Can You Wet Sand with a Random Orbital Sander? Tips and Tricks to Make it Work!

Have you ever tried wet sanding with a random orbital sander? It might sound intimidating, but with the right technique, it can be a game-changer for your DIY projects. Wet sanding is a process of smoothing down surfaces with damp sandpaper, and it is commonly seen in car painting and finishing work. When combined with a random orbital sander, the end result can be flawless and effortless.

Using a random orbital sander ensures that the sanding action is not confined to a specific direction, hence preventing swirl marks on the surface. Wet sanding with a random orbital sander might seem like a chore, but it is incredibly satisfying to see the smooth and polished surface at the end. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits and techniques of wet sanding with a random orbital sander and how it can transform your DIY projects.

So, let’s get started!


If you’re looking to smooth out a rough surface or remove imperfections from a piece of wood or metal, you might be wondering if you can wet sand with a random orbital sander. The answer is yes, you can wet sand with a random orbital sander, provided you take certain precautions. It’s important to note that not all orbital sanders are waterproof, and using one that’s not designed for wet sanding can cause serious damage to the tool or even create a safety hazard.

Before attempting wet sanding with an orbital sander, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and check that your model is suitable for use with water. If it is, you can attach a sanding disc designed for use with water and a sponge or foam backing pad, then add water to the surface you’re working on to create a wet sanding effect. Wet sanding can be a great way to get a smooth finish and reduce the risk of airborne dust, but it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions and use the right equipment to avoid damaging your sander or endangering yourself.

What is Wet Sanding?

Wet sanding is a technique used for smoothening and polishing a car’s paintwork. It involves using a special type of sandpaper that needs to be wet before use. The wet sanding process can help remove deep scratches, swirl marks, and other imperfections from the car’s paint.

It enhances the vehicle’s overall appearance and gives it a sleek and smooth finish. This is achieved by gradually sanding down the rough or uneven areas until the entire surface is smooth and uniform. The process requires significant patience and skill, as a single mistake could ruin the car’s paintwork.

However, when done correctly, wet sanding can help restore the car’s aesthetic appeal and make it look as good as new. So, if you want to enhance your car’s appearance, consider wet sanding as an option.

can you wet sand with a random orbital sander

What is a Random Orbital Sander?

A random orbital sander is a power tool used for sanding and polishing various surfaces. Unlike other sanders that move in a circular motion, the random orbital sander moves in a random, elliptical orbit. This unique movement ensures that no sanding pattern is repeated, producing a smoother finish without swirl marks.

The tool’s abrasive disc also rotates in small circles, which further helps to achieve an even and consistent scratch pattern. Random orbital sanders are versatile, and because they don’t rely on a set pattern, they can be used on a wide range of materials, from wood to metal, plastic, and more. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional woodworker, a random orbital sander could be a handy addition to your toolkit.

Benefits of Wet Sanding with a Random Orbital Sander

Wet sanding with a random orbital sander is a technique that can bring numerous benefits to your woodworking or automotive finishing projects. By using water and a sanding disc equipped with tiny abrasive particles, wet sanding can help eliminate surface imperfections, achieve a smoother and flatter finish, and avoid dust buildup. Additionally, wet sanding can help prevent the surface from overheating, which can otherwise cause paint or finish to peel off.

Using a random orbital sander in wet sanding can further enhance the results by evenly distributing the abrasives and reducing the risk of leaving unsightly swirl marks. Overall, wet sanding with a random orbital sander can offer a more professional and satisfying outcome, bringing your project to the next level of excellence.

How to Wet Sand with a Random Orbital Sander

Yes, you can wet sand with a random orbital sander! To do this successfully, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to use waterproof sandpaper that’s designed specifically for wet sanding. This type of sandpaper is made to resist water, so it won’t disintegrate or become useless while you work.

Next, you’ll need to attach a sanding pad that’s designed for wet sanding to your sander. These pads are often made of foam and have small holes that allow water to pass through. Once you have the right materials, wet sanding with a random orbital sander is pretty straightforward.

Simply apply a thin layer of water or soapy water to the surface you want to sand, then turn on your sander and start working. Be sure to sand in a circular motion, and avoid applying too much pressure or leaving your sander in one place for too long. Wet sanding can be a great way to achieve a smooth, polished finish, so it’s definitely worth trying with your random orbital sander.

Step 1: Choose the Right Sandpaper

Wet Sand with a Random Orbital Sander. If you’re planning to wet sand a surface using a random orbital sander, the first step is to choose the right sandpaper. The most common grits for wet sanding range from 400-2000, and the type of sandpaper you choose depends on the type of surface you’re working on.

For new finishes, a 1000-1500 grit sandpaper is ideal, while dull or scratched surfaces may require a coarser grit of around 400-600. Once you have chosen your sandpaper, soak it in water before attaching it to the random orbital sander. Make sure the sandpaper is lined up with the sanding pad and ensure that it’s secured tightly.

