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Old 09-29-2009, 09:27 PM   #1
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


Is it safe to clean those cylindrical shop vac filters with water? I've been working a lot with drywall so it is very clogged up and needs cleaning.

Also what is the best way to use a shop vac - with or without the bag? Should I be using the bag for drywall dust while not use it for bigger debris?

I find most attachements such as floor brushes just don't perform well.

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Old 09-30-2009, 02:00 AM   #2
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


I just put the filter inside of a garbage bag and tap them on the ground to knock most of the dust out before washing them with water. Works fine for the HEPA filters for my Ridgid wet/dry vac. At $30 a pop, I'd be upset if they weren't washable.

The better filters for my previous, much-hated wet/dry vacuum, a Shop-Vac brand unit, were also washable, but definitely don't hold up as well as the filters for my current Ridgid.

Bags? Hated 'em. Awful, dirty, time-consuming.

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Old 09-30-2009, 08:44 AM   #3
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


The bags may seem a pain but you should definitely be using them for drywall dust. It is so fine it will almost instantly clog the regular filter, reduce the airflow/suction, and diminish the performance.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:45 AM   #4
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


i also use the hepas for fine dust. i clean them just like kAdams does, but i also use my air compressor and shot them from the inside out.

they also sell a pre-filter, that goes over the filter and attaches with a rubber ring, they are easy to use and clean, and seem to help. not sure if that is what you meant by bags....
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:00 AM   #5
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


I've cleaned the HEPA filter in my vacuum with water. You have to make sure it's completely dry before you use it again.

However, my shop vac's filter is more like a disposal filter. It came with an extra one. If shaking it and maybe using a soft brush doesn't unclog it, I'd probably just replace it.

Generally, you only remove the filter when you use it to pick up liquid.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


I have been cleaning the filters in my shop vac with water for over twenty years and haven't had a problem. I use the garden hose. Just don't blast them with high pressure and like CMW said, make sure they are dry. With water, there is a lot less mess, no dust flying around. I rinse them in the grass so I don't make a mess in the garage.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:05 PM   #7
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


Actually this may sound crazy but think it would work in the dishwasher? Also wondering about the sanitary implications involved. Probably not recommended I guess. :P

I've just been washing it in my laundry tub and that seems to be the best bet. I just let the filter sit and turn the dehumidifier to blow air on it. My industrial fan would maybe work better, think I'll try that next time.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:40 AM   #8
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


Believe it or not! I have a 30+ year old Craftsman shop vac that still works just fine, remember when things used to be made better? I remove most of the "stuff" on my filter like the old school erasers, bump the filter against a tree in my yard. Then I use my air hose to blow it out from the inside, then a good hand wash in my shop sink, brushing between the pleats, and let it dry thoroughly. One trick I learned: I made a cage from 1/2" square hardware cloth to just fit inside the canister, then I place a "contractor type" garbage bag into the canister, slip the wire cage into the canister to keep the vacuum from sucking in the bag, and this collects all the stuff and makes clean-up easier on those really dirty/dusty jobs. As far as the dishwasher cleaning-IMO--I would think that water hot enough to clean dishes, along with the spray action might tear up a filter. Thanks, David
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:28 PM   #9
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


[quote=Red Squirrel;365578]Actually this may sound crazy but think it would work in the dishwasher? Also wondering about the sanitary implications involved. Probably not recommended I guess. :P

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Old 12-14-2009, 05:18 AM   #10
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


Believe it or not! I have a 30+ year old Craftsman shop vac that still works just fine, remember when things used to be made better? I remove most of the "stuff" on my filter like the old school erasers, bump the filter against a tree in my yard.

I believe it, mine just died a couple weeks ago But I have to say I used it a LOT being a contractor, lots and lots of drywall dust was sucked through that machine. I bet I went through 5 or6 filters in it's life.I am going to miss it.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:09 AM   #11
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


i took two 5 gal. buckets and with some manipulation, turned one of my vacs into a water vac for drywall dust.
works great! no filter needed, but the cleanout is kinda messy......

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Old 12-14-2009, 12:25 PM   #12
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


The hepa filter I just bought says it's wet/dry. Since you can use it to vaccuum water off the floor I don't see why you can't hose it off and/or use it wet.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:41 PM   #13
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


I just rinse out the "cheapo" ridgid ones (I think they're like 15$ which is way too much) after giving them a good beating into a plastic bag. I'm on my second one 'cause I made the very poor choice of vacuuming up a rather large quantity of small styrofoam pellets that just stuck to every damn thing -- cleaning the filter was hopeless.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:52 AM   #14
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Best way to clean a shop vac filter


I picked up a couple extension hoses, and whenever possible when I'm doing something dusty I run the extension hoses from the exhaust out the window. I dont mind dust getting on the ground outside, and by doing this i can remove the filter alltogether.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:28 PM   #15
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hmmm, i'd advise against that.... the filter also keeps the impellers and motor clean....

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