Turn Your Shop Vac Into Carpet Extractor Quickly: Easy and affordable way

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use wet and dry vacuum as a carpet extractor

Many people out there, especially weekend warriors don’t have a carpet extractor. Even though it’s a great thing, it could cost you a lot. Today I’m going to show you how to turn your shop vac into carpet extractor.

To turn your shop vac (wet/dry vac) into a carpet extractor, you have to buy carpet extractor attachment, plug it to your shop vac and you are all set.

Don’t worry, it’s quick, easy, and very affordable. It shouldn’t cost you more than $40. I managed to buy it for $20 only.

Below, I’ll show you how did I do it with my Bosch wet and dry vacuum. If I did it so easily, trust me, everybody can do it.

Why Should You Think About Converting Shop Vac To Extractor?

If you don’t have a carpet extractor, this is the best alternative method you can get. Also, most people do have shop vacs, so this won’t be a large investment.

Cleaning car carpets and upholstery can be very hard if you do it with a brush and microfiber cloth only. Results with brush and microfiber only aren’t the best, and you’ll probably still have dirty seats.

With this upgrade of your shop vac, you’ll become much more efficient, and you’ll get much better results when cleaning carpets and upholstery.

Related: Always Remove Car Seats When Deep Cleaning a Car! – Here’s Why

Will Shop Vac Have Enough Extraction Power?

It depends much on your shop vac. My Bosch PAS 11-21 wet/dry vacuum is 1,100W, around 1.5HP, and it’s doing a great job.

There are many more powerful shop vacs out there, such as this Stanley 5 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum (check the price on Amazon). This wet and dry vacuum has 4 HP. Imagine that suction power. 

Actually, even my Bosch is more powerful than some extractors out there; check the example below.

carpet extractor NaceCare George
NaceCare “George”

For instance, this NaceCare “George” wet/dry/extractor vac has only 1.3HP and costs around $550. The price of the Stanley Wet and Dry Vacuum is almost nine times cheaper than this George extractor.

If you don’t know which car vacuum to buy, I suggest visiting my article on the best car vacuums under $150.

Is It Better Than The Real Carpet Extractor?

It’s NOT, of course.

I’m not gonna lie to you; there is a reason why companies are making specialized carpet extractors and why they aren’t the same as wet and dry vacuums.

But, from my experience, I can tell you that I had great results using my Bosch vacuum and carpet extractor attachment.

What’s the difference between a shop vac and a carpet extractor?

Well, the main difference is that the shop vac doesn’t have a hose and a tank for a carpet cleaning solution that you can spray onto the upholstery.

Also, some carpet extractors also have a heating option which improves the cleaning a lot.

Pros and Cons of Turning Shop Vac into Carpet Extractor


  • You’ll save a lot of money.
  • No need to have both the extractor and the shop vac
  • Great for weekend or hobby detailers


  • Can’t apply the cleaning solution while extracting
  • It’ll take more time to clean than with an extractor
  • Not recommended for car detailing business owners

How To Turn Wet and Dry Vacuum into Carpet Extractor: The Guide

Now that you know some important things and differences between a shop vac and a carpet extractor, let’s dive into this topic and explain to you how you can transform a shop vac into a carpet extractor.

What do you need for this?

  • Wet and Dry vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet extractor nozzle
  • Vacuum adapter (optional)

I’ll suppose that you already have a shop vac, but if you don’t, I recommend you buy this Stanley Wet and Dry Vacuum on Amazon.com

Step #1 – Buy the carpet extractor attachment (nozzle)

carpet extractor attachment
Carpet Extractor Attachment

Before we can even start, we need the carpet extractor attachment.

You can choose from plenty of options, but I suggest you get the one in the picture below.

I could find the same attachment that I have, but here is an even better option on Amazon.com. Happy Tree See-Through Carpet Extractor Attachment (Check the price on Amazon.com). That’s probably the best shop vac extractor attachment to make DIY carpet extractor.

RELATED: Best Shop Vac Carpet Extractor Attachments

Also, always check the diameter of your shop vac’s hose. If it’s different than the one on the extractor, you should get an adapter. Check step 2.

Step #2 – Buy a vacuum hose adapter (optional)

vacuum attachments adapter, how to turn shop vac into a carpet extractor
I’ve got this one.

If the hose on your wet and dry vacuum doesn’t fit the size of the carpet extractor attachment, the best thing you can do is to get a vacuum hose adapter. Some better extractor attachments (check them now) already have adapters included.

It’s pretty simple:

  • Check the outside diameter of your shop vac hose and compare it to the inside diameter of the carpet extractor attachment.
  • Buy the vacuum hose adapter so the carpet extractor attachment can fit your shop vac.

Step #3 – Connect the carpet extractor attachment to your shop vac

Finally, when you get all the pieces you need, it’s easy to assemble them.

Just connect the carpet extractor attachment to your wet/dry vac, and you are ready to go. If needed, use the vacuum hose adapter to connect them.

wet and dry vacuum as a carpet extractor, how to guide

Step #4 – FINISHED – Ready to extract with your vacuum

Now you are ready to do extraction jobs on your carpets, upholstery, sofas, etc.

Below you have steps to follow when extracting with your wet and dry vacuum, so be sure to check them out.

Follow These Steps When Extracting With Your Shop Vac

I just want to share the steps you should take when extracting with your shop vac.

Steps for extracting with wet and dry vacuum:

  1. Pour some carpet cleaning solution into the wanted area.
  2. Agitate it with a brush (drill brush recommended)
  3. Extract with your shop vac
  4. Wipe with the microfiber towel
  5. Repeat if needed

It’s gonna take you a little more time than with a real carpet extractor, but you’ll do a great job.

One of the most important things is that you use high-quality carpet cleaning solutions. Check out my recommendation for the best car carpet cleaning solutions! You can use them anywhere, not only in cars.

I hope that now everything’s clear and that you know how to turn your shop vac into a carpet extractor with as little investment as possible.

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