How to Clean Carpet With a Shop Vac?

By Gladys K. Connelly Updated September 8, 2021

Use a shop vac for deep cleaning your carpet

How to Clean Carpet With a Shop Vac?

While regular stick vacs are great for everyday cleaning, you need to bring out the big guns for getting tough stains out of the carpet.

Yes, I’m talking about a shop vac.

If you don’t have a shop vac at home, don’t worry, as there are many rental options available. Alternatively, you can buy a shop vac if your carpet is prone to staining due to heavy traffic in the house.

Now that that’s settled, let’s discuss how to clean your carpet using a shop vac. I admit that a shop vac may be intimidating for people who’re used to working with handheld vacuums, but using it isn’t as hard as it seems.

What You’ll Need

Here are the things you need for removing a carpet stain using a shop vac.

Step by Step Instructions 

Before beginning, make sure to plug the shop vac as close to the stain as possible.

1.Apply Detergent

Use a handful of water to dampen the soiled spot on the carpet and then apply the cleaning solution. Make sure the stain remover is carpet-safe and doesn’t cause discoloration.

Read the instructions on the detergent packaging to use it properly. Take a scrub brush and scrub the carpet in a circular motion to loosen the stain.

2.Use Slotted Attachment

Attach the fine slotted attachment to your wet dry vac and vacuum the cleaning solution and water off the carpet.

3.Blot the Stain

Once again, put some water on the carpet and use paper towels to pick up leftover suds.

4.Remove Moisture

Vacuum the area again to suck out the excess moisture. Keep following these steps unless the stain is completely gone.


After you’ve removed all stains from the carpet, let it air dry. You can keep it in indirect sunlight or inside under a fan to remove the moisture.

Tips and Warning

If you’ve never used a shop vac before, it may take you a while to get used to it as operating a wet-dry vac is slightly different than an upright vac. However, follow the instructions correctly, and you won’t have any trouble.

Here are some tips to make the process easier.

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  • Don’t buy a new shop vac if you only have to remove a few minor stains. Renting a carpet cleaner is a much cheaper alternative.
  • If concentrated, mix the cleaner with water to make it suitable for carpet cleaning.
  • If you’re unsure about the cleaner’s effect, use it on an inconspicuous part of the carpet to test for discoloration.
  • You can use a homemade vinegar solution to clean your carpet. Mix a quarter cup of white vinegar in a quarter cup of water to make the solution.
  • Alternatively, mix a tablespoon of household ammonia in half a cup of lukewarm water. Mix and use it for cleaning synthetic carpets. Be careful when working with ammonia as it may release toxic fumes.


Final Words

Getting your carpets professionally cleaned every time there’s a pet accident, or you spill your coffee is not only a burden on your wallet but can also reduce the carpet’s lifespan.

Instead, you can use a shop vac to get rid of tough stains. If you can’t afford to buy one, rent a wet-dry vacuum every few weeks to give your carpet a thorough cleaning.

Now, it’s time for you to try this method and tell me the following:

Leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments below.

About the Author

Gladys K. Connelly

As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.

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