Q&A / 

Wet-Dry Vac Tips

The tips in this guide were supplied by hundreds of subscribers to my FREE AsktheBuilder.com newsletter. I'm grateful to them for their willingness to share what they've discovered.

The inspiration for this guide came from a very good friend and neighbor, Bob Broadhurst. Bob emailed me one day commenting on how he had used his wet-dry vac to unclog a tub drain.

That got me to thinking about all the other useful and crazy things you can do with these machines. You're about to discover these machines can be used for quite a bit.

I know my mother wishes that wet-dry vacs had been invented when that pillow fight of mine moved outdoors that summer night. My neighborhood friends and I created quite a mess on our neighbor's, Ms. Zint, front lawn in the middle of that humid night.

Ms. Zint, whose twin sister was the Wicked Witch of the West, glared at all of us as we tried picking up thousands of feathers by hand and with a rake. It didn't take long to see that wasn't working so my mom sent me to get our standard upright vacuum. Oh was my mother embarrassed and angry.

You'll also find in this guide links to some of my favorite wet-dry vac products. I hope you find those useful in case you're thinking of upgrading to a new vac.

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Tim Carter
Founder - www.AsktheBuilder.com



Unclog Tub Drains - Remove Hair

Bob Broadhurst - Near NYC, Fred Casper - Juliette, GA

Remove Water From Toilets and Toilet Tanks for Repair Purposes or Winterizing

Jim from CT, Richard Grossman, Dustin Summers, Rosemary Hughes, Mike Baron - Jonestown, PA, Doug Behnke - Delaware, OH, Frank Job, Thomas Webb - Cincinnati, OH, Greg - Kalamazoo, MI, Richard Cowan, Randall Johnson - Raleigh, NC, Paul Vawter - Columbus, OH, Billy - West Coast, Paul Jones - Swedesboro, NJ

Remove Grit, Dirt Muck From Sump Pit

Ines Illgen

Drain Water Lines BEFORE Soldering Using Vac Suction

Very Satisfied Newsletter Reader, George Husted - Muir, MI, Paul Vawter - Columbus, OH, Tony Veltri - Lakeland, TN

Clean Drain Line from Dishwasher to Sink

Kevin - Indianapolis, IN

Remove Water or Salt Pellets from Water Softener

Rafael Goyco - San Antonio, TX

Clean Sediment from Water Heater

Bob Casey, George Axtell - Hannibal, NY

Suck Hot Water Gone Cold While Thawing Frozen Septic Line

Mike Schweitzer - Stone Lake, WI

Blow Out Overflow Drain in Bath Sinks

Tim Tuohey - White Lake, MI

Blow Out Water Lines to Winterize a Summer Home

Quentin Day - Peterborough, Ontario CA

Locating Sewer Gas Smell



Pull String Through Conduit - Attach String to Small Cotton Ball

Jim - CT, Todd Fratzel - Newport, NH, Purcell McCue - VA, Barry - Tiverton, RI, Doug Dobbs, Mike Hancock - Rochelle, GA, Richard Cowan, Paul Edworthy - Toronto, Ontario, Bob Lyons - Avon, OH

Aid in Changing Light Bulbs

Roger Hamel



Unclog AC Drip Tray Drain Line

David Richie

Clean Out Dryer Vent Line

Mike, Bob Casey, Judy McQueen, Jerry Gershner - Ossining, NY, Tommy Starnes - Hampton, VA, Claude Mellish - Painted Post, NY

Suck AC Condensation Line - Prevents Clogs

Charles Picard, Marilyn Barker-Ayer - New Port Richey, FL, Tommy Starnes - Hampton, VA, Archie Paul - Wellington, FL

Blow Out Dryer Lint - Be Sure Dryer is Empty - Close Dryer Door

Patricia Lee - Tullahoma, TN, Ann Suja - Zionsville, IN, Butch Stearnes - Pekin, IL


Remove Spilled Paint From Carpet

Amy R., Wichita, KS, Jonathan Spicker - Blue Ash, OH


Use with Stain Solver as a Spot Carpet Cleaner - Pet Messes, Red Wine, Juice Boxes, etc. Saturate stain with Stain Solver, let sit for a few moments, VAC up liquid. Carpet is NEW!

