How To Select the Right Industrial Vacuum

industrial vacuum

How To Select the Right Industrial Vacuum

Vacuum cleaners for industrial use are powerful, durable, heavy-duty machines that are built to handle even the toughest cleaning and maintenance jobs.  From lifting and cleaning up light to heavy loads, wet or dry materials,  solid particles, or spilled liquid, there’s an industrial vacuum for every job.  The question is, which vacuum do I need?  We’ve compiled the information needed to help you choose the right industrial vacuum cleaner for your needs. Start with the questions below then visit our full Industrial Vacuum Buying Guide here.

What Will the Industrial Vacuum Be Used For?

A vacuum’s performance and customer satisfaction are best when it’s matched with the specific application. There’s a lot of detail in every application, the better you can answer the following questions, the easier it will be to make a decision and maximize the performance of the vacuum. Knowing your environment can also help you decide which vacuum cleaner is right for you. What kind of air supply do you have? What kind of particles do you have? How flammable are they? This information will not only help you make smarter cleaning decisions, but you’ll also avoid major work injuries.

One of the biggest factors in determining which industrial vacuum is right is the material you will be collecting.  We’ve outlined several options below:

  • Scrap metal
  • Metal chips
  • Coolant
  • Floodwater
  • Dust
  • Debris
  • Paint powder
  • Flour and spices
  • Food particles
  • Sawdust

What Filtrations Systems Do You Need?

Filters are one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to industrial vacuums. These are part of the filtration system that begins when your vacuum captures smaller particles and moves them through the airstream. To clean the facility of contaminants, it may be necessary to use a standard HEPA or ULPA filter, depending on your environment.

HEPA Filters

OSHA defines a HEPA filter as one that removes particles that are at least 0.3 micrometers in diameter at a 99.97% efficiency. This is smaller than a coffee grind, a grain of cayenne pepper, and even a dot, which is about 615 micrometers. Airborne particles, like dust mites and other microscopic particles, can cause health problems if they aren’t captured by HEPA filters. If a facility is to be properly cleaned, strict guidelines must be adhered to – that is when a HEPA filter vacuum is the best option.

Check out our HEPA Filter Buying Guide.

How Much Power Does Your Industrial Vacuum Need?

Many people assume the vacuum’s power can be determined by only looking at the motor’s horsepower when looking for a high-performance, heavy-duty industrial vacuum cleaner.  You shouldn’t just limit the power of an industrial vacuum to suction. There are several other factors that determine how well a vacuum lifts:

  • To begin with, if your application requires picking up dry materials, the vacuum’s airflow is by far the most important factor to consider.

There is a force that pulls and collects particles inside the vacuum, measured by cubic feet per minute (CFM). A higher CFM of airflow, for example, means you can pick up more fine powders like flour or dust.

  • The static lift of the vacuum is more important than the CFM rating because it’s directly related to the power of the airflow.

High lift vacuums, for example, are made for lifting liquids or heavy metals. It’s the static lift that allows industrial vacuum cleaners to lift liquids of low density like water, so when suctioning these substances, the higher the lift, the lower the CFM.

Next Steps:

Check out our full industrial vacuum buying guide to find your perfect vacuum.

Check out our Industrial HEPA Vacuum Buying Guide.

What are Industrial Backpack Vacuums Used For?

back pack vacuums

What are Industrial Backpack Vacuums Used For? 

There are times when you need a vacuum to clean in tight spaces, or in places where a traditional industrial vacuum cannot perform. With backpack vacuums, you get the power of upright vacuums in a compact, portable form. The versatility of backpack vacuum cleaners makes them ideal for cleaning cluttered areas, stairs, aisles, seats, shelving, and other places where upright or canister vacuum cleaners are impractical.

Backpack vacuums have a variety of commercial and industrial cleaning applications and can be used for everything from hard-to-reach areas to large-scale applications that require added mobility. Below are some common backpack vacuum uses.


Backpack vacuums are an excellent choice for picking up food, soil, and candy wrappers in theaters. The vacuums can make quick work of cleaning floors and aisles between and under seats.


Airplane cabins are high-traffic areas. Soil, crumbs, and small pieces of trash make backpack vacuums an excellent choice for use in airplanes. The user can easily access aisles and maneuver around and under seats.


Stairways pose a challenge to clean. With a backpack vacuum’s increased mobility, the user can focus on cleaning the surface without having to move a machine from stair to stair.


The mobility of a backpack vacuum also lends itself to cleaning hallways as the user can move quickly down the area without having a vacuum in tow.