Start the sander and begin sanding the surface at a low speed while keeping the sandpaper wet and the surface lubricated. Gradually increase the speed of the sander while checking the surface occasionally to ensure you’re achieving your desired result. Wet sanding with a random orbital sander allows for a smoother surface finish and is perfect for removing blemishes or creating a smooth texture on your project, making it look brand new again.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Wet sanding with a random orbital sander is an important step in preparing the surface for painting. It helps to create a smooth and even surface by removing any bumps, scratches, or imperfections from the surface. To begin, you’ll need to attach a sanding disc to your sander and select the appropriate grit level for your project.

Before you start, make sure to clean the surface thoroughly by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Then, using light pressure and a circular motion, sand the surface with the sander, making sure to keep the sander moving at all times. Pay extra attention to any areas that are particularly rough or uneven, and take care not to sand too aggressively, as this can damage the surface.

Once you’ve finished sanding, wipe the surface down again to remove any dust or debris, and you’re ready to move on to the next step in your painting project!

Step 3: Saturate the Surface with Water

When it comes to wet sanding with a random orbital sander, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to achieve the best results possible. Once you have selected the desired grit sandpaper and applied it to the sander, you will want to saturate your surface with water. This step helps to lubricate the sandpaper and prevent it from clogging with debris.

It also helps to ensure an even sanding surface and prevents any unwanted scratches or damage to your material. Depending on the size of your surface, you may want to use a spray bottle or a hose to wet the area. Be sure to apply enough water to keep the surface consistently wet throughout the process.

Remember, the key to effective wet sanding is to maintain a steady, consistent amount of water to lubricate the surface and keep the sandpaper from clogging. So take your time and be sure to saturate your surface before diving into the sanding process. With a little practice, you will be able to achieve a smooth, polished finish that will make your hard work well worth the effort.

Step 4: Start Sanding with the Random Orbital Sander

Wet Sand with a Random Orbital Sander When it comes to smoothing out rough surfaces, a random orbital sander can be a game-changer. In order to achieve the best results, it’s important to know how to wet sand with a random orbital sander. Start by choosing the right grit sandpaper for your job, moving from coarse to fine grits.

Next, soak the sandpaper in water for at least 10 minutes to avoid any damage to the sander’s pad. Once the sandpaper is ready, attach it to the sander’s pad and begin sanding using a circular motion. Keep the sander flat and apply even pressure as you sand, working in small sections and testing the surface periodically with your fingers.

Remember to keep the surface wet as you work, and frequently rinse the sandpaper to avoid clogging. Once you’ve completed the sanding process, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any remaining residue. With the right technique, a random orbital sander can produce perfectly smooth surfaces for any DIY project.

Step 5: Check Your Progress Regularly

When it comes to wet sanding with a random orbital sander, it’s important to check your progress regularly. This ensures that you’re achieving the desired results and helps you identify any potential problem areas. After all, sanding is a gradual process and it can be difficult to notice small changes over time.

By taking a moment to step back and assess your work, you can make any necessary adjustments before moving on to the next section. This saves you time and effort in the long run, and helps you achieve a smoother, more consistent finish. So remember to check your progress regularly when wet sanding with a random orbital sander, and enjoy the satisfying results of your hard work!

Tips and Precautions for Wet Sanding with a Random Orbital Sander

If you’re planning to wet sand using a random orbital sander, you may be wondering if it’s even possible. The answer is yes, you can wet sand with a random orbital sander. However, there are some precautions you should take to ensure that you get good results and avoid damaging your sander or workpiece.

First, make sure that your sander is specifically designed for wet sanding. Using a regular sander with water can result in electrical hazards or damage to the tool. Secondly, use a wet sanding paper that’s suitable for your sander and the material you’re sanding.

Additionally, make sure to keep the workpiece and sandpaper cool to prevent clogging and ensure even sanding. Lastly, always wear protective gear like goggles, gloves, and a dust mask to avoid injuries and inhalation of dust particles. By following these tips and precautions, you can achieve excellent results when wet sanding with a random orbital sander.

Tip 1: Use the Right Grit Sandpaper for Your Project

Wet sanding with a random orbital sander can be a tricky task. Not only do you have to be careful with the pressure you apply on the sander, but you also need to know the right grit sandpaper to use for your project. The grit sandpaper determines the level of coarseness or smoothness of the sanding, and using the wrong one can lead to a less than desirable result.

Before starting your project, make sure you have the right grit sandpaper for the job. If you’re working on a surface with rough spots or a tough finish, start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer one. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a fairly smooth surface, start with a finer grit and work your way up as needed.

When it comes to wet sanding, it’s important to follow some precautions to avoid damaging your sander or the surface you’re working on. First, make sure your sander is suitable for wet sanding and that all electrical connections are properly protected. Use a waterproof sandpaper that won’t come apart when wet.

Always keep the surface wet by using a spray bottle filled with water or a water hose. Wet sanding generates a lot of dust, so make sure to wear a protective mask and goggles. Start with light pressure to let the sander do the work and avoid leaving any marks.

