When you spend most of your waking and sleeping hours inside your cab, it soon starts to show the wear: dust, grit, stains from drinks, foods, mud, oil – you name it.
Putting a foul cab and sleeper in tip-top shape can be overwhelming, so the best strategy for having a clean cab is preventive medicine.
“Clean it once a week,” says detailer Kevin Thomas of Thomas Industries in Greensboro, N.C. “Most people go one to two months, and then it snowballs. Then they give up on trying to keep it presentable.”
Jeff Byler of Jeff’s Large Truck Detailing in Reading, Pa., recommends thoroughly vacuuming carpeted interiors monthly “to keep dirt from grinding into the carpets.” Keeping dirt out of the cab will also minimize dirt being tracked into the sleeper.
But you can’t live in a truck without an occasional spill or tracked-in stain. Keep a dye-free white towel or paper towels handy at all times, along with water, to pick up liquid spills before they get a chance to set. Don Aslett, author of Stainbuster’s Bible, recommends carrying a stain removal kit: a dull scraper, clean white cloths, a spray bottle full of water, a professional spotting brush (available in a cleaning supply store) and a nylon scrub pad for hard surfaces.
“Use cold water on a rag, not hot, because hot will set the stain, just like waiting will,” Thomas says. Byler says any commercial spray cleaner and a clean rag work well for some rug spots.
Thomas agrees that any household cleaner could work, “But some may need to be watered down. Cleaner can concentrate and pull dyes out of fabric. First, spray it in an area that isn’t very visible to make sure it won’t change the color.” Thomas recommends the cleaners from Bridgeport Chemicals, which sells carpet cleaners and washers for use in retail stores.
Fred Lapp, an owner-operator leased to Landstar Inway, carries water as well as a liquid soap such as Lever 2000 or Ivory. He applies them to stains with an electric toothbrush.
Aslett notes that mud and children’s modeling clay are exceptions to the general rule of tackling stains immediately; they should be allowed to dry first. When you do work on a dried upholstery or carpet stain, don’t scrub, or you may spread the spot. Never use hot water or apply any other form of heat, like an iron. Naphtha or lighter fluid can be used to remove shoe polish or asphalt paving tar.
To remove chewing gum put an ice cube inside a plastic bag so the gum won’t absorb any water, then rest it against the gum. After the gum hardens, gently pry it off with a dull knife. Any remains can then be coaxed off with a light vegetable oil.
A quicker alternative for getting gum out of carpet is to simply snip it out with scissors, though you have to judge how much it will affect the carpet’s appearance.
Dry ice, available at ice cream equipment dealers and even some supermarkets, is an effective way to freeze any semi-solid stain such as gum, tar and candle wax and make the material brittle enough to be flaked off. Use a dull butter knife to scrape off the particles and vacuum up the remaining pieces. You can also buy a special aerosol chewing-gum remover at cleaning supply houses.
BASIC STAIN REMOVAL