Ultimate Semi Truck Cabin Cleaning Handbook: 12 Essential Steps

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Updated on:

July 17, 2023

Complete Cleaning Manual for Semi Truck Cabins: A Step-by-Step Approach

Professional truckers spend hours on the road, and you may live out of your cabin for days. This area becomes your work and living space.  With the grime of the roads and the job dirt that makes its way into the cabin, keeping your truck clean can definitely be a challenge. We want to help with ideas and steps on how to clean semi truck interior areas and surfaces. We have a few tips, when combined with the right cleaning agents and a little effort will keep your truck clean and ready to go.

Key Takeaways:

  • Remove trash, vacuum, and clean seats for a pristine interior.
  • Promptly address stains and clean high-touch areas regularly.
  • Don't overlook the ceiling and storage compartments; consider using steam cleaner for deep disinfection and stain removal in inaccessible areas.

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Table of Contents (Show)

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12 steps to clean semitruck cabin

FAQ about truck cleaning

truck interior cabin

Steps of Cleaning a Semi Truck Interior

1. Trash Removal: The First Step to a Pristine Semi Truck Interior

Getting the trash and other debris out is the first step in your interior cleaning. It makes sense and is preventative. The crumbs, dirt and loose particles from a trash bag will fall onto the yet to be cleaned surfaces and the floor of your truck. If they fall, you will be ready to vacuum or clean them up in subsequent cleaning steps. Remove all loose debris from your semi, such as food wrappers, water bottles, receipts and yesterday’s newspaper. Get behind and under the truck seats.

2. Interior Vacuuming: Maximizing Cleaning Efforts for a Spotless Semi Truck

Despite a vacuum being able to suck up dirt and other particles, it can also kick up dust as you clean. You can maximize your cleaning efforts whereby any dust that gets kicked up and settles on the mats, dashboard or other truck surfaces will later be cleaned up.

semi truck seats extraction for stains removal
Semi truck seats extraction for stains removal

3. Seat Cleaning Techniques: Preserving the Comfort and Cleanliness of Your Semi Truck

If you have cloth seats in your truck, you can use an extractor. This interior fabric and upholstery cleaning system will thoroughly clean the seats in your semi using shampoo and extraction technology. You can use your own or have it professionally done two to four times per year to keep your truck clean and healthy.

If you do not want to use an extractor, we have another option for your truck seats. Our
Fortador OXI Dry Foam Shampoo produces dry foam that penetrates deep into the pile of the upholstery. The foam dries quickly and all you have to do is quickly vacuum it out. It also provides protection as each fiber is coated to prevent future stains and dirt from penetrating the truck seats. Keep your truck looking its best!

If you choose to purchase a steamer for your fleet, the Fortador PRO Max  car vacuum steam cleaner includes an extractor.

Learn more about microfiber towels you will need to detail your car

4. Sleeper Area Cleaning: Creating a Comfortable and Clean Space in Your Semi Truck

Remove the bedding and vacuum the sleeper area in your truck. Wipe down any hard surfaces with a cleaner. You spend a good amount of time in your semi so why not make it the best.

stains remoal from seats

5. Stain Identification and Removal: Keeping Your Semi Truck Interior Spotless

One of the best tips we can offer is to remove stains in your vehicle as quickly as possible. If you notice a stain, use a cleaning agent that is targeted and designed to get the stain out. If you clean your semi truck on a regular basis, you will easily be able to search for and identify problem areas. Addressing them early can save you money in the long run.


6. Dashboard Cleaning: Restoring Shine and Removing Grime from Your Semi Truck

Dashboards get dirty from dust., smoke and grime. Use a gentle cleaner for your dashboard. You can clean your semi with a soft cloth using a commercial cleaner or soap and water. After the area is clean, you can apply our Leather and Vinyl trim protectant. This product cleans, restores and protects. It is great for the dash on your truck because it contains a UV protectant which helps to reduce fading and cracking. This is high on our list of tips.
Be careful not to choose one of the glossy polishes on the market to avoid glare.

7. Ceiling Cleaning: Eliminating Dust and Contaminants from Your Semi Truck

On our list of tips is the often forgotten ceiling. You may not always look up, but this large surface of a semi collects dust, road dirt and other contaminants as your truck rolls down the road. You can clean this hard surface with a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth. Turn the cloth frequently to effectively remove the dirt.

8. Storage Compartment Cleaning: Maintaining Clean and Functional Truck Interior

Many truck drivers have multiple storage areas in their truck interior. These obviously add convenience and functionality, but they can harbor dirt and bacteria.  Two to four times a year, empty the semi truck compartments of plastic bags and other loose items. Vacuum the area out and get in the corners. Wipe these truck surfaces down with a cleaning agent. Lightly spraying into the cavity will not hurt anything, and will allow cleaning agents to penetrate the corners and edges.

Fortador’s Leather and Vinyl Trip Protectant can be used for your truck. This part of your interior can get forgotten if you do not keep on it. It is also the opportunity to re-organize this part of your truck.

