Spontaneous Glass Breakage: Why It Happens and How To (Safely) Clean It Up

spontaneous glass breakage

Spontaneous glass breakage— it’s a technical term for a terrifying phenomenon. Glass shower doors in bathrooms around the country are exploding without any warning, as are sliding glass doors, skylights, and oven glass. Why does spontaneous glass breakage occur, and how do you clean it up safely when it happens? Read on for more information about this alarming trend.

Why Does Spontaneous Glass Breakage Occur?

There’s one thing that all of the reported occurrences of spontaneous glass breakage have in common: the glass that’s breaking is tempered glass. Tempered glass is subjected to a heat treatment process that strengthens the glass, which makes it the ideal material for shower doors. It’s very durable, and it can handle the wear-and-tear that goes with daily use.

Another reason that tempered glass is used for shower doors is the way it breaks. If a tempered glass shower door breaks, it doesn’t break into large shards that could hurt—or kill— the person in the shower but rather bursts into a shower of small pieces.

However, while the smaller pieces that tempered glass breaks into are ostensibly safer than the large glass shards of standard glass, they’re still dangerous— not to mention terrifying— to the person who has the bad fortune to be showering when spontaneous glass breakage occurs.

Why is tempered glass more prone to this unexpected phenomenon? Well, one explanation is the process of tempering the glass. When the glass is heated, it’s more resistant to direct impact— so if you bump into the front of the glass shower door, it won’t break—  but it’s far more susceptible to side impact— such as slamming the shower door.

One small side-edge fissure can result in the whole door shattering hours or even days after the impact occurred. Day-to-day wear and tear on your shower door, even if you take special care to avoid damaging the glass, could end in spontaneous glass breakage.

How Do You Clean Up After Spontaneous Glass Breakage?

Imagine y0u’re showering, and suddenly— BAM!— your glass shower door explodes. You’re surrounded by tiny bits of glass, and you’ve got shampoo in your eyes. What do you do? Or, an even worse case scenario, your child is showering, and you hear a loud noise and then your child screams. How do you rescue your child from the wreckage without incurring further harm?

First of all, VERY CAREFULLY remove yourself or your child from the shower. Address any first aid needs— removing embedded glass and bandaging cuts— before you go any further. If you were in the midst of the shower, dry yourself and put shoes on before you proceed.

Next, grab a broom. Sweep as much of the broken glass as possible into one pile, and then remove it to a trash can or bag. Once you’ve picked up the most obvious bits, sprinkle the affected area with baby powder or baking soda— that will help prevent the smallest bits from sticking to the broom. You can use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to do one final sweep around the bathroom to ensure that you’ve gotten every last bit of glass. Only then should you allow children or pets into the room.

Here at Helping Hands, we’re concerned about your safety and well-being. We clean your home with the utmost care, employing highly-trained, hard-working professionals who adhere to a strict checklist to ensure the highest quality service.

Interested in learning more about everything Helping Hands has to offer? Contact us today!