In conclusion, wet sanding with a random orbital sander requires using the right grit sandpaper and taking some necessary precautions. By following these tips, you can achieve a smooth and polished finish on any surface. Always remember to wear protective gear and work at a safe pace to ensure the best results.

Tip 2: Keep the Surface Wet

When it comes to wet sanding with a random orbital sander, keeping the surface wet is an important tip to remember. By moistening the surface, you’ll prevent the sandpaper from clogging and generate a smoother finish. While sanding, the water lubricates the surface and assists in eliminating accumulated dirt and particles, keeping the sandpaper from becoming obsolete too quickly.

Additionally, wet sanding prevents tiny fragments from becoming airborne and reduces dust buildup. This helps prevent them from being inhaled, which is harmful to your health. Use a spray bottle or a wet sanding system to spray water on the surface in intervals.

However, make it a point to wet sand only appropriate surfaces such as metal, plastic, or fiberglass. Avoid using water on surfaces that shouldn’t be wet, such as wooden surfaces. Overall, keeping the surface damp throughout the sanding process produces high-quality outcomes and contributes to a more pleasant and safe experience.

Tip 3: Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure

When wet sanding with a random orbital sander, one of the most important things to keep in mind is not to apply too much pressure. This can cause damage to the surface and even lead to uneven sanding. Instead, let the weight of the sander do the work for you and use light, gentle pressure.

This will also minimize the risk of the sandpaper getting clogged and reduce the amount of dust produced. Additionally, using a lubricating solution such as water or soapy water can help to further reduce friction and achieve a smoother finish. By following this tip and using a light touch, you can ensure the best results while preserving the integrity of the material you are sanding.

Precaution 1: Wear Protective Gear

When it comes to wet sanding with a random orbital sander, safety should always be your top priority. This means wearing protective gear to keep yourself safe from any flying debris or harmful dust that may arise during the sanding process. Protective gear such as safety goggles, a dust mask, and gloves should be worn to avoid potential injuries.

Sanding can be a messy and dusty process, so by wearing this protective gear, you can ensure your safety and prevent any harmful particles from entering your eyes, lungs, or skin. Remember, accidents can happen at any time, and taking this precautionary step can make a world of difference in protecting yourself while wet sanding with a random orbital sander.

Precaution 2: Avoid Sanding Near Electrical Outlets

When it comes to wet sanding with a random orbital sander, there are certain precautions that you need to keep in mind. One important tip is to avoid sanding near electrical outlets. This is due to the fact that water and electricity don’t mix well, and if you accidentally touch the sander to an electrical outlet, it could potentially electrocute you.

To avoid this risk, simply switch off the circuit breaker that controls the outlet while you’re sanding in the vicinity. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using extension cords that don’t have a watertight seal, as this can cause a short circuit. By taking these precautions, you can safely and effectively wet sand with a random orbital sander, knowing that you’re safeguarded against any potential accidents or electrical hazards.

Precaution 3: Don’t Expose the Sander to Water

Wet Sanding with a Random Orbital Sander If you plan on wet sanding with a random orbital sander, it’s important to follow some tips and precautions to avoid damaging your tool. One important rule is to never expose the sander to water. Water is the enemy of most tools, and this applies especially to electrical ones.

Exposure to water can cause shorts, rusting, or electrocution. So, it’s crucial to keep your sander away from wet surfaces, and make sure not to use it in damp locations unless you have a waterproof model. Additionally, you should always wear protective gear when wet sanding, such as gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent inhalation of dust or water particles.

Before using your sander, make sure to inspect it for any damage or signs of wear and replace any worn-out parts. With these precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of wet sanding with your random orbital sander without damaging it or putting yourself at risk.


In conclusion, attempting to wet sand with a random orbital sander is like trying to teach a cat to ice skate – possible, but highly unlikely to achieve the desired results. The design and function of a random orbital sander are simply not suitable for wet sanding, which requires more control, precision, and a completely different set of tools. So, while you can try to take your sander out for a spin on wet surfaces, it’s better to stick to its intended purpose and leave the wet sanding to the experts.


What is wet sanding?
Wet sanding involves using water or some kind of lubricant to aid in smoothing out surfaces while sanding.

Can you wet sand with a random orbital sander?
Yes, you can wet sand with a random orbital sander, but make sure to use waterproof sandpaper and avoid getting water into the sander’s motor.

What is the advantage of wet sanding?
Wet sanding helps to achieve a smoother finish, reduces the risk of getting scratches, and prolongs the life of the sandpaper.

What types of projects are ideal for wet sanding?
Wet sanding works well for automotive painting, woodworking, and metalworking projects.

What type of sandpaper should be used for wet sanding?
Waterproof sandpaper with a grit between 800 and 2000 is ideal for wet sanding.

Can wet sanding be done by hand or only with a power tool?
While a power tool like a random orbital sander can speed up the process, wet sanding can also be done by hand using sandpaper and water.

How do you wet sand safely?
Make sure to wear protective gear such as gloves and eye protection and avoid exposing the sander’s motor to water. Also, ensure the area is well ventilated to avoid inhaling dust particles.

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