Smash! 3 Steps to Take After a Window Breaks (And Before the Repairman Arrives)

Written by KC Glass on . Posted in Blog

Every homeowner both immediately recognizes and inherently dreads the sound of shattering glass that indicates a broken window. Even a single shattered pane can make your home vulnerable to injury, theft, or the elements.

Whether the window breaks during a storm or a backyard baseball game, you must take steps to minimize other damage and protect your home and family until you can have repairs made.

Immediately after a window breaks, clear the area and check any family members or pets for injuries. Then, arrange for a replacement pane with your trusted glass repair person.

After you take these preliminary steps, use the three strategies below to tide your household over until the new pane is securely in place.

1. Secure the Immediate Area

First things first, you don’t want any injuries or property damage on top of a broken window. Clear children, pets, and anyone not capable of helping with cleanup out of the immediate area.

If you need some time to completely clean up the glass, close off the room. No door you can lock? Move big items of furniture to section off the room or string your own makeshift police tape. While these measures won’t completely prevent someone from entering the danger zone, they serve as a reminder not to walk on the nearby flooring.

Make sure to supervise children and pets, who might not understand the reminders used above, until you complete the next step.

2. Clean Up Any Broken Glass

Once you secure the safety of your family and pets, you must clean up the mess. Take these steps to ensure you do so effectively and safely:

  • Put on close-toe shoes and protective gloves.
  • Wrap large pieces of glass with a towel before picking them up.
  • Clear all visible pieces before pulling out the broom or vacuum.

If you have hardwood, tile, or laminate in the area, you can vacuum or sweep. Just clean slowly and thoroughly to avoid damaging your floors or missing glass. Remember, you may not be able to see all glass particles, so once you get what you can see, go over the area again with a wet cloth.

If you have carpeting in the area, use a broom or stiff-bristled brush to agitate the carpet fibers. This action should make the glass more visible. Vacuum once over the area and then go over it again with a handheld attachment. For extra thoroughness, use sturdy tape to pick up any invisible particles.

Dispose of all glass in double-bagged trash bags to eliminate ripping and hazards to your trash crew.

3. Create a Temporary Window Cover

Once you know no one will step on a window glass shard, assess what’s left in the window frame. If large pieces are still attached, put on heavy gloves and test whether or not you can remove them. Dispose of loose pieces with the rest of the glass.

If the remaining glass resists removal, leave it for the professionals. Consider covering these pieces with plastic or bathroom towels so no one touches them by accident.

Once you’re sure none of the pieces will move before the repairman arrives, create a temporary window covering. You want this cover to be as secure and seamless as possible to minimize heat loss, pests, and security threats.

Use heavy duty plastic, tarp, or garbage bags and tape to cover the window opening completely, even if there’s only one broken pane.


To prevent future breakages, identify the root cause. Protecting your windows may prove as simple as enforcing rules about rough play, installing reinforcement window film, or choosing a stronger window type. Consult with a windows or glass expert for more recommendations based on your specific situation.

For more information about household glass, from windows to custom mirrors, read our other blog posts.

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Ken Caryl Glass, Inc.