Cleaning shelving with a backpack vacuum can save time. With its increased flexibility the backpack vacuum can easily reach shelving as it is not situated on the ground. With the proper wand extensions and accessories, the user can elevate with the backpack vacuum to access hard-to-reach storage shelving.


These vacuums make quick work of cleaning around and under students’ desks and tables.

Buses and Railcars:

Backpack vacuums give the user the freedom of movement needed to easily clean aisles and around and under seats.

Houses of Worship:

Easily negotiate pews without having to drag a cumbersome canister vacuum behind.


Lightweight, portability makes it easy to clean around office furniture where many regular vacuums require careful maneuvering. Backpack vacuums can reach areas not accessible to regular vacuums including inside office furniture and shelving.

Ceiling Fans and Vents:

Backpack vacuums can reach some of the highest points in a room. Regular vacuums cannot reach high areas where dirty ceiling fans or vent grates exist without additional assistance. Backpack vacuums can reach these areas with greater ease

Next Steps:

See our full line of industrial backpack vacuums

Industrial Drain Unblocker Uses & Applications

Tools for Unblocking Commercial Drains

One of the most common causes of clogged floor drains is mop water, which contains a substantial amount of contaminants. With weekly and even daily mopping of floors in some warehouses and storage facilities, sludge and solids can accumulate over time and eventually cause a drain clog. Manufacturing floors can also see a large build-up of discarded scraps and packaging material, much of which will eventually find its way down the floor drains. Consistent, periodic maintenance is recommended to keep drains in their optimal operating condition.

Clothes Washing Operations

Livery cleaning services, dry cleaners, and coin-operated laundries produce an extremely high volume of liquids that contain soaps, chemicals, hair, and other random solids, all of which place high demands on a drainage system. The cost of a blockage, both in terms of financial costs and customer service, can be enormous. So proper preventative maintenance of these drainage systems is critical.

Health Clubs and Recreational Facilities

Health and fitness clubs, campgrounds, and day-use recreation areas require properly functioning sink and floor drains for dependable operation of showers, bathrooms, locker rooms, and outdoor faucets. The combination of dirt, hair, sand, food, mop water, and soap creates ideal conditions for a drain clog. Also, consider urinals and toilets to back up and introduce human waste and unsanitary bacteria into the floor drain.


Hospitals and many healthcare facilities require the professional use of a cable auger to ensure proper drain cleaning. Sterile conditions in hospitals are critical to the success of patient treatment and recovery. For this reason, drain cleaning is important in any hospital maintenance plan. Regular monitoring and remediation of drain problems is a necessity to head off any blockage problems. Drain cleaning ensures that stagnant water, a breeding ground for germs and water contamination, is minimized.

Drain cleaning will eliminate flushed materials, tree roots, and deposit buildup from the drainage system. These blockages often lead to slow-draining drains and may ultimately result in flooding. Both can be remediated through drain cleaning, which restores the flow of water.

Commercial Kitchens

Commercial kitchens face unique challenges in drain cleaning. In addition to common blockages like dirt, tree roots, etc., these kitchens also have fat, oil, and grease drainage, compounding problem build-ups. Staff in commercial kitchens needs to pay attention to their drainage systems’ functioning. In fact, it is not uncommon for commercial kitchens to perform prophylactic drain cleaning to prevent clogs before they happen.

Kitchen floor drains get dirty over time when dust, food, fat, oil, grease, and debris enter the drains along with dirty water. Also, sinks often overflow, resulting in more contaminants being forced down floor drains. This environment causes bacteria growth and corrosion, emphasizing the need for routine drain cleaning.


Hotels’ drain systems experience a high volume of activity, which increases the likelihood that blockage issues will arise. Repeated maximization of drain capacity puts a strain on the system, increasing the possibility that flooding and/or poor drainage may occur. Therefore, the hotel staff must have a preemptive drain cleaning program.

Drain cleaning must be done often before flooding occurs and damages carpets, floors, and ceilings. Another area of concern for many hotels is the basement. Here, there are usually many storage areas, water heaters, laundry services, and central air conditioners. Drain cleaning can prevent the buildup of large quantities of lint and bacteria that crystallize in the long drainpipe located in the basement.


Schools also face unique challenges in maintaining optimum drainage capacity. Frequent bathroom visits by students and cafeterias’ drainage needs demand a well-operating drainage system, ensured by frequent drain cleaning. Student toilets often overflow due to overstuffing, flushing of foreign objects, and running water. Quick drain cleaning fixes like plunging are not a long-term solution. The use of chemical drain cleaning is also not practical for an environment used mostly by children.