9. Steering Wheel and Gear Shifter Cleaning: Removing Grime and Maintaining Hygiene

This is a high-touch area of your truck. Many truck driving professionals will bring a bag of food in the interior on a regular basis. You have to keep things moving. Eating, pumping gas and checking tires are just a few activities that cause these parts of your truck to build up with grime and soil.
Use a cleaning agent that does not leave a slippery film on these semi truck parts.

shampooing truck floor matts

10. Floor Mat Cleaning: Enhancing Safety and Cleanliness of Your Semi Truck Interior

Your shoes will naturally bring dirt into your semi floor as you work on jobs.  Safe driving conditions can be improved if you keep clean driver mats. Remove the truck mats and prepare to clean. A powerful water source along with a brush can be very effective on these truck accessories. Using a steamer can save you time in cleaning semi truck mats. You could use a degreaser cleaner to keep your floor’s interior clean and slip-free.

11. Air Filter Replacement: Ensuring Clean and Healthy Air in Your Semi Truck

Modern semi trucks have a cabin air filtration system. Unless the filters are changed on a regular basis, you could be breathing musty, dirty and low-quality air. Replace every filter in accordance with the owner’s manual. Record the date when they were replaced as part of your semi truck interior cleaning program.

Discover guide for air filter cabin

If you have smoke smell inside truck cabin check this guide using ozone machine for killing all bacterias and odors from driving truck will help you keep truck cabin fresh

12. Door Panel Cleaning: Restoring Cleanliness and Removing Scuff Marks from Your Semi Truck Interior

As a driver, your shoes will mark up your truck’s interior. Most scuff marks on the passenger and driver sides can be easily removed with one of the commercial cleaners available. This may take a little more aggressive rubbing to get this part of your truck interior clean, but you can do it. A steamer is also very effective in cleaning this high contact part of your semi truck interior

Glass Cleaning: Achieving Crystal Clear Visibility for Your Semi Truck

The glass in your semi is your truck’s gateway to the road. Fortador has an ammonia-free glass cleaner that will remove the dirty film and keep your truck glass sparkling and safe. Driving your semi truck into the sunset without a window wash can be dangerous. Use your soft cloth of choice to wipe it clean and keep this key part of your semi performing. If you use a semi truck detail service, they will likely use a steamer to get this space dirt free.

Some people offer tips and use newspaper to clean glass. This method can be too abrasive for tinted truck windows. Using this material may remove the tint from this part of your semi truck. We do not recommend it.

Check this guide for car windows cleaning
steamer for truck cleaning

The Benefits of Steam Cleaning for Semi Truck Cabins

You may realize the importance of regular cab cleanings. Removing the trash and surface cleaning can be a routine for many truckers. What many truck drivers may not realize is that a cab steam cleaning job two to four times per year can provide many benefits towards a clean and healthy interior.

Steam will penetrate the areas that are hard to get to. Stains between the seats and around the drivers space are easily removed. Dust and dirt can accumulate in your air vents. Steam can be used to clean the vents so your cabin has cleaner and fresher air. Steam will penetrate the pores of leather and vinyl surfaces so they take on a new shine in your truck cabin.

Steam disinfects as it covers and evenly spreads through the interior of your truck. The sleeper, under the seats, the steering wheel, dashboard, between the seats and floor mats are just a few areas that bacteria and other harmful elements can build up in a semi truck. The high-temperature steam will kill and eliminate these potentially harmful elements while bringing that fresh smell back to your semi.

You will not be disappointed when you incorporate a professional steam cleaning service or choosing to do it on your own as part of a regularly scheduled cleaning program. Fortador has options for complete cab cleaning services or steam cleaner purchase, depending on your needs and fleet size. Give us a call today.

A Few Commonly Asked Truck Cleaning Questions

Q. How much does it cost to detail the inside of a semi truck?
A. It typically ranges between $175 and $350. Most detailers will use a commercial steamer on your truck for the cleanest interior possible. Hiring a professional detailer for an interior cleaning two to four times per year makes sense and can be worth the money. It goes a long way to keep your truck in prime condition.

Q. How do I clean the plastic floor of my truck?
A. The first step is to vacuum the floor. Take a cloth dipped in water and wipe down the entire semi truck floor. Allow the area to dry. Use a product that is recommended for the interior cleaning of floors. Some of the products you could choose for your semi include a floor stripper. You can choose a cleaning agent depending on the severity of the dirt and stains on your truck floor. Apply the product to the manufacturer’s instructions, and your plastic truck floor will regain its look.

If you got mold inside your truck cabin, discover full guide for mold removal

Q. What is the best way to clean the glass in a truck?
A. Clean the glass with an ammonia-free glass cleaner. Although ammonia can evaporate quicker, ammonia- free glass cleaners can offer a streak free cleaning for your truck glass. Using a paper towel or a micro fiber cloth will help eliminate streaks. Smoke film and other dirt is easily removed. If you choose to have the interior of your semi detailed, the detailer may use a steamer, and you appreciate the difference.
As trucks travel down the road, the interior takes wear and tear just like the exterior does. Cleaning and maintaining the interior of your semi is key. With a little consistent effort, you will be able to appreciate the cleanliness of the interior of your truck. Depending on how many miles you put on your truck per year, having the interior of your truck professionally detailed two to four times per year will provide great driving conditions for you.

About the Authors

Sergey "Serg" Paskevich
Panama-based detailing pro, proud owner of Car Care Performance Detailing studio in Panama-City. Specializing in Paint Correction, Ceramic Coating, and comprehensive Car Detailing services
Ugur Sezmis
Renowned in the world of Professional Detailing, Fahrzeugaufbereitung is not only a master in restoring automotive brilliance but also a distinguished Rupes Trainer based in Germany. With a commitment to perfection, he enhances car aesthetics while sharing his expertise through top-notch training.

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