What Should I Do If a Candy Thermometer Breaks?

What Should I Do If a Candy Thermometer Breaks?

If a candy thermometer with mercury in it breaks, it must be carefully cleaned up using gloves, a squeegee, Ziploc bags and other protective supplies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Mercury fumes are very dangerous, and all windows should be opened after the thermometer breaks.

While wearing rubber, latex or nitrile gloves, pick up glass or other sharp objects using a paper towel, and place them in a Ziploc bag; label it as hazardous, instructs the EPA. Use a squeegee or cardboard to gather the mercury beads in one place, and collect them with an eyedropper. Squeeze the mercury onto a damp paper towel, and place the towel in a labeled Ziploc bag.

To collect smaller beads of mercury, apply shaving cream to the area, and pat it with a small paintbrush. Alternatively, use duct tape to the area, and place the paintbrush or tape in a labeled Ziploc bag. Finally, put the Ziploc bags, gloves and all other materials used for cleanup in a labeled trash bag, and tie it. Local health departments provide specific directions for disposal of the trash bag.