Joanie Thole - Residence Unknown


Drain an Aquarium


Remove COLD Ashes from Fireplace Ash Dump

Kevin - Indianapolis, IN

Clean Up Water From Washing Machine Drain Hose Mistake

Bobby - Kansas

Remove Air from Clothes Packing Bags

Niki Moore - Houston, TX

Defrost a Freezer - I use it all the time, but I use a hair dryer to heat the ice. The ice melts so fast, a wet/ dry vac can pull the water off the floor of the freezer. I can defrost 3 inches of ice in 15 minutes. Dry the freezer and get it running again in that time.

Richard Friese - Mundelein, IL, Moshe Miller - Brooklyn, NY

Pick Up Items in Tight Places - Cover Hose with Panty Hose

William Roller, Randall Johnson - Raleigh, NC, James Turnham - Brooklyn Park, MN

Massage Scalp After Haircut - Clean Hair from Floor

Greg - PA

Blow Air Into a Water Bed to Straighten Out Baffles and Liner After a Move

Ann Suja - Zionsville, IN

Pull Silver Speaker Center Circle Back Into Place

Garry Blight - Yarram, Australia

Emergency Dentist Suction Pump - Saved Patients from Drowning!

Dan Jenkins DDS - Riverside, CA

Suck Up Flood Water from Basement

Greg Weglarz

Clean Refrigerator Coils - Blowing and Sucking

Craig - Hartford, CT

Retrieve Sock From Behind Clothes Dryer

Michael Laws - Summerville, SC

Blow Off Scroll Saw Projects

Tony Campise - Groves, TX

Vacuum Expensive HEPA Filters

Use Vac Handle Tubes as Long Filler Devices for watering Christmas Tree

George Babcock - Fair Oaks, CA

Appliance Repair - Use to remove water from washing machine or dishwasher hoses

Garry - Bristol, VT



Suck Up Acorns

Jeffrey Fordell - Canton, MI, Mike Smith - Benbrook, TX,

Suck up Sweet Gum Balls and Pecans

Ben Wetherill, Steve Marcus - Charlotte, NC

Suck up Beechnuts


Suck Up Olives

Jeffrey Barker - Orange, CA

Blow Out Garden Hose Before Winter

Ken Murray of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada

Suck Leaves From Outdoor Pond

Brian from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Remove Water From Outdoor Pond

Al Forte - Odessa, TX

Blow Out Lawn Sprinkler System

Brian from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Creating Mulch - Use to Grind Dry Leaves

Anonymous Monkey Shines

Remove Seeds from Plants including Buckwheat

Ines Illgen, Bob Moorman - Troy AL

Remove Stones from Grass Put There by Snow Plowing and Blowing

Darryl Reid

Substitute / Stand-in Blower for Leaves / Grass Clippings / Dust

Mike Hart, Barbara Belkoff, Asa - Portland, OR, Rance - Fredericksburg, VA, T. Ball - Northwest, PA, Richard Cowan, Larry Hall - Birdsboro, PA, Judy McQueen, Delora, Steve - Albuquerque, NM

Remove Occupy Paul's Drains Critter Encampments in Downspout Drain Lines

Paul - Hebron, CT

Blow Out Water from Pond Recirculation Lines

Greg Ruble - Waukee, IA

Suck Up Dirt Around Broken Sprinkler Lines During Repair - Dirt Clogs Head

Daniel Yankovich - Phoenix, AZ



Blow Up Kids Pool Toys and Air Mattresses

Scott - Lynnwood, WA, Jeff Campbell - Framingham, MA, Dave - MN, Brenda Hernandez - Frederick, MD

Remove Air From Pool and Lake Toys for Winter Storage

Dave - MN

Blow Up Pool Freeze-Compression Pillow Under Pool Cover

Jeff Campbell - Framingham, MA

Blow Out Pool Filter Lines

John Adams, Mike Hart, Rick Morse, Jean-Marc Pelletier

Drain Hot Tub

Aki, Steve Tobin - Roswell, GA

Blow Out Pool and Hot Tub Filters

Steve Tobin - Roswell, GA

Remove Water from TOP of Pool Cover

Carl Iaccarino - Guilford, CT

Remove Sand From Pool Filter

Wayne Graff


Remove Hornets, Yellow Jackets, Wasps from Nests

Pete Capitain - North Babylon, NY, George Blakey, Mark Wagner, Matt Anderson, Kevin Alberts - Ada, MI, Richard Havanec - Derby, CT, Ken Rupkalvis - San Antonio, TX, Barry Stewart - Chilliwack, BC, Canada, Ed Frost - Bent Mountain, VA, Paul - Hebron, CT

