shop vac for carpet cleaning

How to Use a Shop Vac for Carpet Cleaning

There are some cleaning tools in your home that only serve one purpose. You can spend lots of money on tools that are only designed to do one job. Buying these tools means your house becomes filled with those ‘one trick wonders’ and your wallet is soon empty from buying so many different cleaning tools. Why not purchase a tool that can help with all your cleaning jobs, whether they be big or small? A shop vac, sometimes called a wet/dry vac, is a versatile and extremely helpful tool. You will soon find yourself using this powerful tool to help you all around your home and garden. One job in particular where a shop vac becomes extremely helpful is cleaning your carpets. Using a shop vac for carpet cleaning is easy and very effective. You will wonder why you haven’t used a shop vac for carpet cleaning sooner!

What Is a Shop Vac?

A shop vac, or wet/dry vac, is so much more than your regular household vacuums. A shop vac has an extremely powerful suction, which allows it to easily clean large messes. These tools can not only clean up soil, leaves, dust and dirt from tiny crevices, but also in large quantities. They have big cylinder bodies designed to hold large amounts of dirt and debris. This makes these vacuums useful for both indoor and outdoor use. They are extremely sturdy, which makes them great at tackling the big clean-up projects. The biggest difference between a regular vacuum and a shop vac is the ability to hold water. A shop vac is designed to suck up large amounts of water. You could even use it to clean up giant puddles if you wanted. This ability to pick up  up water is what makes them ideal for carpet cleaning.

Using a Shop Vac for Carpet Cleaning

Carpets and rugs are a great way for adding extra warmth and style to your home. You may soon notice discoloration or staining on your carpets, especially if they are in a high traffic area. Carpets can hold on to stains, solid soil, mildew and even bacteria. It is important to clean your carpets semi-frequently even if you don’t see visible stains. This helps to reduce the mildew and bacteria that could be building up underneath the carpet in the carpet padding. Because your carpet is a fabric it is more difficult to clean than hardwood or tile flooring. A wet/dry vac is much more effective at cleaning up the large messes, like a tipped over potted plant, than your average vacuum. Because it can also clean up water, you can use carpet cleaners or carpet shampoos to deep clean your carpet without renting an expensive carpet cleaner.  

Step 1: Preparation

The first thing you need to do is prepare your carpet to be cleaned. If you are using your shop vac for carpet in an entire room you should probably remove whatever furniture you can from the room first. This not only clears the floor and makes it easier to clean, but it protects your furniture from the moisture and cleaners that are going to be used for your carpets. If you are just using your shop vac for carpet on an area rug or accent rug, I wouldn’t worry about removing all the furniture. Just the furniture that sits on top of the rug is fine. I would also recommend running a tradition vacuum through your carpet first. The more dust and dirt that you can remove before hand the better. It will make the deep cleaning go much fast and be more effective.

Step 2: Treating Stains

Look for any stains, or places in your carpet that need a little extra cleaning and use a commercial stain remover. Make sure you read the directions on the bottle to insure that it is safe to use on carpets. You may want to test the cleaner on an inconspicuous place first to test for color fastness. If your test does not bleach the carpet, or make the colors run, continue to treat each stain spot. Let the spot treatment sit for the allotted amount of time, before cleaning. Use a clean rag to blot any remaining stain remover. While you are waiting for the spot treatment to sit, you can mix a carpet cleaner with water. Make sure you use the correct ratios of carpet cleaner to water for best results.

Step 3: Cleaning

Using a watering can you can begin to pour your carpet cleaning solution over your carpet. Work in small sections so that you do not get overwhelmed. Remember that your shop vac can lift the water but it will not disperse the solution. You will need to do that by hand. Using a stiff- bristled brush or broom spread the solution around evenly and scrub the carpet in troubled areas. You can now use your shop vac for carpet cleaning to suck up the cleaning solution. Using a floor attachment, press down firmly to insure all the cleaning solution is removed. Rinse the carpet with clean water and use your shop vac to suck up all the water.  You can use a towel to clean up any remaining bubbles. Don’t be afraid to pass over sections a few times until it is clean and dry.

Helpful Tips for Using a Shop Vac for Carpet Cleaning

Although you can rent commercial carpet cleaners, using your shop vac for carpet cleaning will save you time and money. There are specific filters designed for wet pick up. Check your owner’s manual before using your shop vac for carpet cleaning to make sure you have the proper filters installed. You can also buy attachments for your shop vac that will help clean your carpets. Floor attachments, brush attachments, and fine slotted attachments can all be helpful for working with wet solutions on carpet. Most attachments come standard with a shop vac, but you can always purchase separately if needed. Lastly, it is easiest to use a shop vac for carpet cleaning if you work in small sections. Make sure each section is completely dry before moving on to another section. You may need to work a section a few times before all the stains are removed.

In Conclusion

A shop vac is a versatile and helpful tool to have around the home and garden. Using a shop vac for carpet cleaning will save you from spending a fortune on renting a carpet cleaner. If you are using your shop vac to regularly clean your carpets they will not only look better, but they will last longer. Considering how powerful and helpful a shop vac can be, they are not too expensive. So pick up a shop vac to help you clean your carpets. You won’t regret it!   

Amy O'Brien

I am a mother, homeowner, and a DIY kind of gal. Whether it’s backpacking in the mountains or throwing a BBQ in my backyard, I love bringing my family to the great outdoors!

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