has grown up to be a graceful, beautiful woman (the hair grew back), who agilely balances her cherubic baby in one arm while arranging flowers with the other (with nary a drop of water spilled). But she's such a good friend that I've decided to forgive her for it.

How to Clean Up Broken Glass
1. Protect Yourself: First things first: Go put on rubber gloves and shoes. I don't care how big of an Annie Lennox fan you are, no one likes walking on, walking on, broken glass. If there are any children or animals in the area where the glass was broken, check them for cuts or injuries and immediately remove them from the area until the mess is cleaned up.
2. Remove the Big Shards: Very carefully use your gloved hands to pick up the biggest shards and place them in a paper or double-layered plastic grocery bag. Be sure to check the floor as far as fifteen feet away from the point of impact- you'll be amazed at how far the glass will fly.
3. Vacuum: Using the hose attachment of your vacuum, suck up any remaining fragments you can see. Check under nearly furniture, as well. Don't, under any circumstances, use a broom -- tiny shards can get stuck in the bristles and come loose later, making an even bigger mess. If you must defy me and use a broom, throw it away afterwards and get a new one.
4. Get the Tiny Pieces: There is likely to be glass dust and tiny pieces right near the point of impact. Press a soft piece of bread against the ground- it will pick up and hold any tiny stray pieces. Then, to be extra sure, use damp paper towels to wipe down the whole area, the vacuum hose, and the soles of your shoes. Place the paper towels in the grocery bag, tie it up, and put it in the garbage. Also, remove the vacuum bag and place it in the garbage, and take it out of the house.

There. Just because a glass may be broken doesn't mean your heart needs to be, too.


Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that you can use a piece of whitebread to get the last tiny pieces of glass. Haven`t tried it but it sounds interesting :-)

Lily said...

Yup- I mentioned that in the post. It really works!

Chloe said...

Klutz doesn't begin to explain my inability to not break something every two seconds, or lite myself on fire...When I was pregnant with Oaklon klutz got taken to a whole other level, and I would have nightmares of dropping him once he was born...sad really....good news though baby still remains fully intact and unbroken or dropped. I am sure this post will come in handy in the not to distant future.

Anonymous said...

Loved the Annie Lennox reference. I also really love your blog!!

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!