How to Use Shop Vac for Water: Step-by-Step – all best home

by Oct 21, 2021Cleaning

Do you know how to use shop vac for water. A wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner is the perfect tool for your workshop or home. But with so many settings and filters, it’s sometimes a little scary to know where to start.

It’s time to drop the rubber scraper and learn how to master a vacuum cleaner. Unlike regular household vacuum cleaners, these practical pieces of kits can soak up water as well as everyday clutter on the floor.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about using a shop vacuum cleaner in this helpful guide. From suction to drainage, you will feel like a pro in no time.

Vacuuming water with a wet dry vacuum cleaner

  • Check the tank is empty and insert the filter or foam sleeve
  • Connect vacuum in and turn it on
  • Start cleaning spilled using the floor nozzle or the cracking tool
  • Empty the tank when it is full
  • Clean and dry your shop vacuum cleaner, and make sure all waste is removed from the container
  • Store it is ready for next time

How to use Shop Vac for Water

What to look for in the best wet dry vacuum cleaner

It is best to consider what you want to use your wet/dry vacuum cleaner for first and foremost. This will determine the size and weight of the store vacuum cleaner you need.

A large 10-gallon store vacuum cleaner has a huge capacity, but it does not fit in your home’s wardrobe. On the other hand, a compact model will store well, but it will not be of much use for large amounts of excess water.

So you should choose one that suits your needs and storage space. A smaller one is fine for everyday use in the home. But if you want one to suck more water up from your pond or pool, a wet / dry vacuum cleaner with a larger container is better to save you from emptying the tank all the time.

How to use a shop vacuum cleaner for water – step by step


A wet/dry vacuum cleaner is perfect for cleaning up all kinds of clutter in the house, from dirt in the garage to water collected from a broken pipe. It can save you expensive water damage in your home. For example, this Stanley wet / dry vacuum cleaner comes in a variety of sizes to suit any task.

This is why each machine has two filters: a dry cartridge filter and a foam filter to suck up water. There is also a disposable filter bag for when cleaning dry dust.

Although some wet/dry vacuum cleaners, like this Bissell, only have one filter and do not use bags. Instead, you use the special accessory for liquid spills, so it saves you having to change filters and bags around.

But you should make sure that your vacuum cleaner is assembled correctly and ready for use. You do not want to use dry paper filters to vacuum water.

Let us now dive into our guide on how to use a shop vac for water.

What you need Step by step instructions


1. Empty the tank

Make sure the vacuum cleaner is unplugged before you start. You do not want it to start accidentally and cause damage!

If this is the first time you use a shop vac, just skip this step. Empty the collection tank and remove any dry dirt and grime that has been previously sucked up. It is important to dispose of all the dust in the container before restarting your vacuum cleaner.

2. Replace the filters and remove the bag

If there is a dry filter in place, remove it and replace it with a foam filter. Your user guide will explain how to do this for your in-store vacuum cleaner model.

You can still use a dry filter for small amounts of liquid, but it is better to use the wet filter for larger amounts of standing water.

You should also never use the wet filter to clean dry clutter with a shop vacuum cleaner. It does not provide adequate protection and can damage the engine.

Once the foam filter is installed, remove the dry dust bag from your store vacuum cleaner.

3. Insert the vacuum cleaner

It sounds simple, but the wet/dry vacuum must be grounded. It provides a safe path for electric current to pass through. So this reduces your risk of electric shock if the vacuum cleaner does not work.

Plug the vacuum cleaner into a suitable socket. Make sure it is properly installed and grounded according to the rules.

4. Vacuum the liquids

Once your in-store vacuum cleaner is plugged in, turn it on and switch to the proper liquid setting.

Time to start vacuuming!

You can use the floor nozzle to vacuum water from flat surfaces, such as spilled milk or a wet blanket. However, in a flooded area with large amounts of water, the level is too high for this tool.

In this case, you can use the slit nozzle instead. It is best if the end of the nozzle is not completely immersed so that you can make sure that there is still good airflow through the hose.

5. Empty the water tank when it is full

Be aware of when the tank is getting full.

You may notice that the engine gets noisier, which is not a good thing. This is generally caused by the float regulator covering the engine when the tank has a maximum capacity. It makes the engine work harder, so you want to prevent that from happening.

Some models have a flow mechanism that automatically shuts off the airflow when the collection tank is full. You may notice a loud noise when the engine speed increases and the suction will also stop.


When these things happen, turn off your store vacuum cleaner and unplug the power cord. Otherwise, it may damage the engine and be expensive to repair. So act fast!

Then lift the hose up to drain excess liquid back into the tank. Pour the water down and drain. Then it is important to check the dust tank and empty all debris collected in there.

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6. Clean your appliance

You want to keep your wet/dry vacuum cleaner to look its best. Then use warm water and dish soap to moisten a soft cloth, then wipe the vacuum cleaner.

It is also easy to clean the tank. Empty any dust, dirt, or pet hair inside, then wash with warm water and dish soap. Then wipe it off with a dry, soft cloth.

Finally, you should check the foam filters or cartridges for any damage. Any tears or small holes can cause dust problems coming out of your store vacuum cleaner. If you discover problems, replace the filter immediately to avoid damage.

7. Store your vacuum cleaner

Make sure the collection tank is clean and empty before storing your wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

Then wrap the cord and hang it on the unit or in the hose holder if it has one. Some models have storage for the accessories, so make sure they are clipped on there. This makes them easy to access the next time you want to use your store vacuum cleaner.

You should keep vacuum cleaners inside to help keep them safe and extend their life.

Safety tips

  • It is important to have the correct filters in place on your store vacuum cleaner. Use a foam filter for wet surfaces and a dry cartridge and dry dust bag for non-liquid spillage.
  • Never use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner without a filter. It can cause dust to blow out of the port, which can damage the engine.
  • Baking soda and other powder-based carpet removers or fresheners should not be cleaned with your shop vacuum cleaner.
  • If you need an extension cord, stick to approved 10 amp versions. To clean wet spills, use a weatherproof extension cord.
  • Place the extension on a flat surface in such a way that it is not a trip hazard.
  • Keep your shop vacuum cleaner upright at all times. This prevents water from running from the hose and into the engine.
  • Never use shop vacuum cleaners on the side or upside down.
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