How Does a Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Work?

The Wet and Dry vacuum cleaner is similar to the basic canister cleaner, it is designed to tackle liquid spills as well as dry dirt and dust. It was primarily used for heavy duty jobs, mainly in commercial properties. However, newer, compact models in various sizes have recently been designed by manufacturers for domestic use.

The wet and dry cleaner is handy in any working environment and can also be used around the home to clean just like a normal top rated vacuums, with the added bonus of being able to deal with liquid spillage and damp or wet patches. It can take on all types of dirt and liquid waste, regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors.

The internal electrical components of the wet and dry cleaner are well insulated and housed separately to the integral workings of the machine. This makes the cleaner safe to use with no risk of electrocution to the user, or damage to the machine. It does not require much maintenance, though the filters will require cleaning and possibly replacing, especially after extended use.

Knowing how to use and maintain a wet and dry vacuum cleaner is important, as not only can it suck up liquid, damp waste, and dirt, it can also be a handy multi-faceted tool for both inside and outside the home.

Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Design

The basic design of a wet and dry cleaner is quite simple. Instead of using a vacuum bag, the wet and dry cleaner usually uses a two bucket system that separates the liquids from the solids into two different chambers.

Dirt is sucked up through an intake port in the cleaner; it travels along a tube with the debris and liquids. The air flow then decreases over the buckets, this drop in speed effectively loosens the air's grip, so the liquid droplets and heavier dirt particles can fall out of the air stream and into the buckets.

The air current is then drawn through a motorized fan and exits through the exhaust port.  Because it dissolves debris and dirt particles in the water inside the bucket, the air that is expelled will have far less dirt in it compared to a standard vacuum cleaner.

Some wet and dry vacuum cleaner models also have a blower function. These models are able to expel air out rapidly, as well as being able to draw air in. This can be useful for pushing dust, leaves or other debris into piles before gathering it up.

If you regularly clean and clear debris etc from large areas, inside or out, then choose a blower function model.

Every vacuum cleaner comes with different attachments. Some brush attachments are used to scrape off dust particles before being sucked up into the hose. Other attachments have a narrow ending to reach every nook and cranny.

There are different attachments for cleaning mats, car seats etc. Wet and dry cleaners can also be used for buffing and vacuuming hardwood floors with a specialized buffer brush attachment. The top of the range wet and dry cleaners come with a set of interchangeable brushes; these can include a wide path head and a spinner scrubber and some have brushes for cleaning grout from floor tiles.


Types of Wet and Dry Cleaners

Large: the largest cleaners are usually better equipped for the job. Not only are they the quickest and most thorough at cleaning, they also have the most capacity. However, they do tend to be quite bulky and heavy.

Medium: these cleaners are a good compromise, both in compactness and performance and will do well in any situation.

Small: the best handheld vacuum cleaners are great for portability or if you are short on space, though it is important to remember that you will sacrifice capacity and performance.

Mini: as with the small wet and dry cleaner, these don’t have the capacity or performance of the larger models, though they are easier to store and lighter to carry or move around.

Using A Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

With a click of a button, you can change the vacuum cleaners functional ability. However, because the cleaner sucks up liquid and dirt, it uses two different types of filters.

A foam filter is used for water and other liquids, and a paper filter is used for debris and dust particles. These filters will need changing when switching over from one task to another.

If you use the machine to clean up liquid waste then the bucket should be emptied immediately afterward to prevent the buildup of stagnant water. However, it is important to get into the habit of emptying the inner bucket on a regular basis, so that residual or stagnant water can be removed from the hose and bucket before you next use the machine. To do this simply place the hose in a bucket of water and turn the cleaner on, the inner bucket is then emptied once full.

Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Uses

The wet and dry vacuum cleaner is unique because of its versatility. Not only can it   pick up hard debris, remove fine layers of dust and suck up liquid spills, it can also do a variety of other jobs, some of which are listed below:

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    Sinks and baths can be unblocked by setting the machine to the blower (not suction) and the force of the air will free the obstruction.
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    Most wet and dry cleaners come with attachments for cleaning and buffing hardwood flooring and for tackling most kinds of materials. They can also be used like an ordinary vacuum cleaner, for cleaning curtains and upholstery.
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    These machines make light work of cleaning out fireplaces; they will suck up (cold) ashes with ease.
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    Snow can be cleared away easily with the blower function on the wet and dry vacuum.
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    The wet and dry cleaner is ideal for tackling most household water disasters and flooding from burst pipes etc.
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    If you don‘t own a carpet cleaner then the wet and dry cleaner will do a great job of cleaning your carpets, it removes marks, stains, and even mildew once the detergent has been applied.
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    Leaves and debris in the garden can be blown into a neat pile to be picked up and paths can be cleared using the blower function.
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    Debris such as nails, screws and wood shavings can all be sucked up when doing DIY jobs.

Buying Tip

The wet and dry vacuum cleaner is a relatively basic machine, though, for heavy-duty cleaning jobs, the versatility and efficiency are far superior to standard cleaning devices. The extra long power cord is an added advantage too; this is because they were mainly built for the industrial and machine shop environments.

When choosing a wet and dry cleaner, choose one with a 2½-inch hose as they tend to work more quickly and with less clogging than those with a 1¼-inch hose, and look for a machine based on what you want to use it for, how far you'll need to move it and where or how you want to store it.

Our Recommended Wet And Dry Vacuum Cleaner

best Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

The Vacmaster is an excellent wet and dry vacuum that out performs the competition. It features a 4-gallon water tank and a 5 HP motor that provides enough power to remove the deepest dirt and grime.  This unit is highly recommended if you're looking for a new machine.