Suck Up Stink Bugs

Ferenc Ayer - Vienna, VA

Suck up Flies in Abandoned House

John Leek - Chestertown, MD

Suck Up Mice in Complicated Box Equipped with Microswitch, Relay and Peanut Butter

Matt - Jersey City, NJ

Doggie Blow Dryer After Bath - Be Sure No Dust in Canister - Muffle to Protect Ears

Kent LaVake - Stillwater, MN

Vacuum Hair Directly From Dog

Anonymous - Cincinnati, OH, Judy McQueen

Remove Box Elder Beetles From Vinyl Siding

Karen Vogler - Staten Island, NY

Clean a Horse - Blow Dust - Best When Too Cold to Wash

Jack Chaneyworth - Waco, TX



Electric Excavator - Suck Dirt and Rocks From Narrow Holes or Trenches

Jim Stark - North Las Vegas, NV, Dan Davies - Atascadero, CA, Tom Warmoth - Roscoe, IL, Mike Haucke - Seattle, WA, Bruce Krouse - Gilbert, PA

Fence Post Removal - Remove Dirt from Sides of Post

Andrew - Perch, Australia

Remove Sleeping Bats from Inside Home

Cary Wager - Galva, IL

Suck #57 Stone From Damaged Retaining Wall Prior to Repair

George Lambertson - Birmingham, AL



Blow Leaves From Gutters

Bob Noe - Annadale, VA, Stephanie Laskey, Lockport, NY, Russell Taylor / Shawn Cofield - Nanaimo, BC Canada



Blow or Suck Leaves in Outdoor Drain Lines

Bob Noe - Annadale, VA



Remove Tractor Transmission Oil

Chris Lang of Lonoke, Arkansas

Blow / Suck Out Debris in Car Heating Vents - Solves Noisy Fan

Joseph Le Vangie - Batavia, OH



Suck Water from Seadoo Jetski

Tim Tuohey - White Lake, MI

Blow Out RV Water Supply Lines

Randy Turner - Little Rock, AR

Drying Off a Motorcycle

Neil Seifert



Accelerate the Burning of Charcoal for Cooking in a Rush

Will - Peachtree City, GA

Suck Liquid Cow Manure From Huge Dairy Barn Junction Boxes

Ron Munro - Armstrong, BC, Canada

Connect Hose to Exhaust Port - Shoot Small OJ Cans Harmlessly at Kids

Name Withheld to protect Guilty

Blow Dead Husband and Dog's Ashes into Lake from Favorite Overlook

Anne - Withheld last name and city/state


Steve Sherwood wrote:

Between our house and the church I pastor, we have three vacuums that use small cone shaped filters, all of which are expensive to replace. I took a 24" piece of 3 PVC pipe and capped one end. I cut a hole for my shop vac hose about half way up the side of the pipe. I turn the vac on and drop the filters into the open end of the pipe. This gets a lot of the excess dirt out of the cone shaped filters, extending their usefulness, and a good deal of that dirt stays in the bottom of the pipe cap which saves wear and tear on my shop vac filter.



Shop-Vac Here's a link to perhaps one of the most powerful wet-dry vacs. It's got plenty of power, that's for sure. Once you're at Amazon, be sure to use their search feature to view all the current choices of wet-dry vacs.
Shop-Vac with Pump Here's one with a built-in PUMP! Now that can really come in handy if you're in need of a temporary sump pump or you need to get the water out of the machine. No more lifting heavy containers of water. It can pump up to 50 feet in elevation and can do up to 6 gallons per minute.


One Response to Wet-Dry Vac Tips

  1. Great Tips about the dry and wet vacuum cleaner, can I use the vacuum cleaner on the hardwood floor.
    Thanks For Sharing!!

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