How to Use a Craftsman Wet Vac

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A Craftsman wet vac is a useful tool for both homeowners and professionals alike. It is able to function much like a regular vacuum in the home, with the added feature of being able to suck up liquids. A shop vac can be an invaluable tool in your arsenal for efficient cleanup of anything indoors or outdoors.


Craftsman Vacuum for Dry Operation

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The Craftsman vacuum has a filter used for vacuuming dry debris. For best performance, the filter should not only be clean and dry but should also be replaced often. Since it protects the motor and keeps dust from blowing around the work area you are trying to clean, the filter should be in place for dry operation. A wet filter can clog more easily than a dry filter, so clean and dry it after each use.


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  1. Disconnect power to the Craftsman vacuum.

  2. Check that the filter is clean and dry by removing the power head of the vacuum (this may vary among different models). If the filter needs to be cleaned, remove it by unlocking the retainer (turn counterclockwise) and remove the filter from the cage. After cleaning the filter, reinstall it by reversing the removal process, ensuring it is seated and covering the entire cage. Do not overtighten the retainer.

  3. While checking the filter, remove any dust and debris from the collection tank. This is a good habit to get into after each use.

  4. Reassemble the powerhead to the collection tank.

  5. Insert the vacuum hose to the suction port and attach the appropriate attachment to the opposite end of the hose.

  6. Plug in the shop vac.

  7. Turn it on and vacuum the debris.

  8. Clean debris from the collection tank and clean the filter when finished.


Craftsman Shop Vac for Water

The Craftsman wet dry vac is capable of vacuuming up liquids as well. There is a float valve that will protect the vacuum from vacuuming up more water than the tank can hold. It is important to remove the filter before using the vacuum for liquids.


Do not vacuum gasoline or other combustible liquids.

Water is over 8 pounds per gallon, and the tank will need to be emptied. A 5-gallon Craftsman wet dry vac can weigh almost 45 pounds when full. Have a plan to drain the liquid before vacuuming.

The Craftsman shop vac instructions recommend removal of the filter while vacuuming up liquids to protect the motor from moisture and stress.


  1. Unplug the vacuum.

  2. Remove the filter and set it aside.

  3. Make sure that the collection tank is clean and free of any dust or debris from previous uses.

  4. If the wet dry vac has a drain built into the collection tank, check it to make sure that it is tight and secure.

  5. Plug in the vacuum and vacuum up the liquid. While vacuuming, do not immerse the end of the hose completely. Allow an air gap at the end of the hose. This will keep the motor from overworking.

  1. When the tank is completely filled, the float valve will engage, and the sound of the motor will increase.

  2. Drain the collection tank either from a built-in drain valve (typically on larger wet dry vacs) or by draining into a suitable receptacle for easier disposal.