Goodway’s Custom Designed Commercial Drain Unblockers

Goodway has the drain cleaners and accessories to help with your commercial and industrial maintenance, whether a power Jetter drain cleaner or a cable drain cleaner. A Goodway drain cleaner features heavy-duty construction of heavy gauge steel, stainless steel, and aluminum for reliability and long life. Goodway has a drain cleaner to serve all of your different drain cleaner applications, including our Pulse Jetter Drain Cleaner. We will also help you find the drain cleaner that best serves your needs.

Next steps:

See our full line of industrial drain cleaners

Learn how to pick the best drain cleaning for you


Breaking Down Types of Chemical Drain Cleaners

drain cleaners

Identifying different types of chemical drain cleaners


Acid drain cleaners typically contain sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. The chemical reaction between the acid and the blockage materials, along with the heat released by the reaction (‘heat of solution’), serves to break down the blockage. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended when handling acid drain cleaners. This includes wearing goggles or a face shield and rubber gloves.

Acid drain cleaners are poured into the drain and allowed to sit for several minutes while working. Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions on the label and any enclosed literature—store unused chemicals in a container with a child-proof closure. Keep chemicals away from children and other unauthorized users.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe disposal. If acid drain cleaner is accidentally spilled on a person or it gets into the mouth or eyes, follow these first aid instructions:

Skin – Wash immediately with copious amounts of water

Eyes – Flush immediately with water for 15 minutes. Remove contact lenses after 5 minutes if applicable

If Swallowed – Drink water and do not induce vomiting

Call a doctor or poison control center.


Caustic drain cleaners typically contain caustic soda, sodium hydroxide, lye, and other such compounds. Caustic drain cleaners work similarly to acid drain cleaners in that they cause a reaction. With caustic drain cleaners, hydroxide ions cause the reaction in which alkaline chemicals convert grease into a water-soluble soap-like substance.

Caustic drain cleaners are available in both liquid and powder forms. Liquid forms are usually made of dissolved sodium hydroxide, which makes them heavier than water—this aids in getting the cleaner to the clog. Powdered cleaners usually contain sodium hydroxide and aluminum particles which release small quantities of hydrogen gas. Caustic drain cleaners need to be located close to the blockage and be chemically reactive, with the material forming the clog to perform well.

Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions on the label and any enclosed literature—store unused chemicals in a container with a child-proof closure. Keep chemicals away from children and other unauthorized users.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe disposal. If caustic drain cleaner is accidentally spilled on a person or it gets into the mouth or eyes, follow these first aid instructions:

Skin – Wash immediately with copious amounts of water.

Eyes – Flush immediately with water for 15 minutes. Remove contact lenses after 5 minutes if applicable

If swallowed – drink water and do not induce vomiting

Call a doctor or poison control center

Oxidizing Drain Cleaners

Oxidizing agents include peroxides, hypochlorites, chlorates, and perchlorates, and when they react with the blockage material, they acquire electrons from the organic compounds that make up the clog. This reaction can be quite vigorous and may release heat and gases.

Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions on the label and any enclosed literature—store unused chemicals in a container with a child-proof closure. Keep chemicals away from children and other unauthorized users.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe disposal. If caustic drain cleaner is accidentally spilled on a person or it gets into the mouth or eyes, follow these first aid instructions:

Skin – Wash immediately with copious amounts of water.

Eyes – Flush immediately with water for 15 minutes. Remove contact lenses after 5 minutes if applicable.

If Swallowed – Drink water and do not induce vomiting

Call a doctor or poison control center.


Enzymatic drain cleaners metabolize materials in the blockage using biological and enzymatic chemical reactions. They are formulated using bacterial cultures and enzyme preparations. They are generally slower than acid, caustic, and oxidizing cleaners, and they only work on organic materials. They do not produce thermal effects to the degree that the other chemical drain cleaners do.

Most manufacturers warn of harm from skin or eye contact and swallowing, even though enzymatic drain cleaners are non-corrosive. All manufacturer’s warnings and instructions must be closely followed.

Mechanical Drain Cleaners

In commercial and institutional facilities, drain systems are larger and more complex than in homes, and mechanical drain cleaners are widely used. It is often necessary to reach a clog that is quite a distance from the cleaning access point. Also, commercial drain cleaning applications frequently involve larger diameter piping which requires more aggressive cleaning methods. Also, many of the obstructions found in commercial drain systems are not organic in nature, so they do not lend themselves to chemical cleaning.

