Broken CFL Clean-Up

Properly cleaning up a broken Compact Fluorescent Light is different from how you may have handled broken incandescent bulbs in the past. This is because exposure to mercury vapor from broken CFL bulbs needs to be minimized.

Basic Clean-up

The basic steps for cleaning up a broken CFL bulb are:

  1. Get people and pets out of the room and ventilate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Carefully remove broken pieces, debris, and dust without sweeping or vacuuming.
  3. Store all debris and clean-up material in a glass jar with a gum-seal metal lid outside for recycling.
  4. Recycle to keep mercury from contaminating the environment.

Become familiar with the detailed recommendations for clean-up from US EPA and State guidelines. Our broken CFL clean-up kit has detailed instructions based on these guidelines.


Here are a few tips to remember to help prevent breaking CFL bulbs:

  • When screwing or unscrewing CFL bulbs, grasp the base NOT the spiral glass tube.
  • Use CFL bulbs only in lamps that are secure and not likely to tip over.
  • Use a drop-cloth to catch any potential debris if a bulb breaks.

Demonstration videos

Cleaning Up a Broken Compact Fluorescent Light

Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Clean-up Kits

Broken CFL Clean-up Kits

Government Guidelines for Cleaning Up Broken CFL Bulbs



Recycling Information

EPA Recycling

Earth911 CFL Recycler Locator

Home Depot


Frequently Asked Questions about Compact Fluorescent Lighting