Can you Vacuum Wet Carpet & Using Shop Vac for Wet Carpets

Soaked Carpet? Not sure if a Vacuum can be used to remove the water?

In this guide you will learn:

  • If either Regular Vacuum or Shop Vac can be used to remove water from carpets,
  • How to use Shop Vac to Remove water from your wet carpet,
  • Why you should not use Regular Vacuum,
  • Differences between Dedicated carpet Extractor and Shop Vac

Tackling wet carpets can be very frustrating and has some possible dangers to keep an eye out for.

This guide will help you by taking you through how to dry your carpet properly using a Shop-Vac.

Can You Use A Shop Vac For Carpets?

Yes, shop vac’s can be used to vacuum wet carpets and to remove water from your carpet in case of a flood situation.

Shop vacs can be one of the best options when it comes to dealing with wet carpets. These Vacuums are designed to have a large capacity to vacuum and hold debris, scraps, or water.

Shop Vacs, also known as wet/dry vacs are fairly easy to use, very powerful, and versatile as they can be used for vacuuming both solids and liquids – making them perfect for drying your carpet.

What Kind Of Shop Vac Should I Get To Use To Collect Water From Carpets?

Here are some factors to consider before buying one if you haven’t already got one.


If the amount of water you are clearing from your carpets is small you typically won’t need a shop vac with a large capacity.

If you are removing a large amount of water, such as after flooding you may need a vacuum with a bigger capacity or even invest in a water pump.

Capacity is not always an issue though when using one to remove water from carpets.

Some shop vacs have a purchasable pump accessory that can suck up water inside the container through a tank drain and dispose of it through a hose elsewhere, like down a drain outside.

A lot of shop vacs don’t come with a hose to attach to the pump accessory so in place you should use a garden hose.


There are a couple of ways to measure how effective a shop vac is and how useful it will be for removing the water from your carpet.

When it comes to vacuuming wet carpets the most important is a measure called sealed pressure, and the higher the number the more inches of water the shop vac can suck up using pressure.

Anything above 75 is a high-quality vacuum.

Think about hose length – sizes can vary some being 7 feet and some going up to 10 feet.

The prices for one can vary through different brands and where you buy them from but it can range from $60 to $200+.

If you want accessories or nozzles you can usually buy these separate online or in-store as well.

Alternatively, You can find places that offer shop vacs for rent which can be cheaper and more convenient.

Wet Carpets?

Call 844-488-0570 for a Risk Free estimate from a Licensed Water Damage Restoration Specialist in your area.

We Can Help Dry out your Carpets & Repair any Water Damage

How To Use A Shop Vac On Wet Carpets

1.Assess your situation

Firstly, you need to consider the source of water on your carpet before vacuuming your wet carpet, was it just a one-time accident like an accidental overflow of a sink or is it continued, for example, a burst pipe.

If it is continued then you will need to fix the issue which is causing the leaking as soon as possible to prevent any further moisture from getting in your carpet.

The first step can be turning off the water supply to your house.

Also, you need to think of the type of water, is it ‘clean’ water like rainwater/tapwater or is it dirty black water coming from the sewer system.

If it is live sewage water, for the protection of you and others we advise getting in contact with a professional team due to the risk of harmful pathogens inside the water. This most likely means carpet removal.

If the water source is a bit in between, for example, a broken shower drain – protective gear like waterproof gloves, goggles and a mask are a good idea before attempting to suck up the water from your carpet with the vacuum.

Appropriate clothing should also be worn such as fully closed shoes.

Next, how long has it been there?

You need to act fast to remove the water from your carpet.

Especially if you smell mildew, this means that mold will start to grow – this can happen within 48 hours.


  • A shop vac – if the leak has made the carpet only damp then you may only need to use cloths and a fan or dehumidifier to dry it.
  • Any nozzles or water filters you might want to use.
  • Dry cloths or towels.
  • A fan or dehumidifier.
  • Pump accessory with a garden hose if desired.
  • Disinfectant or soap and water for cleaning.
  • Water pump – only needed for standing water


First, remove any furniture standing on the carpet to make it easier to get to the area and move around the shop vac.

Also with furniture in the way it blocks air from circulating to help the drying process.

The water or cleaning solution you use when vacuuming your wet carpet could damage your furniture as well.

  • Work out where the water is and if the area you are drying is in a concentrated area.
  • Cordon it off to make sure you or anyone else don’t step on the carpet which could contaminate it with dirt making it more difficult to clean and remove the water.
  • If there are very large amounts of standing water, your best option might be buying a water pump or calling a professional team that has this equipment.
  • Read your shop vacs instruction manual thoroughly for information on settings or adjustments for use on water or you risk breaking your machine.
  • Get your vacuum, open the top and remove any bags or paper filters it may have then attach your water filter if you have one.
  • For flooding make sure all or most of the standing water is removed before this step with either a pump or the shop vac.

Sometimes you don’t have to use a filter, but it is only with some shop vacs that do this please read the guide your shop vac comes with to find out if you can.

