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Guide: Cleaning Your HGV

5 December 2022

A tidy cab equals a tidy mind. However, when you’re out on the road a lot, regularly making long journeys, experiencing unfavourable weather conditions and sometimes difficult road conditions, it’s not always easy to keep on top of cleaning your HGV. Since your vehicle is exposed to more dirt than regular cars, lorry cleaning is vital to prevent the risk of contaminating the goods being transported, protecting the environment, and spotting any maintenance needs before they become costly issues.

In this article, we’ll go through the steps you can take to keep your HGV squeaky clean and ready to hit the road.

The Importance of HGV Cleaning

A clean lorry is a sign of a professional driver who takes care of their equipment. But more importantly, keeping commercial vehicles safe to drive and roadworthy is a duty put in place by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Within this, it’s outlined that HGVs should be cleaned regularly on top, inside and underneath. This makes it easier for drivers to identify faults at scheduled safety inspections and during daily walkaround checks (outlined in HGV drivers’ responsibilities).

Driver Safety When Cleaning HGVs

Detergents and other HGV cleaning products can be dangerous if the correct protective clothing and accessories are not worn. Your employer has a duty to provide appropriate PPE, but here are some ideas on how to get hold of what you need if buying for yourself.

When cleaning an HGV, make sure to wear the following so that you’re protected from potential detergent and water splashes:

  • Waterproof boots– retailers like Arco are a great place to start if you’re looking for waterproof boots.
  • Waterproof clothing– you can purchase waterproof clothing from many different retailers, for example Amazon and Screwfix.
  • Eye and head protection– your fleet manager should provide this for you as standard.
  • Hand protection– again, retailers like Amazon and Screwfix have a wide range of safety gloves.

Step by Step Guide: Cleaning the Exterior of Your HGV

Step one

Wash and rinse

 The first thing you need to do when you come to clean the exterior of your lorry is to give it a quick rinse down with water. Make sure to pay close attention to the tyre dressing since these areas can attract a much more significant amount of dirt than other parts of the vehicle. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to clean the hard-to-reach areas of your vehicle. An extendable cleaning brush is invaluable here as it’ll help prevent scratches. As well as this, they have been designed in a way to help you clean hard-to-reach areas that you simply wouldn’t be able to access with a regular brush. And it’s important such areas are cleaned thoroughly, to avoid the risk of rust forming and dirt or mud collecting. Therefore, an extendable cleaning brush is an extremely useful cleaning tool if you want to keep your lorry looking presentable whilst on the road.

Step two

Apply a detergent

Next, use a detergent to deep clean and get rid of any dirt, road grime, oil, grease, and dust off the exterior of your vehicle. But make sure to dilute the detergent as per the instructions provided, as using too much will make the detergent more difficult to rinse off, whereas using too little will not lift the dirt from the vehicle effectively.

Once you’ve left the detergent to sit on the surface of the vehicle (30 to 45 seconds will suffice), rinse it off with a low-pressure water hose.

Top tip – apply the detergent/soap starting from the bottom and working your way to the top to prevent streaking.

Step three

Let it dry

The final step to cleaning the exterior of your lorry is to leave it to dry. Some HGV drivers allow their vehicle to air-dry. However, we recommend using a good quality water blade squeegee for an impressive finish. Like a windscreen wiper but for the bodywork of a vehicle, a water blade squeegee gets rid of water in singular strokes without damaging or scraping the paintwork of your vehicle.

Step by Step Guide: Cleaning the Interior of Your HGV

Cleaning the inside of your lorry can be a little fiddlier than cleaning the outside. However, with the right tools and a of couple pointers to keep in mind, keeping the interior of your cab clean will soon become second nature.

Step one

Wipe down panels and windows

If you plan to clean the exterior of your vehicle before you clean the interior, keep in mind that there may still be water in the crevices in the door and the inner panels. So, before you start cleaning the inside of your cab, make sure these areas are moisture-free. And if they’re not, a microfibre towel is the best type of cloth for the job.

Once you’ve wiped away water in any of the crevices, you can start to wipe down the windows of your vehicle. Since you’ll be doing a lot of long journeys in a confined space, the section of your windows that falls on the inside of your HGV can attract all sorts of dirt, germs, and perspiration. In this case, you can use a suede microfibre towel to clean them thoroughly. Suede is a great choice of material, as it doesn’t leave streaks or marks behind once the area has dried.

Step two


You’ll know how easy it is for dirt to build up over time, especially inside a lorry that’s being used so regularly. Think food crumbs, wrappers, tissues and more. Fortunately, it’s easy to stay on top of this by making sure you’re always picking rubbish up and hoovering on a regular basis. Decluttering your work surroundings means you can focus better on the job at hand.

Step three

Vacuum clean

Next, take off any of the removable pieces of your cab’s interior, for example the floor mats, and give them a good hoover (make sure to do this outside the lorry). Then, move on to the main body of the interior. We advise starting with the headrest and passenger seats and then working your way down. This way, you can ensure that you won’t miss any crumbs. Remember to pay close attention here because dirt has a habit of finding its way into nooks and crannies.

There are a number of HGV driver essentials that make all the difference when on the road. But in this instance, keeping a hand-held hoover inside your cab is incredibly useful, so that you can easily clean up after yourself whilst on a job.

Top tip – use seat covers and keep a pack of bin liners in your cab to make tidying up at the end of a long journey as simple and stress-free as possible.

By using our step-by-step lorry cleaning guide, for both the interior and exterior of your vehicle, you can always ensure it’s restored to its former glory. Plus, in doing so, you may even save money as you’ll avoid having to pay for a professional clean. With the simple tips and tricks as well as the right HGV cleaning products, cleaning your HGV doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.

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