No matter how neat and tidy a driver keeps their truck, a good spring cleaning is still a good idea. Not only will a full-fledged clean-up wipe away the last remnants of winter, but a refreshed cab and sleeper just feels better, more professional, more energizing. And a messy cab may lead to a roadside inspection.
A few hours on a nice day should do it, using just a few tools:
- Shop vacuum with brush and crevice attachments
- Vinyl or leather cleaner and conditioner
- Lint-free rags
- Soft bristle toothbrush
Be brutal and start getting rid of the stuff that just takes up space. Empty every shelf and storage spot and then go through all of the items and papers. Decide what can be thrown away, what to leave at home and what to keep on the truck. That makes it easier to organize and therefore fine everything that is necessary for driving OTR.
Let in the fresh air
Keep doors open throughout the cleaning process. Take the mattress out of the sleeper, stripped of linens, and vacuum both sides, then leave it outside in the fresh air while the rest of the cleaning takes place. Getting rid of dust and embedded dirt lets the driver breathe easier.
Get rid of winter residue
Twigs and leaves, bits of paper, mud and dirt all get dragged into the cab during winter, and can settle unseen into little crack and crevices. Grab a good shop vacuum and go over every inch of the cab. Take out the floor mats, give them a good shake outside and then use the vacuum on them. Get the floor underneath the mats, and the seats. Use the crevice attachment to get into tight areas around seats and the brush attachment to clean door panels and the dashboard. Pay attention to the air vents too – if they too dirty that can affect air flow. Spray a bit of water on areas with caked-on dirt and use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub away the gunk. Treat carpet stains with an appropriate stain remover.
Wipe it down
Before using a cleaner check that it is safe for the surface being cleaned. Spray cleaner on a rag (not directly on the surface you are cleaning) then starting from the top and moving down, clean the dashboard, steering wheel, the seats, the doors, the console and the trim. Applying the appropriate conditioners will keep leather seats supple, restore plastic and vinyl, and counteract the damage done by exposure to the sun.
Get glass sparkling
Use glass cleaner or vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and wipe down windshields and windows using a clean rag or newspaper. Be aware of ingredients when cleaning tinted windows — ammonia can cause peeling and discoloration.
Yes, this takes time, but driving and sleeping in an uncluttered, spotless truck is good for the truck and good for the driver. Happy cleaning!