How to Clean a Shop VacuumThere are pros and cons to the shop vacuum. A pro is that it’s a great tool for sucking up just about anything. A con is that the place where all that nasty stuff goes has to be cleaned eventually. It’s true! It’s a chore many never consider, but cleaning the inside of a wet/dry vacuum helps prevent the breeding of germs and the spread of airborne illnesses. We can all agree those are things we want to avoid, so go ahead and learn how to clean a shop vacuum.

Clean the Tank

Empty the contents of the shop vacuum into a trash bag and throw them away. Once the wet/dry vacuum is empty, fill the tank with warm water and a cup of bleach. Let this solution sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Follow the steps below to clean other parts of the vacuum while you wait!

After the tank has soaked, dump out most of the water. Put on some gloves, grab a sponge or a rag, and scrub the tank. Once you’ve finished scrubbing, dump the rest of the water. Let the tank sit out until it is fully dry.

Hose and Attachments

Remove the hose and all attachments. Run clean water through the hose using either a garden hose or your bathtub faucet. Spray a disinfectant into the hose to cut down on bacteria. You can soak other attachments in a bucket filled with warm soapy water.


To clean the filter, remove it from the shop vac. Shake it (this is best done outside) or put it under clean running water. Using water is especially helpful if the filter contains a lot of fine dust. Allow the filter to completely dry before replacing it.


When all of the parts have been cleaned and are dried, put them back together. That’s it!

It’s Easy to Clean a Shop Vacuum

This chore couldn’t be simpler! Keep your shop vac clean to keep the air around you healthier. Use these steps to clean your wet/dry vacuum every couple of months, depending on how frequently the vacuum is used.