how to clean glass and powder from the carpet in my apartment?
November 29, 2012 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Fluorescent bulbs explosion -- how to clean glass and powder from the carpet? Broken glass is everywhere. And carpets are everywhere.

Someone was changing fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen, dropped them on the floor, then dropped some more bulbs. All these 4 long bulbs exploded, and now glass and powder is everywhere, even went somehow to the bedrooms through the closed doors.
Except for the kitchen and bathroom, the apartment is "wall to wall carpet", and all this carpet is full of tiny pieces of glass + powder.
The person who did all this, swept and vacuumed the floors. I keep finding glass pieces in the carpet here and there every day, more than a month later. I want to ask landlord to wash the carpets, vacuum with shampoo.
Or, should it be done somehow else?
Maintenance people came before, but did nothing so far. I am waiting for them to come again, hope they will come today.
I am in Texas, small college town. This is an apartment complex.
posted by Oli D. to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Neither washing nor any kind of shampoo is going to remove glass in the carpet - it doesn't dissolve or something. Just borrow a better vacuum cleaner.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:28 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here is the EPA's instructions for cleaning up fluorescent bulb breakage.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:32 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

The EPA instructions say not to vacuum, but I guess that horse has already left the barn and any mercury contamination has already happened. Try using tape.
posted by empath at 8:46 AM on November 29, 2012

Best answer: Find a local commercial / industrial tool hire company. Rent their most powerful commercial vacuum cleaner for a day.
posted by pont at 8:54 AM on November 29, 2012

Best answer: The only benefit washing is likely to have is that the suction of the washer may pick up a few bits that your vacuum cleaner missed.

Going over the carpet with a lint roller may pick up some more of the smaller shards of glass.

What you probably need now is a really good vacuum cleaner. I'd personally make sure the room is well-ventilated, then dispose of the filters and bag from the vacuum cleaner once the job is done, just in case there's any residual mercury.
posted by pipeski at 9:04 AM on November 29, 2012

Best answer: As others have said: A better vacuum, such as a Kirby or similar. You might be able to rent one. A Kirby (for example), seals to the carpet and pulls things up from under the carpet as well. I have one and know how they work and they are pretty amazing. I don't sell them, though.
posted by TinWhistle at 9:33 AM on November 29, 2012

Others have weighed in on cleanup already, but I'll add the advice to NOT go barefoot on that carpet (like, ever). College apartment carpeting is generally pretty vile to begin with, and really, no matter how much anyone vacuums or lint-rolls, there's still the potential for glass bits to remain lurking until the carpet is ripped out and replaced.
posted by aecorwin at 9:42 AM on November 29, 2012

After a few weeks, mercury vapours are not going to be a huge concern. For fluorescent bulbs, that's a problem for the first few hours or days. The EPA's recommendations deal with the period immediately after the bulb breaks. After a month, that damage has already been done.

I'd rent an industrial vacuum and go over the floor. Try to get one with a fine particle filter, like a HEPA one. The shampoo will not remove the glass, but still might be worth doing to remove any powder residue from the inside of the bulbs.
posted by bonehead at 10:53 AM on November 29, 2012

The truck mounted vacuums some carpet cleaning companies use have a lot more air flow and suction than any portable vacuum you can put your hands on and their rates are pretty reasonable.
posted by Mitheral at 2:58 PM on November 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for your help! All this disaster was done by the maintenance woman sent by apartment office ( I think she was drunk that day), so I wanted them to fix the mess. And I don't have money for anything now, anyway...
I wanted to know better what I should ask for, and be calm as well.

The maintenance guy came with pretty powerful vacuum, the kind that stays outside, while he vacuumed the apartment, so at least the dust went out and didn't fly in the room.

The carpet now is much better, and fluffy, too!
posted by Oli D. at 5:27 PM on January 7, 2013

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