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Maryland - CFL Campaign

Clean Up Guidelines

The EPA recommends the following steps should be taken if a CFL is broken:

  1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
  2. Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag.

    • Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag.

    • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
  3. Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag.

    • Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.

    • Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
  4. If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet:

    • First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.

    • If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in or protected outdoor location for normal disposal. Use a long extension cord (rated for the device) to operate the vacuum (i.e., leave the vacuum running) outside the dwelling for a minimum of sixty (60) minutes in order to flush out the mercury from the inside of the vacuum cleaner.

Note: Do not dispose of CFLs in an incinerator, fireplace or other burning device. Never use household cleaners to cleanup mercury spills.