Finding Lost Small Items with a Vacuum Cleaner

Using a stocking or pantyhose to find small lost parts and other items.
Using a stocking or pantyhose to find small lost parts and other items.

If you’ve ever dropped a small screw or other part in your garage or workshop, you know how hard it can be to find it in all the clutter. To make short work of locating small missing items:

  1. Cut the foot section off an old stocking or pantyhose.
  2. Slide the stocking over the suction hose on a vacuum cleaner or shop vac with the toe inside the hose.
  3. Hold the stocking on the vacuum cleaner hose, and turn the vacuum on.
  4. Vacuum the area you lost the part.
  5. Turn off the vacuum and look in the stocking for the lost part.

The dirt and dust will pass through the stocking, leaving the missing item behind. Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: If you’ve ever lost a small part in the workshop, you know how frustrating it could be trying to find it. One way is to use a vacuum to just suck it up. But then, of course, the part will go into the vacuum, and you have to sift through all the dirt to find it.

Now, here’s a way to use the vacuum, but avoid that mess. Get a piece of pantyhose, this is just the bottom foot section of the pantyhose, and put it over the end of the wand—the vacuum wand. This is the toe section of the pantyhose you’re going to stuff in there. Then you just hold on to it and vacuum up the dust, and hopefully, trap the part you’re looking for.

Now, I know I dropped the brass bushing back here in the corner, and we’ll see if we can just vacuum it up and find it. Let’s see how we did. Now, you notice the vac—there it is! I like that. Isn’t that great.

The vacuum sucks up the dirt, the air passes right through the vacuum, but the part gets trapped right in there.


  1. Good video. My wife showed me this same technique for cleaning the dust off of Legos (and it may work for other small parts). Just cover the opening of the vacuum hose with the pantyhose and vacuum up the pieces of Lego. When you turn off the vacuum, the clean Legos tumble off.
    Helpful as always.

  2. Hey Joe, Glad you liked the shop vac tip, and great suggestion about cleaning Legos. I suppose if you used fishnet stockings you’d be able to remove even more dust and dirt from objects, since standard pantyhose would likely trap some dirt. Anyway, thanks again and good luck!–Joe T.


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