Can You Use a Garbage Bag in a Shop Vac? (3 Steps!)

Can you use a garbage bag in a shop vac

Emptying shop vacs and cleaning them when they are full is a messy affair. The dirt and debris sometimes get into the canister and dust is thrown back into the air.

Is it possible to line our shop vacs with garbage bags to make emptying the shop vac and cleaning them easier? In this article, we will be answering this question.

We also know how expensive vacuum bags are and how often they need to be replaced, so we will be giving alternatives to vacuum bags and how you can avoid that cost.

Can You Use a Garbage Bag in a Shop Vac?

You can place plastic garbage bags in your shop vacs to make cleaning easier for you. This can be simply done with no damage to your shop vac. Instead, these bags prolong the life of your shop vac giving you more value for your money.

Why Use Garbage Bags in Shop-Vacs?

1- Protect the Filters

Using a garbage bag in your shop vac is also a good way to protect your filter and prevent it from getting dirty often.

Dirty filters malfunction, throw dirt back into the air and cause damage to the shop vac, so you would be doing a great job by doing all you can to prevent it from getting dirty fast.

This is more important if your shop vac uses a filter that can’t be cleaned or washed.

2- Easy to Empty the Shop-Vac

Using a garbage bag also ensures that there’s less mess when you want to get rid of the dirt in your shop vac. It’s easy, clean, and efficient.

All you have to do is open the shop vac, take out the garbage bag, tie it and throw it into a trash can or wherever you want to dispose of it. You limit the risk of throwing dust back in the air and damaging your health.

3- Save Costs

If you have pets or lots of foot traffic in your house, you will have to change your vacuum bags often and this isn’t cheap. Using garbage bags can save you a lot of money as well as the hassle of purchasing vacuum bags.

Steps to Using a Plastic Garbage Bag in a Shop Vac

To put the garbage bag into your shop vac, just follow the simple steps below.

STEP 1: Remove the top of the shop vac and gently put it somewhere.

STEP 2: Get your garbage bag and put it into the shop vac canister.

Ensure you make a hole in the garbage bag where the hose enters the canister. This ensures the dirt and debris you collect, enter the garbage bag directly and none fall into the canister.

Some wet/dry vacs manufacturers also make garbage bags with already made holes you can use. But these are expensive. So just get a regular garbage bag and make the hole.

Also, make sure there’s little/ no space or air between the garbage bag and the canister wall.

STEP 3: Let the edge of the garbage bag be higher than the top of the shop vac canister and let it go over it. You can even tape it if you like.

This ensures the garbage bag doesn’t fall into the canister and crumble when you put the top back. Let the top of the shop vac hold the garbage bag edge to the canister edge and you are done.

Don’t forget the hole you made in the garbage bag when it’s full and you want to dispose of it. Dust and debris can escape from there and it will become messy. You can tape the hole carefully before tying the bag and throwing it away.

What Else Can I Use Instead of a Garbage Bag / Vacuum bag?

To avoid the costs of Vacuum bags, you can make use of alternatives but don’t be tempted to use the shop vac without a bag. And these aren’t more expensive or harder to get. In fact, you get to make them right in your home.

1- Old Clothes

You can convert your old clothes made of cotton or nylon material into vacuum bags. They are efficient, reliable, easy to clean, and reusable. You can use, wash and reuse them as many times as you want, provided you use good material.

2- Paper

You can also make use of paper bags. They are easily found in hardware stores. Just ensure the paper is made of strong material. Getting it to work is simple.

Note: Water can damage it so it should be removed from your shop vac before vacuuming water or any wet debris.

STEP 1: Cut your old vacuum bag along the seams and make it flat. Put it on the paper material and cut it out. Staple it along the seams to make a bag.

STEP 2: Then use cardboard to trace out a square shape around the hole in your old vacuum bag and glue it to the paper bag in the same spot where the hole was in your vacuum bag.

STEP 3: Make a hole in the middle of that cardboard in the paper bag and attach it to the hose in the canister. And you are done!

Using old clothes is better since you will be able to wash and reuse them as often as you want.
How do you do this? Well, it’s simple and we’ll take you through the steps to make it easy for you.

How Do You Make a Vacuum Bag? (At Home!)

STEP 1: Remove your old vacuum bag from your shop vac. If you don’t have one, get one.

STEP 2: Cut the folded bottom and also one side of the bag, and get the vacuum bag to flatten.

STEP 3: Place the flattened vacuum bag on the material you want to use and cut it out. Ensure you cut the material bigger than the vacuum bag. You can add one inch on all sides.

STEP 4: Sew the sides together making a bag. Then turn the bag inside-out, hiding the seams inside.

STEP 5: Now make small holes on the edge of the bag. Let the holes be close. Then thread a rope through the holes. You can use old shoestring.

STEP 6: Now put the new bag inside the shop vac canister and put the mouth over the hose where it enters the canister. Draw the rope tight, securing the bag around the hose.

Your shop vac is ready for use. When the bag is full, just open the shop vac, loosen the rope around the hose, and empty the bag. You can wash the bag if it’s dirty and then reuse it.

Do You Need a Shop Vac Filter If Using a Bag?

Most times you don’t need a filter if you’re using a bag but there are additional advantages to using a filter. Vacuum bags collect dust and debris while filters filter dust out of the air which is necessary to maintain good health while vacuuming.

1- You also need a shop vac filter with a bag because the dust you collect may get through the bag. Dust collecting safely in the vacuum bag may still find their way through the tiny holes in the bag which be harmful to both your shop vac and you.

2- Bag failure also sometimes happens. The vacuum bag could tear, spilling dust into your shop vac. If there’s no filter to filter it, your shop vac could get damaged. The dust will also get out of the exhaust port polluting the air.

3- Using a shop vac filter with a vacuum bag is also necessary if you will be vacuuming sawdust, drywall dust, or any fine dust. They could be hazardous and no risk should be taken when cleaning them up.

Final Thoughts!

Garbage bags can be used in shop vacs and they are one of the ways of prolonging the lives of shop vacs. They also make cleaning easier and lessen the punishment to filters.

They are simple to install and also to get rid of. We have explained in simple steps how you can achieve this.

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