Can A Vacuum Cleaner Electrocute You? (Know This & Stay Safe!)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Published -

Vacuum cleaners are very useful household appliances. Since they are so resilient, we tend to use them wrongly.

If you don’t use your vacuum cleaner as intended, or if it malfunctions, there could be some adverse effects.

A vacuum cleaner can electrocute you if you run it over water or wet surfaces. Also, the vacuum cleaner can discharge a static shock if humidity is low, which can also cause electrocution.

Can You Get Electrocuted By A Vacuum Cleaner?

Can a Vacuum Cleaner Electrocute You

A vacuum cleaner can electrocute you if you’re not careful when using the appliance. If your vacuum cleaner is regular, you shouldn’t use it to clean water.

The fastest way to get electrocuted by your vacuum cleaner is to vacuum a wet surface or to run the vacuum cleaner over water. If you do that, the vacuum cleaner will electrocute you.

Getting electrocuted by a vacuum cleaner isn’t something that happens very often. But, if you’re careless, you could very well get electrocuted.

Besides cleaning wet surfaces with a regular vacuum cleaner, if there is an exposed wire on the vacuum cleaner, it can also cause electrocution. 

Usually, exposed wires connected to electricity are not a good combination. So, before you begin to vacuum, check to ensure there aren’t any exposed wires on the vacuum cleaner.

If there are any, and you go ahead to use the vacuum cleaner, it could electrocute you.

Also, keep your vacuum in an out-of-way location where children will not trip over the cord. That can damage the cord as well.

Also, low humidity can be another reason your vacuum is shocking. If your house or the area you clean with the vacuum cleaner is low in humidity, that could be an issue.

That can cause static electricity to build up in the vacuum cleaner, and then the electricity will shock you.

Of course, you can solve this by buying an air humidifier. The humidifier will distribute moisture to the house, and the likelihood of you getting electrocuted will reduce. 

Often, if you get electrocuted by a vacuum cleaner, it is not a random occurrence. You can prevent a repeat of it by taking the proper precautions.

If you prefer to use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the water and other liquids, you should get a wet-dry vacuum instead. 

A wet-dry vacuum cleaner is more suitable for cleaning up liquids. And with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, you will not get electrocuted even if you use it to clean up water.

Do Vacuum Cleaners Create Static Electricity?

Your vacuum cleaner does create static electricity. Usually, when using a vacuum cleaner, you’re moving the hose around.

When moving the hose around, the debris or materials you’re cleaning up rub on the hose’s interior. That causes friction which in turn causes static electricity to build up.

When the environment is cold and dry, static shock occurs more often. In such environments, there is less water, but the air is cold simultaneously.

So, the electrons will build up and generate static electricity. Static electricity does not cause any damage because it doesn’t interact with anything.

But, when your hand comes in contact with the hose, that’s where there will be some static shock.

Your body has more positive charges than the hose, so the hose will send you some of the negative charges.

The machine releases the negative charges into your skin. You will feel some shock as the electrons go through your skin.

Of course, the shock will not harm you or damage your machine, but it’s not something anyone wants to experience. And the human body is not a good conductor of electricity.

One way to reduce the possibility of a static shock is by having a humidifier in your home.

When there is no humidity, the air is very dry, and the chances of static electricity building up increase.

Water reduces the risk of static electricity shock because the electrons have another outlet instead of your skin. Some copper wire on your vacuum cleaner will work wonders for you.

Copper wire is a great electricity conductor, so if you put some in the right places on your machine, the static electricity would pass through the wire and not necessarily through you.

Why Does My Vacuum Cleaner Shock Me?

The vacuum cleaner runs electric currents, and the best way to avoid electrocution is to use it properly.

If you’re using your vacuum cleaner properly, it is very unlikely that it will shock you. However, it might shock you if you don’t use it properly.

Your vacuum cleaner will shock you if you vacuum water. Let’s say you’ve spilled some water on the floor of your living room, and you take the vacuum cleaner and try to run it over the spilled water.

You are at serious risk of electrocution. The manual contains several safety measures, and vacuuming water or any liquids goes against all the safety measures in the manual.

So, if water is on the floor while you’re vacuuming, you could probably get electrocuted.

Secondly, if any part of the wire on the vacuum cleaner is exposed, it will shock you. Damaged and exposed wires are a risk.

A portion of the wire could be damaged due to long usage and excessive wear and tear.

So if the wear and tear causes the outer part of the cord to loosen and some of the wires are exposed, the exposed wires can shock you.

The exposed wires have current running through them, and any contact with human sin could result in shock.