Hand Operated Drain Augers

Hand-operated drain augers are useful for clearing clogs in drains of sinks, showers, and toilets. They have limited reach, however, and are limited in power to the strength of the user. Augers are useful for retrieving blockages that cannot be broken up or dissolved, such as fabric. They use a spring-like cable with various cleaning heads mounted on the end.

Motor-Driven Drain Augers

Motor-driven drain augers come in various sizes and types, ranging from those driven with a handheld electric drill to fully automated dolly-mounted units. With some motor-driven drain augers, the cable is fed manually, and the motor provides the cable rotation. These units can deliver a large amount of torque and remove stubborn clogs – even tree roots. Other motor-driven drain augers have a mechanism that feeds the cable into the drain and provides cable rotation. These are the types of machines used by professional plumbers and drain cleaning contractors. They require significant training and can be dangerous in the hands of a novice.

Pulse Jetter Drain Cleaner

Pulse jetters are an outgrowth of the pressure washer industry. Early pulse jetters were composed of a standard pressure washer of about 1000 PSI fitted with a drain cleaning hose and nozzle. Today’s pulse jetters are specifically made to clean drains. Their pumps are equipped with a special valve that allows the operator to disable one pump cylinder, thereby creating pressure pulses that effectively break up blockages and assist in maneuvering the nozzle through traps and tees. Special nozzles are available for going around corners, piercing blockages, and propelling the nozzle down the pipe using water pressure.

Pulse jetters are very useful for preventive drain maintenance programs where regular, scheduled drain cleaning is performed to keep drainage systems operating efficiently without the risks and dangers of chemical drain cleaners.

Next Steps:

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Are Chemical Cleaners Bad for Commercial Drains?

Do Liquid Drain Cleaner Damage Commercial Drains?

A clogged drain is a major headache, not to mention unhygienic. Maintaining clear drains, waste lines, and product conveyance lines are challenging for maintenance personnel. Among these are sink, shower, tub, toilet, floor drains, main waste lines, and sewer lines. These tasks can be accomplished by maintenance professionals using various drain cleaners. They are force cups, plungers, dual-action force pumps, closet augers, drain augers, kinetic water rams, power jetters, and electromechanical cable drain cleaners.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners use extremely corrosive chemicals to clean drains. These chemicals “eat” through materials such as hair, soap, grease, etc. These drain cleaners can be harmful and require careful handling and storage. Some ingredients commonly found in these drain cleaners include sulfuric acid and lye. The chemical reaction caused by these chemical drain cleaners dissolves the materials that clog pipes and hinder proper drainage. These chemicals can be dangerous as they are generally skin irritants and can cause severe burns or blindness. The toxic vapors from some chemical drain cleaners can also be harmful.

Chemical drain cleaners, when used regularly, can corrode or damage the plumbing connected to the drains. Additionally, chemical drain cleaners in high enough concentrations can harm the microbial bacteria necessary to maintain septic systems.

Further, chemical drain cleaners can be harmful to the environment as these toxic chemicals are flushed through the drainage system and eventually into the ground or healthy water.

Chemical Precautions

If used without caution, a chemical drain cleaner can be hazardous to the operator. Handling a chemical drain cleaner with safety in mind will guarantee you can complete your task without getting hurt.

When using the drain cleaner, make sure you never come in physical contact with the chemicals. It is highly suggested that the user wear a pair of rubber gloves and protective goggles if any chemicals splash out of the drain. After the operation, be sure to avoid the drain area as chemicals are likely to bubble up, releasing harmful fumes and liquids.

It would be best to never use a chemical drain cleaner on the garbage disposal. The chemicals can linger in the garbage disposal after the work is done on the drain. If someone decided to turn on the disposal, chemicals could slash and cause bodily harm.

While operating with chemical drain cleaners, be sure to avoid using a plunger. Plungers have the potential to pull up the used chemicals, which could spill on the operator. This applies both during and after using a chemical drain cleaner.

It is essential not to mix different types of drain cleaners. Mixing chemicals can be a dangerous concoction, especially if mixing an alkali cleaner and an acid cleaner. The mixture has the potential to be explosive.

Do not use chemical drain cleaner on a completely clogged drain. The chemicals will remain on top of the clog and further increase the difficulty of removing the clog.

Next Steps:

See our full line of industrial drain cleaners.

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