Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cleaning up Wet Glass

Cleaning up broken glass can be a serious hassle. Shards fly everywhere and you want to be sure you get them ALL if you're ever inclined to walk around barefoot. What's worse is that all too often, the broken glassware is wet because it had a drink in it at the time. This makes both sweeping and vacuuming tough. The wet shards stick to the floor or counter rather than being easily wrangled by a broom, while a general-purpose household vacuum isn't meant to be used around liquids (and should never be due to risk of electrocution). Luckily, there's a tool that's perfect for these situations - the wet/dry shop-vac!

My parents never owned a shop-vac, and honestly I'm mystified how they got along without one. There are a myriad great uses for shop-vacs, from sucking out the winter dirt from the garage to cleaning up spills, but they really shine when it comes to broken glass.

I've had glass break in two especially challenging places and the shop-vac was a lifesaver both times. The first was when a baby-food jar fell into the garbage disposal. It was short enough that the whole thing fit down there and we couldn't see it, so the next time we turned the device on, it turned that jar into razor-sharp glass gravel. I certainly didn't want to reach down in there to pull out all of that splintered glass (most likely by getting them embedded in my fingers), but since there was plenty of water involved my vacuum was totally unsuitable. Enter the shop-vac and with literally the flick of a switch, my entire problem was sucked away. I simply jammed the end of the hose down into the disposal and every little shard vanished into the tank.

A similar situation occurred when a glass shattered (for no obvious reason) inside the dishwasher. When we opened it up, there was a pile of broken glass on the top rack and little broken pieces that had fallen onto crockery in the bottom rack as well as into the base of the dishwasher itself. Once again, the shop-vac came to the rescue. It's a wet/dry vac, so again the water remaining in the machine was no challenge. I picked out the biggest pieces, sucked up the rest, and then ran a quick wash cycle to be sure I got everything. What could have been an hour-long project was taken care of in moments.

In my experience, wet/dry shop-vacs are relatively inexpensive, last a long time, and can handle jobs that no other single tool is as adept at. I highly recommend that every household have one.

1 comment:

  1. Cool. Beats what I've long done. To get on my kneew and wipe a wet, folded-in-half-or-thirds, paper towel across a horizontal strip, clearing the little landmines (you can feel the little shards under the towel--ie you can tell when the strip is clear--but they will not (usually) cut you), and then advancing to the next strip.

    One good thing about it though is that you end up with a remarkably well cleaned floor!

    (A disturbing though just occurred to me -- tiny shards of glass over a deep shag carpeted floor. I shiver here just thinking about that!)