It won’t kill you, but it will be a painful experience. So, if you notice any wires on your vacuum cleaner cord sticking out, try to remedy that.

You can cover up the exposed areas with electrical tape. But, if the damage is extensive, you should get a new vacuum cleaner for safety.

Finally, the issue causing incessant shocks from your vacuum cleaner could be the wiring in your home.

Anything you plug in your vacuum cleaner, the appliance will pick up the live electricity and shock you.

If the electrician that did the wiring didn’t ground the power outlets in the walls of the building, it could cause the shock.

This issue is more likely to happen in older homes. Grounding outlets are a requirement for modern homes. But there wasn’t a requirement like that for older homes, so the outlets could be the issue.

If you find out that the reason your vacuum cleaner keeps shocking you is ungrounded power outlets, you’ll have to replace all the power outlets.

What Happens If You Vacuum Water?

Using your vacuum cleaner to vacuum water, you risk getting electrocuted. Also, water entering your vacuum cleaner may damage the motor completely.

In addition to having water in the motor, it will also pick up dirt, dust, and debris. Combining all these will make it very difficult to fix the motor and get it working safely again.

A ruined vacuum cleaner may sound like a huge problem for you, but using your vacuum cleaner to clean water will expose you to electric shock.

Water conducts electricity, so when water enters the motor, the electricity connects with the water and will make a connection with your skin.

And since the human skin is not a good conductor of electricity, the current will electrocute.

The impacts could be mild, or they could lead to very severe injuries. The severity of the injuries depends on the power source to which the vacuum cleaner is attached.

Regular vacuums do not vacuum water. If you constantly have spills on the floors and want to vacuum water, you need a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

Wet/dry vacuums look like regular ones, but they can auction water and dirt without any incident.

Finally, it is important to exercise caution, but sometimes you find that you accidentally vacuumed water. If that happens, you may get an electric shock, or you may not.

Either way, you must ensure that that doesn’t damage your vacuum cleaner. So, if you inadvertently scoop water, you should do the following.

  • Turn off the vacuum cleaner immediately.
  • Disconnect the power from the vacuum.
  • Remove the removable parts of the vacuum.
  • Leave it out to dry.

If you don’t know anything about removing parts and putting them back, it’s best to let the vacuum cleaner remain in one piece.

How To Stop Static Electricity When Vacuuming?

Static electricity in a vacuum cleaner can have some serious effects. In severe cases, it can cause injury; in others, it can damage the machine more than the person holding it.

Either way, with the methods below, you can stop the electric shock from happening when using your vacuum cleaner.

However, it would help if you were very careful.

#1. Make Your Home More Humid

When there isn’t enough moisture in your home, the electrons from the vacuum cleaner will need to discharge somewhere else, your skin, perhaps.

But, with water in the air, the electrons will have someplace else to discharge. You can get a humidifier that will help keep the air less dry. 

#2. Put Some Copper Wire On Your Vacuum Cleaner

Copper wire conducts electricity excellently. If you put some of it on your vacuum cleaner, the electrons will go off on it.

And electricity would sooner go through a copper wire than a human body. So, wrap a few feet of copper wire on your vacuum, and you’re good to go.

How To Prevent Electrocution From Vacuum Cleaners?

First, follow the instructions on the manual of the appliance. The main cause of electrocution from a vacuum cleaner is vacuuming water.

And the instructions clearly warn against that. So, don’t use your vacuum cleaner to vacuum water; you’re already less likely to get electrocuted by a vacuum cleaner.

Secondly, don’t use your vacuum cleaner if any of the wires on the cleaner are sticking out. If the damaged wire is exposed, it could electrocute you if it comes in contact with your skin.

So, check for such exposed wires and cover them with electric tape. If the damage is too extensive, get a new vacuum cleaner.

Make sure you keep your apartment humidified. When there isn’t enough humidity in your apartment, the vacuum cleaner is more likely to shock you.

So, you can get a humidifier for your apartment. Or, use DIY methods to make your place less dry.

In addition, a simple table of common causes of vacuum cleaner electrocution and how to avoid it will be helpful.

Causes Preventions
Vacuuming waterDo not vacuum wet surfaces.
Low humidityGet a humidifier to make the home less dry.
Exposed wires on a vacuum cleanerTape wire with electric tape.
Ungrounded power outletsChange the power outlets in the home.


Your vacuum cleaner can electrocute you if you don’t use it carefully. If you use it to vacuum water or the air in your apartment is too hot, the electrons it generates can shock you and even cause damage to your vacuum cleaner.

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