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Though it might seem difficult at first, we can ensure that if you follow these instructions you’ll be using your wet dry vac to unclog a drain in no time. Noticing your drain’s been clogged is never a good feeling, but it’s much better to notice and get to dealing with it soon rather than finding out by leaving a sink running and realizing your house has begun flooding, because you forgot to turn your sink off.

If you’re reading this article then you’ve most likely noticed a drain clogged and thought it’s worth a search to see if you can unclog it with a wet dry vac, and guess what – You can!

Steps for using a wet dry vac to unclog a drain:

1. Firstly, before you even think about bringing your shop vac out to the pipe that’s been clogged, there’s some precautionary steps that we’d recommend you take! Bring either towels you use for wiping your floor or paper towels, or both and place them around the spot where you’re about to work. If you don’t feel like this will be necessary then at least grab some paper towels to stand nearby – just in case!

The reason you should do this is because water is quite likely to shoot out of the drain with reasonable force if you’re going to be unclogging itWet Dry Vac Unclog Drain using a wet dry vac, so be ready for that!

2. Remove all loose accessories, anything that might fall or get damaged in the process – both from your body and in your general vicinity (including the accessories of your wet dry vac).

3. Prepare the vacuum and get into a comfortable position, think about how you should be standing to avoid being splashed in the face, or losing control of the hose. Find a solid position and get a good grip on the hose before getting to work!

4. Attach the hose to the body of the wet dry vac, preparing it for suction and grip the end you’ll be placing on to the clogged pipe tightly, preparing yourself for any unexpected events. Be sure not to be surprised by anything (like a family member) while doing this to save yourself trouble in the future.

5. If you can, keep a person standing by the wet dry vac while you’re dealing with the clogged pipe so he can turn off the power at any moment, if things begin to get too crazy to handle.

6. Switch on the device and get to suctioning the pipe, you’ll most likely hear a sound increasing in pitch as you get closer and closer to the target, which is normal.

7. When you finally place the hose firmly at the entry point you’ll hear a noticeable change in sound, which should indicate that you’ve begun to actually suction the clog, and if any debris come flying up you’ll pretty much definitely hear it. When the sound starts returning to what it was before you started emptying the clog then you’ve done what you’ve set out to do and should have a clog free sink or at your disposal.

8. As before mentioned water splashing around the work space is absolutely to be expected when unclogging this way. That’s why if you didn’t already have rugs and paper towels on the floor then you should bring them and clean up if anything spilled while you were suctioning.


9. If you place your hose at the pipe but the clog doesn’t seem to be coming out you can try picking the hose up and lowering it again in attempts to reset the vacuum effect and get whatever’s in there moving! This should create larger force and help you get it done!

10. When you’re done, be slow and careful when removing the hose from the pipe as you might damage it and that would beat the whole point of getting it unclogged in the first place.

11. Everything you’ve now gotten out of your drain now lies at the bottom of the tank of your trusty wet dry vac, so remember to take the unit and bring it to a place like a dumpster where you can immediately dump it. Whatever you just got out of your pipe – you can be sure you don’t want to leave it anywhere to stink up your vac along with your house!

12. After you’re done with every step before this one the only thing left we can truly recommend is bringing a liter or two of water to a boil and pouring it down the pipe you just emptied, to remove any extra nasty bits and pieces that’re left in there.

Things you should know before using a wet dry vac to unclog a drain.

1. It is not a legitimate way of maintaining your home in long term, this is a one time fix for when you’ve got no other solution. So please, try Ridgid WD1450 14-Gallon Wet Dry Vacto refrain from doing this if possible.Try to take care of your home as you do yourself.

2. A wet dry vac is many things but not one of them is a TOY. These things can be quite powerful and in turn – dangerous, so whatever you do don’t let your or anyone else’s kids mess around with it – it can end badly!

3. If you removed the drain cork (you almost definitely did) then to avoid many, many problems which we’ll defer from getting into right now, please replace it immediately. If you don’t there’s a 99% chance you’ll regret it.

4. If you’ve just attempted to unclog it using some sort of chemical agent then be sure to wait 8 hours at the very least before you attempt doing this! You can severely damage your drain, your vacuum and yourself!


Is doing this safe?

As long as you follow the steps correctly and do your best to be safe your life shouldn’t be in any sort of danger at all. Most accidents happen due to people being cocky and overestimating themselves, letting their ego be the leading force instead of logic. This, obviously, isn’t smart, so if you feel like you need to get this done then stick to the script, be careful and everything should be fine!

Can i use any type of wet dry vac?

Any type of vacuum with wet/dry capabilities SHOULD be able to do the job, theoretically speaking. There does exist a possibility that your vacuum requires you to remove a filter if you’re going to be dealing with wet messes, in which case you should do so. Just make sure you’re not using a regular vacuum cleaner, because that’ll end up one of two ways – either you’ll accomplish nothing or break our vacuum cleaner. Neither of them sound too appealing if you ask me.

I did everything but it’s still not clogged, what do i do?

If this isn’t working it’s probably because your wet dry vac suction strength isn’t powerful enough or the clog is just too stuck in there. If this happens you should probably contact a professional technician since using a wet dry vac to unclog a drain is already a pretty last resort type of deal.

Is it better to do this, or use a plunger?

Shop-Vac 5989300 Wet Dry VacWe’d definitely say you should try out using the plunger as a first step when dealing with any clog for that matter. If the plunger doesn’t work you can potentially try using some sort of chemical drain cleaner and see how that goes. You should be using this technique only if there’s nothing better you can try, or you’re just trying it out for fun and don’t really mind potentially making a mess or damaging something due to not being careful. If this describes you please, even if you’re trying it for fun – remember to stay careful, accidents happen to those who don’t prepare for them!

I did this and accidentally got chemical agent on my face and body, what do i do!?

Please, jump in a clod shower immediately and instantly get someone to call 911 or whatever the emergency phone line is where you are located and get medical help as soon as possible. This is why we mention you should always wait at the very least 8 hours after applying any sort of chemicals in the pipe, so you don’t potentially spill it on yourself when water comes shooting out along with whatever was clogged.

My Vac Makes A Loud high pitch noise when i suction the clog, is something wrong?

If this is happening it’s likely due to a small opening where the clog is located, letting air pass through a very tiny space, in turn making an odd high frequency noise that might seem unnatural and frightening. You shouldn’t be scared of this, unless the noise indicates that something’s REALLY wrong, in which case you should probably just contact a professional and try not to mess things up even more than they already are!


If you want to use a wet dry vac to unclog a drain – it’s possible, just as long as you follow the correct steps to ensure the safety of yourself along with avoiding causing any damage to your house. If you don’t feel comfortable with doing this then please, contact a professional and he will sort out all your problems as they should be, especially if you’ve got a quality one. By doing this you can potentially avoid manual errors that can occur by trying to do things on your own.

Here’s some more wet dry vac related articles you might wanna check out:

How Does A Shop Vac Work?

How To Suction Water With A Wet Dry Vac

How Does A Wet Dry Vac Work?

Can You Use A Shop Vac Without A Filter?

What Is A Wet Dry Vac? – Explanation & More