Improvised wet-vac

We have cats. And they piss in the wrong places. It’s very annoying.

Cute furry weeing Unit 1.0
Cute furry weeing Unit 1.0

Recently, a bit of a patch started to emerge in the hall. We cleaned up the best we could, but it’s very hard to get it all out, and the regular abuse of this bit of carpet had started to mount up. I thought a good wet-vaccuming might be the solution!

Unfortauntely wet-vacs are expensive, and big, and we only have a small flat. Also, improvising one seemed like a fun project for a Saturday afternoon. In the end, it only took about half an hour!

To start off, I picked up this ultra-cheap vacuum cleaner from my local Argos. It was only £20 then, it seems to have gone up. I also grabbed some big tupperware boxes, which we needed anyway.


I cut the hose, leaving a little length to connect the box to the cleaner, and marked a hole on the lid of the box.


I drilled the hole using a conical bit (which is one of the best things in the universe) and stuck the hose in.


And then did the same with the other end of the hose:


Ta-dah! Wet-vac. I thought I’d have to seal the hoses in but it turned out that a friction fit was fine – perhaps because the hose is quite flexible plastic, and the low pressure probably causes them to bulge a bit. I hoovered up a mug of water and all seemed well.

To the hallway!


I made up a weak solution of floor cleaner, poured it over the evil cat patch, and scrubbed a bit. And then hoovered it up. (Note: under the carpet, the floor is concrete, so I wasn’t too worried about the neighbour below.) It worked fairly well:

I didn't save the PSD, so I can't make the text brighter.

Judging by the naaasty water that came back out of the carpet, less bad stuff is there than before:


The water trap was not perfect, however:


I think quite a bit of water ended up going through the motor. This suspicion was a few days confirmed later: after about half an hour of total wet-vaccing, it gave up the ghost. An autopsy revealed significant corrosion:


If there is ever a version 2, I will design the water trap differently. Learnings:

  1. When the vac is on and sucking air, there is a lot of disturbance in the water in the trap. It goes all over the place. This tupperware wasn’t nearly tall enough to guarantee enough clearance between the top of the disturbed water and the tube connecting it to the cleaner.
  2. Even with a better designed box, I think some water will always get through. It would probably be sensible to have a second water trap, or to add some foam baffles to reduce the amount of atomised air getting into the motor

Mysie thought box the vacuum cleaner came in was the best bit. She might be right.