Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Clean Up A Broken CFL Bulb

Your Nanny State, which is banning incandescent bulbs and forcing you to replace them with these dim, expensive bio-hazards says:
* Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.

* Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.

* Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system (H&AC), if you have one.

* Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb: 1) Stiff paper or cardboard; 2) Sticky tape (e.g., duct tape); 3)Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); 4) Glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s)

* Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)

* Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.

* Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.

* Vacuuming of hard surfaces during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. (NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.) If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind: 1) Keep a window or door to the outdoors open; 2) Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and 3) Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.

* Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.

* Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your area. Some states and communities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.

* Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.

* Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours.

* The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the AC system if you have one, close the doors to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in this area.

* After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as practical, for several hours.

How to clean up a broken incandescent bulb:

* Cuss
* Sweep
* Empty dustpan


  1. What I find funny is the people who speak of the greatness of the CFL bulbs never mention LED lightbulbs. They last about 50,000 hours.

    The only downside right now is the price up front.

  2. I had already formed an opinion about the CFL bulbs when this type of information started coming out a few years back, so it just confirmed my pre-conceived notions. I still find that overhead Fluorescent lighting, CFL and LED lights all seem to suck the life right out of me. Only incandescent bulbs provide that warm, happy light.

  3. I wonder how I managed to grow to adulthood. I had mercury around on a regular basis. We'd clean the lead out of gun barrels with mercury. A plug in one end and then just roll a good sized bead of liquid mercury around, the lead would stick to the mercury, we'd put the mercury back in the jar, when it got too lead-filled to work anymore we'd through it away and get some more.

    Today, everyone is so damned terrified of lead and mercury. Sigh. The real rules of dealing with lead and mercury are simple. Do not eat the stuff. If you get it all over you, wash it off.

    Effing idiot government and "science" types, anyway. Let's all panic over stuff that comes out of the effing ground, God help us all if it goes back into the ground. Huh?

  4. I love these things, never had to clean up a broken one though,
    I have one that's been on for more than 2 years that's 17,000+ hours non stop,
    I'm still waiting for It to burn out I payed like 3-4 bucks for It.
    If I did break one I'm sure as hell not calling a fuckin hazmat team to come clean It up, seriously Unless this thing Is going to give me the equivalent of working 20 year's In a asbestos factory the moment It breaks I'm NOT worried about It.