4.Getting to work

This part is fairly simple and just requires you to pour soap and water or diluted disinfectant onto the affected area and begin vacuuming the moisture up.

If you are not using a pump accessory you can dispose of the dirty water in your tank by tipping it down the nearest drain.

You can tell your vac bin is full if the motor noise changes or it stops sucking as some shop vacs stop vacuuming when it reaches a certain level.

Be aware: Patch test the cleaning solution you use to check it doesn’t affect your carpet.


After you have removed all the water from your carpet with the shop vac get your cloth or towel and apply pressure using an object or your knees or hands. This will help soak up as much moisture as possible.

Plugin any fans or dehumidifiers and point it at, or put it near the wet area of your carpet. You may need multiple when drying a large area.

Once the carpet has dried for a while pull up your carpet and if the padding is wet it needs removing and replacing.

If the carpet padding is not dried or replaced mold can start growing under your carpet ,making your carpet smell and can be destructive for your home and health.

You could get a professional to come steam clean your carpet to kill any bacteria if necessary.

Continue Reading: How to Dry Wet Carpet Padding

6.Consequences of improper water removal

It is vital all the water in your carpet or padding is removed as it can have long-lasting or irreplaceable effects.

There is a risk of mold or mildew growth which not only gives off a foul odor, but if it is left long enough it doesn’t only ruin your carpet but the mold can eat away at the foundations or subfloor of your house.

This is not only costly for your wallet but also to you or your families health as mold creates bacteria which can make you extremely sick.

Wet Carpet Needs Rescuing?

Call 844-488-0570 for a Risk Free estimate from a Licensed Water Damage Restoration Specialist in your area.

We Can Help Dry out your Carpets & Repair any Water Damage.

How to use a pump accessory for shop vacs

Before I continue, please be aware not all shop vacs can use a pump accessory, this is subjective to the shop vac you own or buy.

Most pumps do not come with a draining hose to add so please use a garden hose.

A pump accessory is an extension to add to the tank drain of your shop vac for easier tank draining.

It is purchasable and does not usually come with the vac

Here is how to use it: (this may vary depending on the brand of pump you buy)

  • Attach the accessory to the tank drain of your shop vac – this is not the hole that your suction hose attaches to.
  • Attach a garden hose to the end of the pump and guide the hose to the closest drain.
  • When your tank is full of water, turn on the pump and drain the water until it reaches the bottom, then turn the pump back off and continue vacuuming until full again.

Can You Use A Regular Vacuum To Collect And Dry Out Water From Carpets?

No, it is heavily advised not to use your ordinary house vacuum for both collecting and drying water from your wet or flooded carpets.

This is because there are major risks such as electrocution if the water mixes with any electrical components in your regular vacuum.

Moreover, almost all household vacuums have filters and bags which are made of materials like cotton making it easy for liquid to seep through into the interior.

Heightening the risk of electrocution and your machine breaking

Shop Vacs are specifically designed to be used on building sites or for water removal but this doesn’t mean they can’t be used for your home or to remove water from your carpet.

Dedicated Carpet Extractor VS Shop Vac

Main differences

Carpet ExtractorShop Vac
-Injects water into the carpet and sucks it back out for more thorough stain and dirt cleaning.
-Most can heat water which also helps remove any hard stains or dirt.
-Usually has a container to hold the carpet cleaning solution to spray on the carpet.  
-Typically more expensive    
-Doesn’t inject water
-Only sucks up present water and some dirt.
-Shop vacuums do not have a heating option.
-Does not come with a container to hold and inject a cleaning solution.  
-Fairly inexpensive

Using a Shop Vac as a carpet extractor

If you do not want to buy a dedicated carpet extractor or do not already own one, you can make your shop vac into a carpet extractor if needed.

You will need a Carpet Nozzle Extractor attachment for this.

The Benefits are that it Frees up space and is much cheaper.

The only large negative is that it will take more time as you have to apply the solution yourself and it might not be as effective.

  1. First, check the diameter of your shop vacs hose and once you have the right extractor nozzle, fit it onto the end of your shop vacs hose.
  2. That’s it, now you can start vacuuming.

Here are some steps to assist you during the vacuuming process:

  • Pour your carpet solution onto the area you want to clean e.g a stain or dirty carpet, then scrub it using an ordinary brushing scrub.
  • Extract it using your shop vac and dry with a cloth and repeat if required.
  • Lastly, dry the area using cloths and applying pressure or by using fans or dehumidifiers around the area.

When To Call A Professional

There are some safety issues to check before, during, and after vacuuming the water out of your carpet. If you think your floor is unstable due to water damage or dangerous it may be wise to seek professional help.

You should also contact a professional if you notice any mold or mildew on your carpet or under the carpet.

Mold poses health risks such as respiratory issues or infection from bacteria if it reaches any open wounds.

Water damage can cause serious damage to the structure of your home if it is left untreated for a long time. It can also cause electrical fires.

We have Water Damage Restoration Technicians that can help Remove the water from your Carpet & Dry out any Water Damage.

For Disasters of all Sizes,available in 95% of the USA

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