What do you use when you need to vacuum in tight spaces? A micro vacuum accessory set, of course.
Stanley and Shop Vac both offer micro cleaning kits – a vacuum accessory sets that work with standard 1-1/4″ vacuum hoses.
Both set options come with brush nozzles, a crevice tool, extensions, and a “gulper nose” that also doubles as the reduction adapter.
The attachments are all fairly small, making them well-suited for small detail cleaning, or working in tight spaces.
This seems quite handy. I’ve used makeshift small nozzles before, and they worked, albeit clumsily and with occasional complications.
I also like that the reduction nozzle is tapered. In other detail vacuum attachment sets, the adapter often has a hard step that takes away from suction power and air velocity.
Buy Now(Stanley set via Amazon)
Buy Now(Shop Vac accessory set via Amazon)
Compare(Another micro vacuum option)
Some micro vacuum attachment sets, but not this one, come with small hoses, meant to be used as flexible nozzles.
This should help give you an idea of how big, or rather how small, the attachments are.
Buy Now(Workshop accessory set via Amazon)
Can you think of any reasons not to use something like this if the application calls for it? What do you use when you have to clean out small corners, crevices, or compartments?
I like these! but they do require dragging out the vacuum (unless you have a small, battery-powered one).
I tend to use:
2. a flat-head screwdriver (or even an awl) with the end covered in a scrap of paper towel.
For some places that are too large for a qtip or screwdriver but too small for a vacuum brush, I use a saxophone neck swab (since I play saxophone, and it seemed ideal). I’m sure something similar could be had for cheaper, and it does only work when you can go through whatever you’re cleaning. There’s also an even smaller version for mouthpieces. The larger one has proved indispensable for locations like air vents in cars.
As Tim E says – musical instrument pad savers and silk swabs can be useful cleaning tools. Hodge and HWP make pad savers in a variety of sizes from about 3 inches long for mouthpieces to ones 28 inches long for tenor saxophones. I have one that I believe was meant for a piccolo. But online stores sell others at decent cost:
I would probably like a length (3-4 feet) of reduced size hose or tubing to go with it, to be really practical.
Watch out for static electricity if you’re doing this around sensitive electronics.
How can you “Watch out for static electricity” ?
He’s saying that it might be wise to use something different for cleaning delicate electronics, or maybe to possibly take precautions by grounding the hose and nozzle path so as to reduce the chance of static discharge damage.
Someone gave me a set like this as one of those grab-bag Xmas gifts. I could never get it to work effectively. As John says – some Windex on a cleaning swab works for me in some places – or I also use those canned air dusters
I have a Miele micro set that I got when I got my vacuum serviced a few years ago. It has an interesting feature that on the reducer coupling it has air holes, so you’re purposely not straining the vacuum overmuch using the tiny attachments on it, particularly if you block one of the small ends. It works surprisingly well when you’d think it wouldn’t work at all because all the suction is just being wasted near the coupling. Even so, I hardly ever use it just because canned air (or using the blowgun on my flexvolt compressor) and running the vacuum near the debris output seems to be much easier, and do a better job for a lot of things. The main benefit I see to using the micro set over that, aside from repeated cost of canned air, is having the micro size brush to physically agitate dirt that simply blowing with air or sucking around doesn’t dislodge.
I’ve used a similar micro set to the one in the article before for the car, pretty sure I got mine from home depot but it was some random brand. I’ve never really cared for it for that application (or any application really) because it seems to strain the vacuum too much, and doesn’t have the suction it needs to really clean between seats or similar, where it’s just a bit too tight for the regular size snorkel. Maybe it does have to do with the adapter shape as Stuart mentions, I think mine has a flat reducer instead of a tapered cone. But especially with battery powered vacs like the ryobi toolbox vac I use now for cleaning the car, you can definitely tell that the vacuum is working a bit more than usual, and it seems like it goes through a battery faster. I can only imagine what adding 2 feet of small diameter tubing onto it does.
I’ve never tried something like this before. Around electronics and keyboards I felt that canned or compressed air did a good enough job, and anything else was a q-tip or similar. I guess I have just not run into the need for mini vacuum attachments for the kind of stuff that I do.
Do these sets work with rigid wet/Dry vac?
1 1/4 vacuum hoses. Probably would work if the diameter is correct but I once bought 1 1/4 accesories that didn’t work out for my 1 1/4 hose. I might contact a manufacturer to be sure.
There seems to be a lot of variability in 1 1/4 between manufacturers I’ve found. Attachments that fit great on my stanley costco special are too loose on the ryobi toolbox vac, 1 1/4 ridgid attachments from the Depot fit on there, but are too loose on the Milwaukee M12 vac and old version M18 toolbox vac, but seem to work better on the M18 teapot vac. 1 1/4 attachments from my old craftsman 2 gal handheld vac don’t fit on anything but it. Maybe it’s different tapers on the hose ends, different tolerances, who knows. Maybe when you get that small, smaller changes are more magnified since there’s no flex to make up for it and provide a good fit.
