Can You Vacuum Metal Shavings? [Use The Right Vacuum!]

Do you love working on metal projects? 

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Though they are fun, these kinds of projects produce metal shavings and dust all over the floor.

Cleaning up this material is a must to avoid health hazards, but can you vacuum metal shavings

Yes, you can vacuum metal shavings as long as you use a shop vac. These vacuums are designed to withstand heavy-duty cleaning, including industrial waste and construction refuse. Avoid using a regular vacuum as the filter can easily clog up.

But how do you properly use a shop vac to pick up metal shavings? 

And what about alternatives if you do not own such a type of vacuum?

Let me help you with some easy-to-follow tips 🙂 

Can You Vacuum Metal Shavings? – Explained

Wet/dry vacuums (shop vacs) can easily be found at hardware stores and online – They are a must-have if you regularly work on metal projects.

Shop vacs come with a more powerful motor than regular vacuums, so it is important you use the former to vacuum metal shavings.

If you do not own a shop vac, you can opt for the classic broom and dustpan or put a magnet into a plastic back to let it do its magic.

How to Clean Up Metal Shavings

As previously mentioned, there are 3 simple ways you can clean up metal shavings.

Personally, I recommend you combine the 3 methods together in the order you see them below.

However, it also depends on the number of metal shavings you need to pick up:

1. Use a Broom and Dustpan

Thoroughly and carefully sweep the area, driving the metal shavings into the dustpan.

If you are trying to get rid of metal shavings off the carpet, use a  stiff-bristled brush to prevent metal shavings from getting lodged into the broom and into the carpet. 

If you are worried that you may leave some metal shavings behind, combine this method with at least the “magnet in a bag” method below.

2. Use a Magnet and a Plastic Bag

Although you could use the magnet as it is, doing so will take you longer as you will need to clean the magnet every so often to pick up the next batch of shavings.

Instead, do the following:

  1. Put the magnet into a plastic bag first
  2. Hover over the magnets with the plastic bag to attract the metal shavings
  3. Once you are done, turn the bag inside out, remove the magnet, and dispose of the metal shavings

Please note that this method will not work with aluminum as it does not stick to magnets.

3. Vacuum Metal Shavings Using a Shop Vac

Before vacuuming metal shavings, I recommend you still use a broom to sweep up some of them.

This will reduce the risk of clogs in your shop vac filter.

Your shop vac will be able to pick up metal shavings and dust very easily.

However, you should make sure to clean the filter once in a while to avoid damaging your shop vac.

Ideally, you should use a shop vac with a dust bag when vacuuming metal dust.

That is because fine metal dust can plug up a filter quickly, resulting in dust entering the motor and bearings!


Having metal shavings and dust all over the floor is a real nightmare, but with the tips mentioned in this post, your home will be clean again in no time!

To recap:

  • Yes, you can vacuum metal shavings as long as you use a shop vac
  • Combining sweeping, the “magnet in a bag” method and vacuuming is the best way to go
  • If you do not own a shop vac, simply sweep the floor, making sure you don’t leave any metal shavings behind