How to clean up fiberglass insulation

Written by nick davis
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How to clean up fiberglass insulation
It is important to wear the proper clothing when removing and cleaning up fibreglass insulation. (Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images)

Fibreglass insulation not only keeps wind, heat and cold from entering your home, the material also keeps heat and air conditioning from escaping from your home also. Fibreglass insulation is available in rolls and in pieces for blowing into small spaces. The material is made from fibres of glass and these fibres are unhealthy to inhale. When cleaning up fibreglass insulation, it is important to wear the proper gear so you don't get the substance on your hands, in your eyes and in your lungs and that you dispose of the material properly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Long trousers
  • Work gloves
  • Full-face respirator or half-face respirator with HEPA cartridge
  • Work boots or shoes
  • Water hose
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Twist ties or rope
  • HEPA or ULPA vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Stiff broom
  • Dust pan

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  1. 1

    Put on a long-sleeve shirt, long trousers and work gloves to keep the fibreglass insulation off your skin. Put on a full-face respirator or half-face respirator with a HEPA cartridge to keep the insulation out of your lungs, and work boots or shoes.

  2. 2

    Wet the insulation, if possible, with a water hose to keep the fibreglass dust to a minimum. Slowly start pulling the insulation from the walls, floor or ceiling of the structure you are removing it from. If you are working in an environment where you can't wet the insulation, work in sections pulling the insulation from the area.

  3. 3

    Place the insulation in plastic trash bags. Tie the bags closed with a twist tie or rope. If removing blown-in insulation, use a HEPA or ULPA vacuum cleaner only, available at equipment rental services and home improvement centres, to suck the insulation out of the wall or cavity it is in. Regular vacuum cleaners will only blow the fibreglass fragments throughout the structure you are working in.

  4. 4

    Sweep any small fibreglass fragments with a stiff broom onto a dust pan. Dispose of the fragments in a trash bag. Close the bag and tie it with a twist tie or rope. If using a vacuum cleaner to remove the small fragments, again, use a HEPA or ULPA vacuum cleaner.

  5. 5

    Remove the bags from the structure you are working in through a window or door. You do not want to track fibreglass fragments through an area that is clean or where pets or children are.

  6. 6

    Take the bags of fibreglass insulation to a landfill, if your area's trash pickup doesn't accept building supplies, or recycling facility.

Tips and warnings

  • Dispose of the clothing you are wearing after the removal process or wash them separately to remove any fibreglass fragments. Wipe your washing machine with a disposable cloth afterward.
  • Do not use paper dust masks when removing fibreglass insulation from a structure. These masks do not block small fragments of fibreglass from entering your lungs.

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