2 1/2″ attachments don’t seem to have the same issue as much, nor do 1 7/8 and 1 1/2. My ridgid 1 7/8 stuff fits on the cheapo husky vac and on the ryobi cordless vac. I don’t have much 1 1/2″ stuff anymore. All the adapters I have for dealing with hose sizes leading to or coming from 2 1/2 and 1 7/8 all seem to fit great on those larger sizes, no matter what hose or adapter brand (or off brand) or craziness I have going on. But the 1 1/4 sides of adapters have the same variability I see from manufacturers, some accessories will fit on certain adapters great, some will be too loose, some won’t even fit on. It’s kind of annoying really.
Another option is buying it through Sears. They have essentially the same kit. I got one for close to nothing last Xmas with their rewards program. Has come in handy
I use those small brush pics that are like toothpicks only better. Or a toothpick and q-tip. If these could fit on the stick vacs, like Dyson or Hoover, that would be ideal, but I don’t think they do.
What a good idea – those Butler (GUM) pick probably work well on the pull stroke to pull out little bits from crevices.
I’ve use various dental picks, toothbrushes and a Butler Proxabrush in scraping and removing old paint or varnish from detail moldings on old furniture
Tools from the toothpaste aisle!
Those are like the ones I use, but I get mine from the Dollar Store, in a four-pack. Using them to remove paint or varnish on furniture sounds like a good idea. I also use them to clean the sink around the fixtures.
And don’t forget using toothpaste from the toothpaste aisle! It’s a mild abrasive. Minty scent, too 😉
Home Depot has a similar kit: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stinger-1-1-4-in-Micro-Cleaning-Accessory-Kit-for-RIDGID-Wet-Dry-Vacs-VT1215/100139249
I agree with the comment about too much strain on the vacuum motor by reducing/restricting the suction much. My older Red Devil canister vacuum has a feature on the hose where you can open up a breather hole depending on how much you want to reduce the suction and depending on the attachment you are using. I think this would be a good feature to implement on these type of attachments to save wear and tear on our vacuums motors.
Secondly, as others have mentioned, when I clean the cracks and crevices, I have become accustomed to either canned air and a brush or my garage air compressor to blow out rather that vacuum out those crevices!
Although its wasteful, I tend to use the canned air stuff more at home. Most of the time my stationary compressor – that lives in its own room – is shut down. So by the time I would spend getting over to it, closing the tank drain valve, starting the compressor, waiting on the tank to fill sufficiently, opening the valves to the pipe that feeds the garage and the hose reel in the garage and attaching a blow gun – I would be an even older man. My stationary and portable compressors – get used more when I have a bigger job planned than just blowing some dust.
I’ve seen this set with various brand names from Shop Vac to Micro Mark. The set I owned came with a transparent hose that had some kind of ribbing to prevent the hose from collapsing. No matter what I had it hooked up to, there just wasn’t enough suction to get the job done.
A hogs hair brush works well, the stiff bristles knock out the debris from cracks, and you can vacuum normally. It’s what most detailers use, but everyone has their own method.
I have been using this set to vacuum the shavings at the source as I micro-machine polyurethane resin parts on my Sherline mill for about ten years now, my dedicated Ridgid shop vac’s motor has been straining during all this time and it still works fin and it isn’t complaining. I don’t think its as hard on the motor as some seem to think. I think blowing the debris with compressed air only spreads it all over the place…vacuuming sucks…but rules ! 🙂
The better technique is to blow the dust towards an open end of a vacuum hose.
In the shop – we’d caution folks who were observed blowing dust off themselves or others – even with so called safety blower guns ( side vent prevents hp air injection injuries) dust blown up your nose, in your ears and eyes is a hazard to avoid.
I’ve been using these for years; for the gentleman that asked about compatibility with the Ridgid vacuum, it’s what I used, but I use the orange hose that Ridgid sells for car detailing. It’s 1-1/4. Also, I’ve had the Shop-Vac version, and Craftsman has the same exact version except the tapered piece is larger at the small end. It’s a lot better for picking things up. Also, the tiny crevice tool has a larger opening on the Craftsman set which is also better. If you had both sets side by side but in the package, it would be hard to notice a difference until you open them both up. But there IS QUITE a difference in performance.
Also, if you’re trying to remove pet hair from a car interior, just put on a latex glove and wipe the hair loose-there is some type of magnetism that allows the glove to pull the hairs out that are stuck under the fabric.
C’mon you guys, this isn’t a replacement for Q-Tips or dental picks.
You know when you see debris, dog hair, old french fries & pennies in a place you can’t get your hand to or a 1.25″ nozzle into? Q-Tips won’t help nor dental picks. Maybe those xtra-long needlenose from HF might help if you’ve got them somewhere.
And as good & handy as canned or compressed air is, that just relocates the stuff you’re trying to remove.
You may not use this kit often, but most of the tools we collect are infrequently needed but critical when they are needed.
One of the best performance upgrades for your shop vac is a tapered hose which both reduces the hose diameter in a linear fashion from 2″ to 1.5″ and is constructed with a smooth internal bore for improved airflow. These come from the carwash industry and usually require some DIY conversion to properly mate to shop gear; but, the performance is worth it. The biggest downside is that you can’t make butt joint-type hose repairs, but it looks like this might work well when mated to any micro-cleaning kit.