Secrets of Cleaning Truck Trailers in Your Fleet from a Veteran Truck Washer
Cleaning the trailers towed by big trucks is not easy, those big forty-foot to fifty-three foot boxes are quite intimidating up close when you are holding nothing more than a brush and pressure washer gun, looking at a soap bucket. The hardest thing to do is to clean the back doors of trailers because they get really greasy from all the debris and stuff the truck has driven through. When they run through bad weather areas, they get even dirtier. Pay special attention to rear doors on trailers. Sometimes you'll have to brush them twice. You may even have to do them three times until you get them right. Use a harsh soap or degreaser and watch for left over dirt around the tubular bars that act as the door locks and sealing mechanism. Now on the top of the sides of the trailer you'll have lots of soot if you have a tractor that's been leaking or maybe has a small oil leak or an exhaust problem. This leaves this big exhaust stain down the side of the trailer from the exhaust stack on the tractor. This is a problem because it is hard to clean and you need to clean it. So sometimes you will have to stand on top of the tractor and brush downward. This is done because you cannot get enough leverage from the ground. You may need to pour cleaner directly on your brush or you may need to put cleaner directly on the sides of the trailer. You may need to do both. Make sure the brush is really wet and then set the nozzle on the spray bottle for a steady stream. Spray with the wind and shoot the spray up to the top of the trailer and kind of saturate it a little bit. Then brush it. Now it should be able to come clean. Make sure you rinse really well; otherwise you'll have soap streaks running down the sides. These will be black soap streaks because they will have some of the exhaust mixed in with the soap.
Some of the tractors have ThermoKing units on the front. These are the refrigeration units that keep the trailers cool inside. They always leak oil, so you have to make sure you get all of the oil off. Another thing you will find on tractors and an area you want to stay away from because it is greasy is where the tractor hooks onto the trailer. The front of the trailer at the very bottom will have a whole bunch of grease sitting there. It is not necessary for you to take that off. That grease is there from the tractor where it hooks on and it is there to make sure that there is no metal fatigue and failure due to high friction. You will have some excess grease that will be on and around that area and you may want to clean it. But you did not want to clean the area from three inches to the bottom of the trailer in the front. Just clean down to the three-inch level because that grease is there for a reason. Cleaning it off is not going to really help anything. It is just going to be back again the next time the trailer is hooked to another tractor. If you clean all the grease off then it may have to be re-greased.
Cleaning Box Trailers Interiors
When cleaning the inside of a trailer, they call it a 'washout', you will get about ten to fifteen dollars. That is the going rate for blasting the inside of the forty or fifty foot trailers. You will notice on the forty-foot trailers that there are these deep groves, which allow water from melting ice and things like that to run to the front or the rear of the trailer and drain, keeping it away from the load. On a washout job you want to blast all these grooves, clean out all the debris that is inside of them. You will find chips of wood, slivers that are resting within these grooves. They need to be taken out. You may have to pick them out with your fingers, use an air blower or take one of the sticks that are from pieces of pallets and poke out the other sticks from those groves. You will find all kinds of stuff in those grooves. You will find plaster, popcorn, those little Styrofoam things, plastic wrap, pieces of fiber board because some of the pallets these days are made out of that fiber board stuff. That is real tough to work with, getting those little chip pieces out. You will find sawdust, you will find chicken blood, pieces of vegetables and all kinds of other stuff.
You may use one of those broken pieces of pallet wood to poke out the holes in the very front of the trailer in both corners. They are drainage holes so if the truck is resting downward on an angle you are going to have to spray from the back of the trailer down to the front of the trailer. Sometimes you can use the tongue crank and crank up the front of the trailer so the water will run out the back. You are going to get a big pool of water in the trailer if you work back to front especially if the drain holes get clogged. When you are inside spraying towards the front of the trailer you have to make sure that those holes are clean, because when spraying the last three feet you are going to want to blast toward the back open end not forward against the wall.
Otherwise you are going to get yourself all wet. Spray at an angle. If you are trying to spray straight down as soon as the water hits the grooves it is going to come straight back at you. By law, when truckers go to pick up produce or any food product they are suppose to have their trailers steamed out because of the health and cleanliness statutes. You do not want any dirt or debris from whatever you were hauling before on whatever you are hauling now. Truckers from the East Coast might bring chickens to the West Coast. There is chicken blood all within those grooves and it needs to be hot water steam cleaned when you clean them out because they will probably take produce back to the East Coast. The trucks are going both ways. They may be driving strawberries back east, then bringing chicken to the West Coast and then take celery back again or avocados or other produce. It is very important to clean these trailers out very well. Usually the drivers have petty cash on them. If you write them a receipt, they will pay you cash for the job. If you are at a truck stop or near a truck stop you can make a whole lot of money by blasting the inside of these trailers.
You can work at night and you can work all night and you can probably do hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these trailers at the truck stops. Or near a truck stop or where truckers pull off the road to rest. Grocery companies and wholesale produce companies may also pay you to wash out their fleets on a daily or every other day basis. This is to prevent the spread of bacteria and disease, especially important due to the recent advances of bird flu virus and other small breakouts.
If you have need for further information, you may wish to contact the training department of the Truck Wash Guy Company; http://www.Truckwashguy.com
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs
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