CFL globes (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) friend or fiend!


Do you have any idea of how to clean up the latest you beaut, eco friendly (eco fiendly I reckon), energy saving, cost saving CLF bulb if its broken? I was totally in the dark (pun intended) and after schooling myself up found my first thought was to call in the HazMat team.

Due to the dangerous content of mercury within each one you really need to follow recommended strict guidelines for the correct cleanup and disposal for your own safety.

Beware broken CFL globes

Beware broken CFL globes

Before we even begin DO NOT SWEEP OR VACUUM!

1)            CONTAIN the area 

Get everyone out of the room including pets.  Open all windows and doors to let fresh air in.  Turn off any cooling or heating devices.  Watch your

step on leaving the room for approx 5-15 mins. (allows the mercury to resettle as little balls.)

2)            CLEAN UP TOOLS

Rubber gloves, duct or sticky tape, stiff paper or cardboard, wet paper towel, or damp cloth or even wet ones.  A container in order of preference:  a glass jar with lid, plastic with lid or a zipper plastic bag.  (Some recommend two plastic bags

read on)

3)             Time to CLEAN

With rubber gloves on pick up larger pieces

Scoop up the rest with the cardboard or stiff paper

Use duct or sticky tape to pick up the shards

Wipe the rest with the wet cloth/paper towel/wet ones

Place everything gloves, used tape, cardboard/paper damp cloth/towel

into container and seal.

(If using plastic bags it is suggested one be used for the broken glass alone

and the second to take everything else including gloves.)

4)            CHECK area

Check for powder, glass or mercury balls. Repeat step 3 if necessary.  Vacuuming is now ok but with no attachments.  Ensure vacuum bag is discarded or its canister is flushed clean.  Don’t forget to check yourself ie clothing shoes. If globe broke onto bedding, clothing etc it is recommended that they be tossed out.

5)            DISPOSAL

Definitely not the recycle bin as it can contaminate recyclable items. This too goes for ones that are no longer working. The latter needs to be wrapped up enough to prevent breakage.  Best to check with your local council as each may have their own means for disposal.

6)            Continue  to AIR room

Leave heating/cooling off if poss.  If the CFL bulb was broken on carpet remember to leave windows open when you vacuum for the next few weeks as a precaution in case vacuuming releases missed mercury embedded in carpet.  (*This can be between 17-40%.)

Having read this info you can see why it is highly recommended NOT to have globes  placed near curtained areas, kept away from carpeted rooms ( can’t be cutting bits out of it) and not used for low sitting lamps. It is also recommended that a distance of 25 cm away from you is kept only as a precaution against UV emissions.

Right now I’m thinking CANDLES!

Lots and lots and lots of Candles.



Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

*New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

United States Environmental Protection Agency



  1. […] CFL globes (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) friend or fiend!. […]

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